Business planning for small producers

Business planning doesn’t have to be an arduous, drawn out task — it can be a simple, straightforward process that has the potential to turn your enterprise into a more profitable success.

A little planning will save you precious time, energy and/or money in getting closer to your goals.
We have all done the 50-page plus business plan, but was it ever used? And did it really help your business grow? One important thing to remember with any type of plan is planning something doesn’t always make it happen. Significant effort is required in the implementation phase and a plan needs to be reviewed to be successful.

Sadly, many businesses who do plan, don’t update their strategy which results in an out-of-date and redundant plan full of irrelevant targets. It’s easy to think that spending time working on your business means less income because you’re not working in your business, when in fact the opposite is true.

Why plan? 
 
As with anything in life, you need to know where you’re going if you want to get there in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of effort.

Unfortunately, it’s almost guaranteed that you will waste precious time and energy and/or money doing things that won’t help you get closer to your goals, if you don’t take the time to plan first.
 
Small farm business planning
You have a plan if you can answer these questions in detail:
  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • How do you get there?


"A little planning will save you precious time, energy and/or money in getting closer to your goals."
What sort of things should a business plan? 
 
The list of factors businesses should plan for is endless, including turnover, gross margin (and the difference), type of client, number of hours a week (service), number of orders, number of referrals from advertising/ marketing, minimum dollar value for each job, amount of revenue per staff member, or percentage of repeat clients. Your plan will only consist of things that you want to aim for.
 
In addition, a plan can include big picture goals. This may include a specified timeline or dollars in the bank before expansion, a takeover or merger and the consideration of the best business model and changes that may be needed to allow for growth.
 
For more information on the why businesses fail or fail to thrive, the importance of values and setting and monitoring goals go to the Small Landholder Information Services ‘Business planning for small producers’ publication.  
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