When starting out with your farm you are faced with 4 distinct areas demanding attention.
1. Operational development.
Building the systems that you raise your product with. Portable shelters, Brooders, feeders, transport systems, seedling starters, soil prep, etc.. This will subsequently include the actual product be it animals or plants.
2. Infrastructure development.
The permanent or semi-permanent components of the farm necessary for operations to commence and sustain. Water systems, barns, roads, sales buildings, processing capabilities, freezers, fences, greenhouses. Appropriate levels of equipment. One of the hardest areas to accurently predict costs and subject to frequent budget overruns.
3. Market development.
The only one that actually makes your business money. The initial work is developing your USP (unique selling point), getting pricing set correctly and getting your brand/product in front as many people as possible. It is common for this area to be under served as focus settles on #1 & #2.
4. Administrative development.
The command and control system of your business. How the “guts” of the business function, accounting systems, HR management (even if its only you and a spouse), financial metrics, planning and tracking performance, growth planning, regulatory compliance. This area will be a work in progress as you figure out what works for your system.
These are daunting tasks compounded by the fact all four require volumes of time and attention. Organize your todo list and employ the tactic of “Prioritize & Execute” to balance what you focus on. Operational and infrastructure are weather dependent so maximize good conditions for them. Marketing & Admin can be done at night or during inclement weather. Applying a flexible stance to your tactics will maximize the return on time in each area. Employ the mantra, “Darkness is for digital.”
The difference between an established business and the start up is the former has the ball rolling on all these fronts. The new guy/gal has the task of starting all four simultaneously and the tendency to under prioritize marketing. Remember, you can have the best system with the finest product with fantastic control metrics but without marketing your dead in the water.
For the start up farmer there is no “off time” or focus elsewhere. For success you have to run twice as hard as the established guys. GET AFTER IT! ~