Grow a Farm – Expanding your Operation
Congratulations! A mature farm looking to grow it’s enterprises is built on years of hard work. A farm in growth stage is both exciting and precarious. Many times the processes and techniques used when you started must evolve into a streamlined business at this point. Available capital, hard earned after many years should be carefully deployed in a growth stage.
This is why we begin by identifying and understanding what the driver for growth – revenue, footprint, vision. It is distinct from others in that cash flow is stable and basic infrastructure is set. Growing requires focus on efficiency processes, controlled scaling and new enterprise integration. Some old processes are done away with and new systems may be required.
Elements of growth are scaling existing enterprises, finding higher efficiencies in existing processes and developing complementary enterprises. We assist our growth clients through on site visits, one on one training, and if needed, independent specialty advisors.
Building on existing operations we walk our clients through GROW.
Scope – First and foremost you must understand what is the catalyst that is driving the growth. Is it a that you have identified an unmet need in the market? Is it meeting demand? Is it part of your original plan to become a multi-enterprise farm? Can it be integrated within a holistic context to your existing operation? A well thought out assessment will identify objectives and goals that need to be met for a successful growth project, sub-phases, tasks, resources, budget and schedule. Thoroughly defining your growth project scope with benefit you greatly down the road. All of this should be done within a holistic context across the three domains of your regenerative farming operation: People, Farm, Finance.
Scale – The ultimate objective of any business is to grow and scale, however they are two different things. Growing is as you are adding revenue you are adding resources at the same rate.In this case, growth would be adding a new enterprise. Scaling is moving your existing enterprise(s) from effective to efficient, that means you require less resources and ultimately increasing your margin. You must determine which is right for your business based upon where you are at with your current enterprises – growth or scale. Your Growth Project Scope will help you identify which is the right choice for you based on the driver for growth. It may be by scaling your marketing you can achieve your growth goals, but you must be sure you and your business can support the increase in growth or scale. In the era of social-media and technology driven marketing there are many tools that can be taken advantage of today that can improve your reach and engagement with customers to build your brand. You may see many opportunities to grow and/or scale, the key to being successful is understanding your limitations and getting help where you need it.
Control – “What you measure gets managed,” a truism from Peter Drucker that is often used yet overlooked when beginning a growth initiative. One needs to ask exactly how am I going to manage the growth? Can I control the pace? Am I set up to service the increased demand? Am I producing too much/little? Are my enterprises running efficiently enough to keep up? Is capital readily available if needed? For more labor, equipment, or materials? Is my team and management structure set up in a way to handle and adapt to the added stress, as a whole or individually? Am I? What is manageable and what is not? What can I control and what can I not? Is this in my circle of competence? Answer these set of questions and others concerning managing growth will provide a foundation for control and aid you in knowing when and where to press on the gas and when to let off.
Processes – Having a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and keeping up with the regenerative farming industry’s Best Practices is imperative to achieving the greatest efficiency for the operation of each enterprise. By developing a systematic process for each enterprise that is sequenced appropriately and supports the holistic context of your farm begins at the planning phase. We practice this on our own farm, demonstrate what this looks like in our schools and assist our clients through their growth projects to mitigate risks and set them up for success.
Plan. Build. Grow. Our mission is taking pasture based livestock systems to scale supporting realistic incomes. Our goal is to give you the tools, resources and expertise to successfully build your own farm. Together, we build.