It’s usually this time of year that I wake up in a panic and think…
- “It’s almost the end of the year, where in the world did the time go?”
- “What did I actually get done this year?”
- “How am I going to get through the winter?”
- “What projects were left unfinished?”
After I let myself freak out for a few mins, I remember that I’m armed with a plan and strategy for 2019.
Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about building a marketing strategy that will consistently bring in new customers.
I also have planned vacations scheduled throughout the year so I will have a chance to re-boot. Dually important to get those mental breaks in that we all need.
But it wasn’t always like this…
Honestly, it’s only been a couple years since I realized that successful, profitable, sustainable farms don’t happen by accident.
A successful farmer (that’s you) is very intentional about:
- What they’re going to grow and raise
- What they’re going to sell
- How, when, where and to whom they’ll sell
- How much projected income they will bring in
- What their expenses are
- Making sure farming is personally fulfilling
Yes, being fulfilled by your life on the farm plays a big part in your success.
A successful, profitable farm leaves nothing to chance.
Successful farmers plan and plan, but throughout the planning, they also understand there will be uncertainty.
Having the framework and plan in place allows you to deal with uncertainty at any given moment.
Essentially, you’ve planned for the challenges and understand that being flexible is necessary.
Perhaps nature throws a curveball in the form of a random freeze, a sick or dying animal, and even the potential of a feed source drying up.
An employee gets hurt, quits or you need to replace an expensive piece of equipment with zero financial budget — you know what I mean. You get the point.
Recently, I started sitting down at the end of the year to evaluate my successes and failures. I plan out the upcoming 12 months with a calendar, pen, pencil and flip month-by-month what I want to do and where I want to go.
I have a clear action plan sitting right in front of me. This eliminates the feeling of overwhelm, exhaustion and running around in circles.
I ask myself a series of questions that you can download here.
This business marketing plan will mean there’s no more flying by the seat of your pants.
You’ll be able to forecast peaks and valleys and where you need to spend your time. Decision making becomes a breeze, too.
I hope you’ll take some time to go through this exercise!
I explain everything in the video below and you can get the worksheet to follow along here.
7 Steps That Will Help You Make More Money in 2019
Step 1: Dream Big!
Most people don’t let themselves dream big enough. I’m guilty as well.
Imagine what the perfect farm looks like to YOU. Failing is not an option. What do success and profitable look like to you? Write down what you see and most importantly how you feel.
This is a super important first step — don’t skip it!!
Step 2: Schedule Your Non-Negotiables
This is a huge one. Implementing vacations and time off was a major obstacle for me. And I know a lot of you suffer from the same thing.
- “I don’t have time to take off.”
- “Who else will run the farm while I’m gone?”
- “I’ve been working 7-days a week for 15 years.”
I can hear the resistance now… but hold your horses there Betty.
This was hard for me too, but hear me out. If you schedule time off and mini breaks, you’ll be more likely to take them seriously.
Yes, you have to plan for this and make it a non-negotiable, but when you get a little downtime, you’ll find yourself energized and not so burnt out. I now schedule our vacation dates as far out as possible.
Start small too. I’m not saying plan a 7-day vacation during your busy season. I’m saying, plan to take off every Sunday and commit to it.
Make it a non-negotiable.
Step 3: Project Your Yearly Revenue
Write down how much money (gross sales) you want to bring in next year. You don’t have to be exact, but I’ll bet you have a general idea of where you want sales to be.
Then hang or post your income goal where you can see it daily. You can even download apps where you can track your daily income to meet projected goals.
Set it. Look at it. Meet it. It works, trust me.
Step 4: Project Your Monthly Revenue
Now that you have a good idea as to what your yearly revenue will be, now it’s time to break it down into monthly goals.
This step has 2 parts:
Part 1 — List all the ways you generate revenue in your business then put your revenue projections (from step 3) next to each one.
Do they add up? If not, what do you need to do to reach that number?
- Increase your prices?
- Cut your costs?
Now most farmers I know are pretty good at cutting expenses and making do with what they have.
But what if you raised your prices by 50%? Would customers freak out and never come back?
I know it’s a scary thing to do and I’ve done it several times over the last 10 years, but if you have a solid, trustworthy relationship with your customers, they won’t mind paying your high prices.
Want to learn how I’m able to raise my prices with zero pushback from ideal customers? Click here to get my FREE course on How to Price Your Products for Profit.
Part 2 — Write it down to make it real.
Look at each month and list out each product you’ll be offering and when it falls throughout the year.
Say you sell raw milk year round — put it on the calendar.
Say you make your own soap and you plan to sell it from May to Sept. at the farmers market — put it on the calendar.
Add your seasonal events and holiday commitments as well. Plan ahead if you know how much time it will take to plan and prep.
Now, stand back and look at what you have scheduled for the year and how you plan to meet your financial projections.
Does it excite you? Does it make you eager to start 2019? I hope so!! It does for me.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Priorities
What worked and what did not?
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Take a look at this current year and evaluate where you made the most money and where you didn’t.
Analyze (with actual numbers) where you flourished where you came up short.
Don’t guess. A lot of times we assume or think we made a decent amount of money at the farmers market, but in reality, you made more money in your farm store.
Once you have this concrete information, give your “money-maker” top priority. Which means dedicate most of your time in this one area.
For example, if your farm store made more money than the farmers market, allow yourself to spend more time talking to customers at your farm store building relationships then time at the farmers market.
Do more of what IS working and less of what is NOT.
Step 6: Grow Your Email List
How many people did you add to your customer base (email list) over the last year?
Don’t have an email list? Don’t know what an email list is? Don’t know where to start or why you need one?
Read this >>> 6 Ways an Email List Makes Your Farm Profitable
Do this FREE course >>> How to Get More Customers with Email Marketing
For example, ”In January, we had 100 customers on our email list and by December we now have 130 customers.”
Keep a record of this number. Open a Google Sheet and write it down.
I won’t get into analyzing the numbers now, but what’s most important is that you’re keeping track and measuring customer growth.
P.S. If you don’t have an email marketing system like MailChimp, now’s the time to get started! With one simple email, you can sell out of your products weekly. It has happened to several farmers that have already taken the course.
Step 7: Personal Fulfillment
If you don’t take care of your own needs and desires first, you’ll burn yourself out. You have to love farming or get personal satisfaction from doing this work or you won’t last.
Running a business, especially a farm is an emotional roller coaster. When my father had to close our family farm as a kid, I promised myself I would never have a farm again.
But it’s in my blood and I couldn’t resist the urge to buy my own land and to do things differently. Check yourself to see if you’re personally fulfilled from this work. If you want to be successful, you have to enjoy what you do.
Download this plan for a list of questions you can ask yourself.
Now my farming friends, THAT is how you make more money in 2019 with a marketing plan.
Now, it’s your turn. In the comments, tell me which of the 7 steps you plan to take action on first!
Click here to watch the training video too!