You are thinking of committing to setting up a farming business.
On your list of things to do,
You’ve got ….
‘Write a business plan.’
But before you jump in with both feet,
Have you asked yourself, “Why?”
It’s worth taking the time to pause…
Writing a business plan takes a lot of time and expertise investment.
Like anything which costs, it’s worth considering BEFORE you begin…
…is this exercise actually going to be worth my time & efforts?
In other words,
Will writing a business plan tangibly pay me back?
In order to answer this question, you’d need to ask…
What do I expect my business plan to do for me?
In other words,
What is a business plan, really?
In this email, I’m going to help you address what you should expect a business plan to do for you…
…And how to write one that will support you getting off the ground with:
- maximum support
- minimum cost
…but be prepared to put in lots of hard work!
A business plan is a form of communication.
A formal and effective way of presenting what you intend to do with a particular business,
Because I said formal, that should not be excused for:
- overly heavy
You want your business plan to help people see and believe in what is (as yet) a concept.
Its got to:
…and much more.
Your business plan has got to sell.
Your sales career begins here.
What is selling?
If you’ve got making money on your mind here,
Then, you missed the point completely.
Selling is an art.
The art of persuasion.
Not cheap mind manipulation,
…but rather skillfully:
- rationalising and,
- establishing a common ground, between parties
…to bring about an agreement, also known as, the sale.
But WHO exactly are you selling to when you write your business plan?
Ask yourself rather,
Who are you NOT selling to with your business plan?
Your business ought to be known for its excellence by EVERYONE.
- Local government
Support for grooming your successful business often comes from the most unexpected areas at times.
Why limit your efforts?
Consider getting your prime business plans into the hands of all of the above.
Not in a pushy manner.
But selling relative and relevant value to each group of potential stakeholders.
KYS = Know your stakeholder.
Find out what they actually do and what will help them do more.
If you are a poultry farmer –
Don’t think of your feed supplier as a grain processor.
Promoting grain processing doesn’t win them any business.
Think about it.
As their customer, are you buying grain?
Or, are you buying
…bags of maximum broiler meat profits?
I know which I’d prefer.
Want to get the most advantageous suppliers to work with you?
Tell them how you intend their product to help you smash your production goals.
Also, suggest ways in which you could assist them in getting this message received by many of your peers.
Be forward-thinking and liberal.
Competition is divisive,
Getting the pitch right
Many years ago, they used to say, think benefits, not features.
This still holds true.
People want problems solved.
Solved problems save time, hassle and money.
This puts money back in your pocket.
People don’t look to accumulate expenses, but to get paid for their efforts.
Your business should help people get paid for their efforts.
Even B2C (business to consumer) works on this model.
If your chicken meat is poor value, consumers spend more money, time and hassle finding better deals.
You alone benefit.
If it’s good value, however, you are paying them off for their investment in you.
Business plans ought to be specific about numbers.
And the numbers should stack up.
In other words,
Readers should be able to follow one data-set or metric to another in a logical process.
No misleading, or misinformation.
Sensible trains of thought going from one stepping stone to another.
Skipping over integral detail breeds mistrust and is counterproductive.
You’ll leave readers thinking,
“…I wonder why he left THAT out?”
Every strategy needs it. You need votes.
You don’t need to.
Simply share the value you have and pour all of YOU into those early exchanges, with a view to start as you mean to go on.
As you scale, simply strip away administration (with systems) and add more personal interaction.
The more ‘YOU’ in the mix, the more people will connect and be all the more willing to add their weight to your cause.
Very valuable for any scale of business.
Just think about your favourite blog,
Consider the numbers of comments it attracts.
But then again, also consider the genuine efforts of outreach performed by the author.
Be illustration rich
Illustration is the language of business analysis and reporting.
It’s all about interpretation.
Making business make sense.
Data drives decision making, investment and strategic direction.
But unless it makes sense to your audience,
It has all been a wasted exercise.
Selling a business case, or proposal is all about building a bigger picture from blocks.
Each block adding to the integrity and magnitude of the resulting presentation.
The more points of understanding that get through the gate…
…the more support you rally.
Don’t forget to announce a launch date (…with plenty notice)
Planning your business is one thing,
But assisting your potential supporters to plan their provision of help is another.
They need time to set aside any meaningful amount of resource to offer you.
Give them something to aim for, clearly stating when each stage will occur.
This leads your audience to anticipate what you might need from them…
And at what time.
The bottom line…
So, there you have it,
Your business plan is multi-stakeholder investment pitch.
It’s your way of increasing your stock value prior to launch.
Getting commercial and consumer votes in advance of trading.
Such an advantage will lead to a much more prosperous start and sustainable run.
Now over to you…
Are you currently writing a business plan for your farming business?
Have you written business plans before?
What’s your experience?
Either way, I’d be interested to hear from you.
(I read every comment.)