Module 14 Farm Economy and Marketing
Module 14 Learning Outcomes
- Understanding that this is the most critical element for overall success
- Understanding of the time necessary to create and monitor financial plans
- Considerations for setting up a business
- Considerations for Marketing and Operations
- Completed logos and branding material
- Completed Whole Farm Master Planning sheet, integrating all other enterprises and cash flows to monitor monthly
Making it all work
Creating your Holistic Context and your economic planning are perhaps the most important elements of making a farm work efficiently and profitably. Whilst you are reaching the end of the training, this module can be huge in terms of the effort and concentration it requires. Some basic points for reflection;
- A business has to be profitable to be sustainable. If you don’t generate profits, then you won’t be in business long.
- Is your business’s statement of purpose well defined? If you can’t say what it does in two sentences then revisit your Holistic Context.
- Is your revenue model well defined? How do you create revenue, when, and from where?
- Multiple income streams can bring resiliency by diversifying some of the risk. How many incomes streams do you have right now? How many can you imagine down the line?
- Make it easy for customers. How easily can they buy your products or services?
- How do your customers know what you do, and what you believe in?
- Do you need to create contracts, eg, for volunteers, rentals, customers committing to regular products?
- Do your own accounting if you can, if you can manage it (to learn the pattern and structure), but have a professional run your taxes. It can save you money and help protect the business.
- Consult with professionals regarding your company structure from the outset. It can save a lot of time and money long-term.
- Don’t mix up your bank accounts. Keep personal and business strictly seperate.
- Have good insurance in place.
Developing your strategy
Branding and Marketing
Naming your farm and creating a logo
- Your business name should instil some meaning, clearly identifying what you do and embodying some of the core values of the business if possible
- It should sound good when you say it out loud, have a 'ring to it' and make people curious
- It should make you stand out in some way, particularly with the logo
Our logo came about from the Swedish name of the property: 'Asen' which means Ridge in English. The farm is situated in 'Fryksdalen,' the valley (or dale) leading to the lake Fryken. Knowing we would have a largely international following on social media, and participation in our trainings, we wanted to keep the farm name in English. Ridgedale has a 'cute' factor, some hint of nostalgia in our minds. As Permaculture is relatively new in Scandinavia compared to other parts of Europe we decided to include Permaculture in the name. This took much deliberation, as we feel there are negative consequences to associating with Permaculture, and what we are doing feels more aptly described as Regenerative Agriculture. Eventually we felt keeping the name Permaculture gave us the opportunity to challenge the way the word is perceived, and decided to stick with this as long as it serves us. It does serve as a curiosity builder, and Swedish people usually want to hear more about what this actually means, giving us the opportunity to describe and share our approach and practices. The logo depicts all our main enterprises other than the market gardens, and illustrates that we are a farm. As education is a strong part of what we do, we concealed the marking of the 'Keypoint' on the sloping landscape with the X on the letter i, which observant participants catch, and understand the significance of. It further illustrates the 'ridge' and 'dale' landscape we have here. This is the first and only Keyline designed farm in Northern Europe, so we wanted to include this. We chose earthy colours that are easy on the eye and smart in appearance, and have continued this theme into our marketing and promotional materials like you see in the slides below.
example promotional poster & flyer in English / Swedish
- Write a brief document regarding how you are structuring your business legally
- If you foresee any contracts are needed, ie, leasing land or with customers committing to buying products all season, draft and upload these
- Create and upload your farm name and logo. Do you have a catchphrase?
- If you have not started your enterprises yet answer the questions in the documents above and upload them
- Create promotional materials like posters and brochures for your business and share these. What do you produce, what can you succinctly say about your business and approach? How can people reach you and why should they?
- A sheet with any other income streams eg, rentals, education, tours, etc.
- The estimated expenses for start-up and operation of the farm (Expenses).
- The projected income for the farm (Income).
- The projected profitability of the farm (Profitability).
- The anticipated fixed assets (Fixed Assets).
- The potential source of funding (Funding).
- The potential risks to the successful operation of the farm (Risk Management).
- Savory Institute (E-book six - Fundamentals of Holistic Financial Planning) and (E-book seven - Creating Your Holistic Financial Plan) http://bit.ly/2iZ9AFy
- The Lean Farm. Ben Hartman.
- The E myth revisited. Michael Gerber
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen Covey
- Small is Beautiful. E.F. Schumacher.
- Regenerative Enterprise. Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua.
If you reach this point having completed all the actions you should have a clarified and comprehensive whole farm development plan. That is awesome, and incredible achievement and an inspiration to fellow participants. Celebrate that! Obviously the plans are orientation for action on the ground, and things will continuously change. Learning certainly does not stop here! However, if you made it thus far with all relevant Actions completed, you truly deserve the Farm Scale Permaculture Design certificate.