By: Amanda Richmond, Farm Business Management Specialist
A business strategy is a critical management tool that will help guide business decisions and measure success. It is a game plan – a concise written strategy of objectives and how to obtain them. Business development plans will outline all areas of the farm business. The business structure, financial management, human resource management, marketing, succession and production plans should all be included in a business plan. A business strategy will answer the questions Where are we? Where do we want to be? and How do we get there?
A good business development practice is to create goal statements. Goal statements provide a clear sense of direction and identify specific results to be achieved. Goals should outline future desired results. Goal statements assist in prioritizing work and outline the necessary resources needed to achieve success.
When developing goal statements a good practice is to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals. SMART goals will give you a clear vision of what the business objectives are and how you plan on achieving these objectives.
Specific goals will clearly state what you want to accomplish, why it’s important and how you intend on accomplishing it. Targets need to be set in order to measure the goal. Ensuring that your goal is measurable will help you recognize that you are moving in the right direction and when you have achieved your goal. Your goals will likely challenge you and pull you out of your comfort zone. With that being said you need to make sure all your goals will be attainable. To ensure your goals are attainable break them down into smaller, manageable action steps. If goals are not relevant to your business objectives the likelihood of attaining them will be small. It’s imperative that a time line be set in order to commit to the goal. A time line helps to motivate you to stay on track.
Communicate goal statements with all involved in the business. It is important that everyone understands the objectives of the business. An implementation plan is needed to put your goals into action. Assign responsibilities and set the deadline. Be aware that things may arise that can alter the time line; remain flexible. Be sure to measure your progress and recognize your achievements. Celebrate achievements no matter how small. This will help to keep up motivation.
Business development is an ongoing practice. The business plan should be reviewed annually to keep it current. Review and update any goal statements that changed over the year. An annual review will help to focus your efforts and renew your commitment to achieving your goals. The business development plan is the first step in creating your business strategy. With business objectives established, you will be able to identify other strategies needed for a successful business.
If you find that throughout the business development process there are areas that you require training or perhaps consulting to achieve some goals; check out the FBDI program for financial support.
For more information stop by or contact your local Regional Office or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.