Get your enterprise off to the right start. Participants define goals, explore and evaluate opportunities and resources, and become familiar with state and federal agriculture programs. Offered online and in person. Co-sponsored by the Women's Agricultural Network.
Module I: Mission Statement and Goal Setting
This introductory session will begin by allowing you to explore your values, needs, and preferences and how these all relate to your business plan. You will examine how your business decisions affect your family and those individuals within your circle. Determining current levels of satisfaction and hopes for the future for yourself and those around you is a critical piece to the successful planning of any business. Once you have established a set of values, you will work on developing a "mission statement" or "goal"; a statement that captures the essence of what you really want to have when you are finished. This mission statement plays a critical role by focusing you on the most important aspects of your business and honoring these as you make business decisions.
Module II: Decision Making
Our days our full of small decisions and choices that we must make, and while choosing badly may result in a little discomfort, these usually don't affect the "big picture." However, we do face major decisions — complicated and consequential choices that result in long-term impact, significant level of risk, increased level of stress and the need for some careful research and exploration. In this session, you will learn a system that will help you arrive at the best possible choice for the situation you are confronted with. You will learn how to use your mission or goal statement in the decision making process, and how this process will allow you to make important decisions with confidence and with significantly less conflict and stress.
Module III: Resource Evaluation
Resources are the building blocks of profitable small businesses. Successful small business owners tend to be excellent resource managers, knowing how to combine different products, ensure a higher quality product, add value, and/or change direction quickly. As a small business owner you are endowed with flexibility large businesses don't have — the essence of resource management is learning how to use this flexibility to your best advantage. In this session, the task will be to define what resources are, identify what resources you have, examine their availability, and then, with the help from others, identify some potential combinations of businesses that would best use the resources you have available.
Module IV: Financials
This session is a very basic introduction to financial management. You will begin to learn the language and concepts with the understanding that more learning will be necessary in order to become completely competent in financial management. Some time will also be spent discussing borrowing money and credit in general.
Module V: Marketing
Using your preferred enterprise idea, you will explore the market for this product/service. Who will buy? How to sell to these buyers? How much are they likely to purchase? How much are they willing to pay? Who is the competition? In addition, you will complete a product/service definition as well as explore market research techniques and develop a personal market research plan.
Module VI: Next Steps
During this last session, you will reflect on what you have accomplished and come up with a plan for future action that will move you toward meeting your personal goals. You will develop a timeline — what you would like to get done, how you would like to do it, and when. You will also learn more about all the various agencies and programs in place to support agriculture.
Growing Places is designed for individuals who are considering starting an agriculture or natural resource based business, but who aren't sure where to start. It is designed to help:
- develop a comprehensive goal statement, to support and streamline the business planning process;
- explore and evaluate opportunities and resources;
- become familiar with state and federal agriculture programs.
Growing Places is organized into six modules, each addressing a different aspect of business development. Each module includes a presentation, hands-on exercises and virtual “farm visits” that bring practical perspectives on each topic. For online classes, the online discussion board provides a platform for peer discussion and connection that make for a rich learning environment.
The course is open to anyone with access to an Internet connection. The format allows participants to work through each week’s content when it fits their schedule. Each week, we will offer a short (30- to 45-minute) live session using the Zoom webinar platform. These sessions are not required, but they are recorded so that participants who are unable to make the live session can view the recording at their convenience.