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"I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Articles/Press Releases

If You Want Your Business to Improve,
Improve the Way You Do Business

By Jane Eckert

The truth is, there isn’t much more I can do to help you improve your fall season -- the planning time is over, and I wish you the very best. But I do want to suggest that you take a few minutes right now to improve your business in the future.

Here’s the best marketing tip that I can give you this fall: right now, commit yourself to attend a winter farm conference either at your state, regional or national level. You might even want to branch out and attend a state tourism conference or a local business workshop on planning, finance, marketing or whatever you want to know about. The point is, if you want your business to improve, you have to improve the way you do business.

The Reasons to attend:

  1. Recharge your batteries. It is easy to become complacent and staid in your offerings. The winter meetings are always abuzz with energy – wouldn’t it be nice to take some of that energy home with you? Business is changing and you have to be willing to change as well. Reading about what others are doing in a magazine is fine, but wouldn’t you like to actually exchange ideas with some of the innovators in farm marketing?
  2. Attend the sessions. Plan to learn something new or perhaps learn about something old, done in a new way. Most of our farm meetings now have a marketing session(s) or even tracks led by your peers or specialists. Would you like to learn more about interviewing or hiring techniques, how to set up a perfect display, how to price an admission to your play area, or how to set up a website? Hearing and seeing what others are doing will give you specific take home ideas that you can then work on during the rest of the winter.
  3. Informal Networking with others. The excitement of the conference is the time between sessions when you can talk through what you just learned with others in your state and region. These informal conversations help you to mold those conference ideas to the specifics of your own farm, so use every waking moment. Don’t just go to the sessions, attend the networking hours, and introduce yourself to folks in the lobby.
    There is never a more open time to hear what others found successful, and where they hit a klunker. Find the people that are willing to share with you, and stay in touch throughout the year. You’ll build an informal network of friends that can be an invaluable source of information throughout the year.
  4. Look for new vendors and new products. Don’t just walk by the trade show booths… engage in conversations. Even if you might be pleased with you current jam and jelly supplier you might just learn something from their competitor. And, who knows, you might even find you like the taste of one or two of their products better than the ones you are purchasing. It’s always worthwhile to stand in these booths to hear the reactions from other farmers and to see what’s selling.

The direct farm marketing industry is changing, and changing quickly. If you miss more than one year of attending a winter meeting you are going to be behind. You truly can’t afford to miss this opportunity to grow your business.

If you are not sure what conference to attend, I have to admit that I’m quite partial to the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing conference, www.nafdma.com. But I have also spoken at a large number of state and regional meetings the past couple of years, and I’ve seen the quality of program content improve each year.

Look at the meeting calendar in this magazine and watch for those winter meeting mailings that will soon be coming to your doorstep. As more of us support these groups, we not only learn more ourselves, we encourage and help stimulate the growth of the direct farm marketing industry.

Hope to see you this winter!

Jane Eckert is the founder of Eckert AgriMarketing (www.eckertagrimarketing.com), a full-service marketing and public relations firm that helps farmers to sell directly to consumers, diversify operations and become tourist destinations. She is also CEO of www.RuralBounty.com, a search directory for agritourism farms and ranches in North America. Jane can be reached at 314-862-6288 or you may email her directly.