The Urban Farmer: 17 Things You Need (or Don’t Need) When You Start Farming (FSFS52)

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Today we will be looking at 17 different things that you think you might need or might need when you start your business.

Even though we will be looking at each of the items on this list through the lens of someone in their first 6 months of farming, this information extends to established business owners.

Maybe you have been in business for a while and you are thinking about redesigning your website. Should you? And does that matter? Our analysis and methodology for breaking down each of these items can be applied to many aspects of business at any time, regardless of how old the business.

There are a lot of distractions that come into play when you are running a small business, hopefully this episode will help you focus on the distractions that matter, and forget the ones that don’t.

17 Things That You Might, or Might Not, Need When You Start Farming

  1. A Farm Name – YES

    1. Yes.
    2. But don’t kill yourself figuring it out.
    3. Don’t let it halt forward progress.
    4. You have a lot more important things to focus on.
    5. You need one when you start to make sales.
    6. Make sure people understand the name and it’s relatable and easy to read.
      1. You aren’t naming a band.
      2. Don’t make it confusing.
      3. Can you and customers easily say and write the name without messing it up.
      4. You will write this a lot and have it on signage.  Think about that.
  2. A Slogan or Mantra, Subtext – YES

    1. Don’t let it halt forward progress.
    2. Helps you convey why your farm is unique and what you do.
    3. Make it easily digestable.
      1. You will write this a lot and have it on signage.  Think about that.
      2. Use words people understand.
    4. Keep it short.
  3. A Unique Story – YES
    1. You will get better at telling your story over time.
    2. Your story will evolve over time.
    3. Your story will help set you apart from your competition.
    4. You need to know what your story is because people will ask.
      1. Here is what I do and why, framed around your unique difference.
    5. Keep it short and simple.
    6. Put yourself in your customer’s position.
  4. A Webpage – YES
    1. Keep it simple and basic if you are pressed for time.
    2. Make a simple landing page.
      1. is very easy to use so is Square Space.
    3. Make sure you list.
      1. Farm Name
      2. Where you are located.
      3. What you do in brief.
      4. Biography
      5. Your picture
      6. Contact information, contact form.
      7. Email capture
    4. Pay for hosting, don’t use a free site.
      1. Blue Host is a quality, low cost hosting option.  The host that we use for a few sites.
    5. Buy a unique domain.
      1. to purchase domains.  I have used this countless times in the past.
  5. A Blog – NO

    1. No
    2. Do it if you have time and if it comes easy.
      1. is easy.  It’s what I use and the platform that you are reading this on.
    3. If you are doing a CSA, then you will be doing a newsletter and that is like a blog post.
  6. A Social Media Account – MAYBE

    1. This isn’t a priority.
    2. Where are you located and does your customer base interact on social media.
    3. Can you bridge customers over from local friends on other platforms.
    4. Pick one platform and go with that.  Post to it somewhat consistently.
    5. Is there a measurable value?
    6. Realize that you don’t control the platform.
  7. A Logo – NO
    1. You don’t need a logo.  You can look professional without a logo.  A well written/printed farm name is good enough.

      1. Try 99Designs to get a custom professional design cheap.  I have used them manytimes in the past and I have been very satisfied every time.
  8. Logo – Apparel – Shirt, Hat – NO
    1. Nice, but not needed.
    2. If you do it make it look professional.
  9. Vehicle Signage – Magnet, Vinyl, Wrap – NO
    1. What is the benefit?
  10. Business Cards – YES
    1. Cheap and easy way to tell the story.
      1. Try for cheap, yet professional business cards.  This is where I got my business cards.
    2. Make them professional.  Spend the money to get them printed.
  11. Printed Signage for Markets – YES or PROFESSIONAL LOOKING HOMEMADE

    1. You need signage.
    2. Make it look professional.
    3. Product Labels
  12. Product Labels – NO

    1. Where are you selling it?
      1. Farmers market, no.
      2. Third party like a store and it might be needed.
  13. Custom Packaging – NO
    1. Where are you selling it?
      1. Farmers market, no.
      2. Third party like a store and it might be needed.
  14. An Email List – YES
    1. Easy to do.  
      1. Mailchimp is essentially free to setup.  The only email list provider I have ever used and probably ever will use.
    2. One platform that you control.
    3. It is cheap.
    4. Whatever you use – make it look professional.
    5. Our fresh sheet episode: Solving the Sales Problem – Optimizing Your Fresh Sheet to Increase Sales – The Urban Farmer – Week 24
  15. Invoicing Software – YES
    1. But don’t have it be a barrier to entry.
    2. This will save you a lot of time.
  16. The Best Equipment – NO

    1. No
    2. Focus on just getting production going.
    3. Better tools can help, but get by with what you can if you have to.
  17. A Specialty Product – YES
    1. Most people will likely have to specialize in something at some point.
    2. It’s good to be known for something.
    3. It may take time to figure out what you will specialize in.

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