Unfortunately, being a farmer isn’t always just about farming. There’s suppliers to pay and invoices to generate. In other words, it is a business like any other with its share of paperwork, inventory, labor costs, and taxes. You have to wear two hats to do a good job, but your goal of feeding quality fare to the public shouldn’t be second fiddle. This is where a few tips and tricks come into play.
I had to learn to run a business by the seat of my pants as I went along. You get wise quick the hard way if you make mistakes. Now I feel pretty confident that I can give advice on the subject. First and foremost, assess your skills and hire someone if you feel deprived. But to save money, give it a try using simple and easy-to-follow rules.
- Keep good records. You will always refer to them in the future as a guide to future profit. You will note what works and what doesn’t over time. After a while, keep what you like archived and shred the rest. No need to build up boxes and boxes of paper in your storage shed. Shredders are cheap enough these days and most do the job just fine.
- Keep costs under control or you will see your profits decline. A manual or digital ledger will tell the tale. There are plenty of good software programs like QuickBooks that you can use to create helpful analytical reports.
- Prepare well for your annual trip to the accountant. The more you do and the less he or she does, the greater the savings. It all goes back to point one about records. Your accountant will tell you what to keep.
- Try new things. Most farmers are victims of the past but so much in the industry is changing. Try to keep up, attend seminars, read online, and stay up to date. It is amazing how much research has been done on irrigation, fertilization, crop rotation, and the like.
- Promote your products and stay in touch with the vendors in your community. Learn about public relations, advertising, word of mouth, and more. Competition is always there no matter how small. Don’t let it get ahead of you.
The moral of this story is to run your farm like a business and keep pace with the modern world. Rural or urban, the principles of a company are the same. The more hands on you are as a business person, the better your enterprise will run. Use these tips and watch your farm grow and prosper. You don’t need to go to business school to survive, however. It is a practical job that has been performed for centuries. Only now you have a smart phone and a computer.