As a holiday gift, we’d like to share our excitement for the new year and some tips for stepping into 2020 on the right foot. When running a farmers market business, it can be hard to find a spare moment, but now is the perfect time to reflect, dream, and strategize for the year ahead. Take advantage of the opportunity for a fresh start – it only comes around every 12 months!
Take a good look at the last year
Before you start your 2020 vision board, set aside time to reflect on the last year. Take stock of your accomplishments and areas where you may have fallen short. Ask yourself tough questions, and most importantly answer with honesty.
One way to quantify successes and failures is by looking closely at your financials for the year. What story do the numbers tell? Is your new flavor of jam a hit at the farmers’ market? Are your market days busy enough to require the additional employee you brought on? Is your CSA program worth continuing? Many of your questions can be answered with a look at your P&L sheet.
Though numbers are important, sometimes they don’t show the whole picture. Weekday markets may not be as lucrative, but they’re a great opportunity to see your farmers’ market friends and build those relationships with local shoppers. On the other hand, special events can be profitable, but are they worth the weeks of hard work it takes to prepare? When identifying what worked and what didn’t, you should also consider what aspects of your business dealings you enjoy.
Lastly, reflect on areas of your business that you may not have hit the mark on this year, but can master next year. Maybe it’s time to try something new, or just try a little harder. Focus on areas where you can implement incremental change. Small shifts can deliver big improvements.
Establish clear goals for the days ahead
Once you have an objective view of the year you just completed, it’s time to look towards the future. Make a list of goals for the next year. Set an intention for what you’d like to accomplish, no aspiration is too ambitious or too trivial.
I like to organize my annual goals in order of complexity. I start with little things I know I can accomplish. One of my simple goals for 2020 is taking the time to give my work truck a deep clean. I can easily accomplish this goal in a single afternoon! Other small goals may be dusting off your farmers market display and washing your table cloths, answering those lingering emails in your inbox, or finally updating the contact information on your website.
Next, I add bigger goals that may take more brain power or dedication. This year I aim to keep better financial records. This goal isn’t hard per se, but it will require ongoing work and establishing better bookkeeping habits. Other mid-sized goals might include revving up your social media presence, launching a monthly e-newsletter, or actively pursuing new wholesale accounts.
I finish my list with the most ambitious goals for the year. These goals require more time, capital, and strategy. Whether you want to hire a new employee, rebrand or invest in new packaging, purchase a large piece of equipment, add another market to your weekly schedule, launch a new product, or (*gasp!*) go on a vacation, you can do it if you set your mind to it and plan ahead!
Plan to succeed
The final step to prepare for the new year is to develop a strategy for accomplishing your goals. For most small businesses, goals are often linked to profits and retained earnings. If this is the case, your strategy may come in the form of a budget, reducing your food costs, or re-bidding services like insurance and utilities. No one plans to fail, they simply fail to plan!
As you develop your strategy for accomplishing your 2020 goals, don’t be shy to ask for help if you need it. There are numerous affordable resources that can assist you in writing a business plan or creating a realistic budget. Check out your local Small Business Development Center, register for an educational conference (like the 2020 InTents: The Farmers Market Conference!), or invest in an online course from an expert. You don’t have to do it alone.
New Year’s Resolutions may be trite, but setting goals for your business isn’t. Don’t let the year end without pausing for a moment to revel in your successes and dream about the future. Now’s your chance to ensure that 2020 is your best year yet!
Listen to Tent Talk for that #2020Vision
Want more tips, tricks, and resolutions for 2020? Listen to this week’s episode of Tent Talk: The Farmers Market Podcast.