AAAAGES ago, we decided to move to Minnesota and start a farm. I'm not sure what we were thinking. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to move halfway across the country to a bitterly cold region where we hardly knew anyone and try to start a farm. And it didn't seem to matter that we hardly had any money and barely any experience.
Looking back, I can see that we really didn't have anything. Except confidence. And determination.
And we kinda had a plan.
The plan was simple:
Build the business before buying land. This was important because we didn't want to buy land if things weren't going to work out. We don't like debt and that just seemed rash. And we probably couldn't have anyways. Anyways, it seemed like a good idea to get some momentum before putting down serious roots.
Invest in management. Since we weren't going to own land, we couldn't very reasonably invest in infrastructure. Furthermore, as far as we could tell the success of failure of most farms (and businesses) seems to depend primarily on the management. All the shiny tools in the world don't make a business work. The reason more people don't focus on management is because it feels remarkably like discipline and that just isn't fun. The upside is that better management is typically free. Since we didn't have money or land, that seemed like a good place to focus.
Stick with it for five years. This part of the plan was important because everyone seemed to tell us that it takes that long for a business to get going. It seems there is a law that the first two years will take you down into the pit of despair, the third year will be test your mettle and the last two years will be a slow slog up to stability. Apparently some %80 of new businesses never make it through the doll-drums. So we swallowed that pill and set our sights on year five.
So that is what we did. And now the five years are up. Apparently we have momentum now. And our internal systems are pretty decent.
I guess it's time to saddle up for year six and make a new five year plan!