Hippocampus. It's the part of your brain that is associated with space and memory. It's also how I think about business planning. My goal with our annual business plan (we call it Hippo Camp) is to do all the thinking upfront, then rely on that plan to help alleviate decision making fatigue in the heat of the farming season.
The key to this planning process is that absolutely all of our decisions during the season should relate back to our goals, or our "why". As I've met more farmers I realize that we all run our businesses differently because we are farming for a slightly different "why", and it plays out in all of the decisions that we make. I have a badass farmer friend who deeply wants to pass on a mortgage free farm to the next generation. That means that she can confidently put every dollar saved towards her mortgage so that her children will have the opportunity to run a debt-free business. My "why" is the reason I can look at our To-do list and know what I should prioritize this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next month. Even when that list is overwhelming.
Each step of the Hippo Camp process is geared towards reinforcing that "why" by celebrating times that we uphold it, and questioning times that we veer away. It starts out very general, asking us to re-evaluate our goals, and to get a little gushy about how the season felt on more than a financial level. These gushies get molded, refined, and analyzed until they form task lists, SOPs, employee handbooks, and pay rates.
This winter I'm going to take you through our annual Hippo Camp and my thought processes as we complete each step. If you're following along, look for nuggets that you can use in your own life or business. If you'd like to do your own Hippo Camp, take a peek at the resources tab. I'll be uploading our goodies as we get to them.
Taylor Mendell. I grow things for people to eat.