How are you making out during this traditionally bustling season for farm and food companies? Add up all the added business adaptions stemming from the COVID-19 influences and this is a crazy, busy time.
Likely, you have your head down focused on doing what you do, producing products and marketing those products, and your business is on a journey to exciting new opportunities. You’ve probably had to make adjustments on the fly and that’s just reality sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up because it seems like you haven’t fully planned things out.
As noted below, one of the key advantages of being small is being nimble and adjusting quickly. The key is to track results from changes and consider, then implement further enhancements.
Most health experts suggest there will be a second wave of the COVID-19 virus, and potentially another lockdown. Whatever level and outcomes this next wave results in, the market place has changed forever. We may be in for another significant and regulated lockdown, but at the very least the market place will be different than pre-COVID. Either way our collective learning to date, and until the fall, will pay dividends in how effectively your business offering, product or marketing ‘Fits’ to the new market place.
For now, as the saying goes, you have to make hay while the sun shines. While you persevere and produce with your product output, track and then consider how what you’re doing can affect your business in the short and long term.
Although your days are long, and filled with necessary actions, create a simple and as-easy-as-you-need method to track business performances and changes. What you track and learn now will be applicable to how your business fairs through the next wave. And that’s going to come sooner than we think.
Take time, no matter how hectic things are, to look at your key performance indicators (KPIs). They may be different than before this pandemic began.
- Are you selling more of something specific? Figure out why it’s happening and focus on those.
- Are you selling less of a traditionally popular item? Note the reasons you think those sales have diminished. Reduce efforts on that.
- Are you selling more direct to consumer or to wholesale outlets? What channels do you currently market through? Track them.
- Look for operations and cost efficiencies so you can squeeze more out of delivery.
- Are certain ingredients (inputs) currently hard to find? During another lockdown, if the supply chain is affected, what does that mean to your production? You may need to alter recipes or processing times, or even create something new. Perhaps you’ve found a new niche.
Identify your top 2 or 3 high producing categories (KPIs), and that can be the indicators of how your business is performing.
Even as wild as things seem, learn how you can be most efficient while you maintain or improve the quality of your products. Observe what’s happening with your sales, marketing, and operations. When you’re tracking, record where you need to look at improvements. When you’re in planning mode again, you’ll have real data ready to use.
Carve out the time, a half hour or hour per week and discuss with your team what’s going well and not so well. Even if it’s obvious, make note of it. Drill down to the why and figure out what adjustments you can further make now, and in the next few months.
If you wait to track later, a month or two months from now, it will be a much more difficult process. Instill tracking and analysing into your daily or weekly practices and you’ll be better prepared for the next wave, and future adjustments.
This is time for all hands on deck, to produce, and to deliver, but you also have to manage and review and plan. As you are selling, tracking results can set you up for future success.
Our team at Farm Food Drink Inc. is highly immersed in the BC food sector. If you want an unbiased professional perspective on your business, contact us to start a conversation.