Develop Your Goals

Photo by Michelle Podolec

Now that you've assessed your resources and expressed your values, you can use these to start getting more specific in brainstorming short-term and long-term goals for the business. Using your values and mission statement as a guide, picture in your mind where you would like to see the business in the next year, 5 years, and 10 years and write these down on the worksheet below. How much revenue will the farm generate? What will you be selling? How profitable will you be?

The best goals are S.M.A.R.T. This acronym tells us that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding and Timed. Try to be as specific as possible in stating what you would like you achieve. Some way to measure progress in attaining the goal should be included. Make sure that your expectations in setting goals are realistic so that the goals can be attained. If goals are attained, then this helps to motivate you to continue and feel rewarded for your hard work. The goals also need to be timed in order develop a deadline for achieving them.
Here is one example of a SMART goal:
By December 1, 2011, I will have planted, harvested, and successfully sold 2 acres of vegetables.

Of course, you could probably list a few hundred goals easily - "by next week I will send in a soil sample for testing", or "by the end of the winter I will have designed an irrigation system". Aim instead for larger-scale goals, like "in 5 years, I will be selling lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, and pork to local customers and generating $75,000 in revenue." This goal can then be broken down into bite-sized chunks of effort and expense that can be accomplished over the next 5 years: installing fence and watering systems, building a customer base, securing a good feed source and butcher. Before you know it, you've achieved that monstrous goal you set out!

Give it a try yourself. Using your values and mission statement as a guide, picture in your mind where you would like to see the business in the long-term and short-term and write down a few ideas in the worksheet below. Consider the labor you have available, and how much of your livelihood you're expecting the farm to support. What net income do you want to make in 5 years? 10 years?

View Worksheet - Identifying & Prioritizing Goals (registered users only).

  1. Have each member of your planning team draft personal goals as well as one or more short-term and long-term goals for each functional management area of your business. It's important to share these with each other and talk through them to make sure that you all have agreement in key areas. Keep in mind that only registered users can view their submissions at a later date.
Identifying Your Goals
Prioritizing Goals

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Continue reading to learn about how to effectively assess your resources.