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365 Ways to Lift Production..and by the way your cows look great today!

 Imagine a world with no mozarella for pizza's , or milk powder for babies milk or dairy product for your favourite McDonald's ice cream?

As the global population grows and land becomes more valuable the pressure will be on to produce more but in a sustainable and respectful way.

My company will provide innovative farm educational products to help farmers, and their teams.

The challenge is to produce more without damaging the land , the cows and the people who are entrusted with their care.

"365 ways to Lift Production...and by the way your cows look great today"

will be the first product. It's a series of emails posted daily for a year to the inboxes of those who choose to subscribe to them. The first ten will be included in a pdf document and sold to test the market.

Ask questions

I've done a little research into some of the key trends in the NZ dairy industry. 

The cow population is increasing and herds are getting bigger.( the average is now over 400 cows). Therefore farm systems, communication and working as a team become more important. Also education and development so that key people stay in the industry. The animal health spend on an average farm is only 7% compared with spend on people ( wages ) of 20% and feed 30%.

Therefore there is an opportunity to provide coaching, creative problem solving and education online and face to face.

Mantra

Inventive Farm Education

Launching

Don't Worry Be Crappy

My first version I'll get out to my market is a Pdf with ten tips or ways for dairy farmers to lift production. Here are the first three as examples. 

  1. Play to your strengths. If you like to budget then do more of it. Or if you find brainstorming easy do that. Alone and with your team.
  2. Bring in others who do things differently to you. Don't worry if it's not a 'feel good' session...it will probably be more productive for all of you!
  3. Re-energise and get off the farm completely for two nights. The cows will be okay,honestly, and your team will rise to the challenge while you're away.

The 24 hour rule

The essentials to get this up and running are:-

a name , a website , potential customers and their email addresses and permission to market to, a way for them to pay eg. Paypal, a blog , simple design, and a way for them to share. Feedblitz, Weebly or Wiz  and Typepad would provide the tools for most of these items.

Weaving a MATT

 Milestones

Today is the 29th May. By June 30th I'll ship a testable version of my Pdf to a small group of dairy farmers I have already been speaking with about my project. The final version will go out by July 31st. A draft of an e-book with 365 tips will be ready by September 30th. I've given a friend a cheque for $500 made out to a political party I don't like (NZ First) with instructions to send it off if I don't give her a draft by 10th October. :-) 

Assumptions

The main assumption categories are the business model, the platform, market, product, partners and employees, and finance.

eg. At $9.95 per unit( the prototype pdf document ) and selling 50 in the first month from 100 blog subscribers we'll break even.

That my customers will see a return on their investing with our product(s).

That it will be easy to transfer my customer database from my current CRM provider to a new one.

Tasks

There will be many more tasks to tackle in the future but right now the focus is to start with the essentials as mentioned above and build on them. It's too overwhelming otherwise.

Tests

Once I'm more familiar with the software and it's capabilities I'm sure I'll be able to measure and test lot's of different things.

Emotional story

I quit my job as a dairy farm veterinarian to join Mary Kay Cosmetics twelve years ago. I had to learn how to use skin care and put on makeup and then to sell these products to other women. I was the top selling NZ consultant in 2008. I also learnt how to promote the direct selling business opportunity and currently have eighteen women in my team.

What makes me different to other vets is that I've gained more of an idea of how people tick as well as having a great farm animal knowledge base. I understand, respect and love dairy farming couples as much as their cows and I'm banking that this will make me loveable!

Planting the seeds

This month I attended the NZ National Fieldays which is the biggest agricultural trade event for the year. From the programme booklet I've collected just over 50 outlets to reach out to. As well as the well known NZX Agri editors and writers there are others that interested me eg. Jaqueline Rowarth Prof of AgriBiz University of Waikato, ifarm.co.nz, Ian Williams from Pioneer, Rural Women NZ, ReGen, Timothy Allan from Locus Research, and Adrian Joe Onfarmsolutions.

Premortem

I came up with twelve things that could go wrong. Getting 'busy' and sidetracked with other projects. Overcommitting with other projects. Not asking the experts for help eg. at feedblitz and typepad. Getting frustrated and giving up. Thinking I'm not getting anywhere and giving up. Getting bogged down with the technology. Trying to do it all by myself instead of with a team. Not finding the right people in time. Perfectionism and trying to get it perfect the first time round. I get scared and undervalue me and the contribution I can make. Feeling overwhelmed with all the new information technology available to farmers now...showcased at the Fieldays.

Things I can do today, tomorrow and next week to prevent this happening

Review my progress weekly ( Sam Bennet's exercise from her new book is a good one) to stay up, inspired and proud of my the little steps achieved.Be comfortable with being a beginner and just take it step by step and ask for help. Use my commonsense to quickly decide on a domain name to start with. Make this project a number one priority by doing it first in the morning when I'm at my best rather than at the end of the day. Sprint to move it forward quickly ( do the occasional all nighters)

Fundraising

Bootstrapping is going to be the most appropriate route for us. We'll create and sell products and reinvest the money back into the business.

Having the right entity structure and best legal help will be important for the business. "James and Wells" who "champion innovation" could be a good IP attorney company to ask for help.Andrew Knowles, one of their team of lawyers lives close by in Tauranga.

I get that I need at least two more people with similar values and mission and complementary ways of doing. I'm a pioneering optimist inventor type person so I'll need help from a researching,constructively critical pessimist who will fill in the detail and ask the tough 'what if' questions. An 'engineer' will be in charge of the budgets, systems and customer service perspective. It's most likely that this person will be a dairy farmer or married to one!! Our merry team of three will create exciting new stuff on time and be able to communicate our WOW with our complementary best ways of communicating. Mine will be walking about speaking and having a model or business prop close by to show. The "pessimist" will have the detail in written format and the "engineer" will use graphs and excel spreadsheets for the numbers. Our time perspectives will be different too. Mine will be in the present and future based. I'll rely on the "pessimist" to come up with information and facts from the past. Our "engineer" will tie the past, present and future together with plans and budgets.

Asking for money

Collectively we'll have a large circle of contacts to ask for warm introductions to potential investors. I think it will be important to turn up with a history of products created,sales already achieved and a growing customer list.

Our WOW

Turning agricultural education on it's head for win win win outcomes for us, farming people and their businesses and animals.

How far I've got

Progress to date..which I'm proud of.

A little prototype of a product ..a pdf document ..to test the market with.

Risking life and limb in cowsheds again doing casual vet technician work..a form of market research I guess. ..especially if I remember to ask questions of the farmers :-)

Attending the NZ Fieldays ..the biggest annual event for anyone interested in animals and the land and innovation.

Domain name creativecowhealth purchased

A start of a blog on typepad..will need help with coding for this. My nephew James loves doing website design so I'll ask and pay him to do it. He'll probably be able to help with tying my blog, website and email marketing ( Feedblitz ) together so they work. Or know of someone who can.

 

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