Farmer Marketing

Simple, inventive ways to increase the value of farm fresh products through direct marketing, internet marketing, and creativity.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Branding Tips for Farmers

As a farmer, you may wonder how to get out of the commodity business and start selling your product directo to consumers. Whether it's through farmers' markets, roadside stands or delivery, the moment you start selling your product you start building a brand, and every small business owner faces many of the same hurdles.  The first and most critical of these hurdles is name recognition.  Any small business owner needs to get their name out to the public and raise awareness of their brand.  As you start to build your small business, keep these small business branding tips in mind.

Tip #1:  Name and Logo

It is important to have a company name that is easy to remember and a company logo that is easily recognized.  Neither of these things is as important as getting your name and logo out there however.  You probably don't have the budget to spend thousands of dollars to have professionals test and select the ideal name and logo for your business, but using a creative agency can be well worth the investment since you'll be using this logo for years.

Tip #2:  Website Publicity

We live in a digital age where potential clients will use the internet to check up on your business and your references.  If your business does not have a professional website, or if it is not up to date, then customers may be driven away.  Keep your website current to reflect the business your company does.

Tip #3:  Maintain a Blog

Keeping up with a blog will allow your business an opportunity to provide quality content on a regular schedule.  The public is always looking for informed professionals instead of amateurs who appear to just be getting into the business.  A blog offers your company and your clients a venue to have a two-way conversation about your products and services.

While a blog is a terrific way to keep your audience aware of developments within your company, it is just one of many tools and should be utilized.  You do not want to limit your online presence to running your blog when that is just one site.  A network of websites, blogs, and social media venues will maximize your influence and draw more users into your business.

Tip #4:  Always Follow Through

Another of the small business branding tips we have to offer is to always follow through on your promises.  While a good review can get lost, a bad one will spread like wildfire.  If you promise to render a service, provide an estimate, or allow a customer to test a product, it must be followed through on quickly or else your small business will gain a reputation for being unreliable and erratic.

Tip #5:  Do What You Do Exceptionally Well

This may seem obvious, but it is one of the most critical small business branding tips that you can take.  Many small businesses try to do everything.  If your company provides a service, make absolutely certain that you are the best provider of that service in your market.  Your potential clients are looking for a company that will provide them with an exceptional product at a fair price.  By trying to do everything for everyone you will end up creating an atmosphere in which your company becomes known for being mediocre in many things but great at no one thing.

I know many farmers will be intimidated by the concept of having a website and updating a blog. It's easier than ever with tools like WordPress or Blogger, so don't be afraid. Just jump in and start swimming.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Is your farm a safe workplace? Tips from the industrial sector

**This guest post was provided by, providers of 10 and 30-hour online OSHA safety courses**

Think about it. Every day countless numbers of folk get up, get ready, and go to work – day shift, swing shift, graveyard shift, long hours or short, hard work or easy, we work. It is only reasonable that we should expect to work in a safe place. What is not reasonable is that we should expect ‘someone else’ to make and keep our workplace safe for us without effort on our part as well.

The idea is to make a united effort to secure safe conditions in our workplaces so that we do not have to earn our daily bread under threat. Certainly there are big issues – quality building construction, secure electrical systems, wide, clear corridors, up to date, safe to use equipment and facilities – that we cannot take care of individually. But there are literally thousands of smaller things that we can take of as individuals or small groups. We just need to take time to see them.

For example, the builders of the buildings made sure to have ample exit routes on every floor. Are those exit corridors blocked, perhaps by excess inventory temporarily stored down a long hallway, or the walkway itself being cordoned off while waiting to be painted? Those workers affected by such obstructions can petition management to store inventory in the basement, perhaps, or ask that hallways be painted on weekends when no workers are in the building. Small things. Safer workplace.

A large industrial center may use high-pressure hoses to clean the floors at the end of the day. Is the stream of water sufficient to knock someone off his feet? Perhaps using reducers on the hose to cut the flow somewhat would be a good idea. And how about when the hoses are turned off until tomorrow; are they left lying on the floor, or are they stored on a hose reel? One person can make that workplace safer for everyone, in just minutes.

Is there a nearby supply of replacement light bulbs at your workplace? Is there a first aid kit within reach, and do you know where it is? Are electrical cords plugged into nearby outlets instead of snaking halfway around the room? Can you get to the fire extinguishers? Can you use them? Are there safe stepstools to reach supplies in the office storeroom? You get the point. Small things again. Safer workplace.

OSHA was made law in 1971; although its history has been politically tumultuous, its creation has ushered in an abiding movement toward safer, more secure working conditions for every working man and woman in these fifty states. This is a good thing. But there has been an unintended side effect: we no longer remember the horrendous number of workplace fatalities before OSHA, and our entire generation has grown up with no idea that they can be maimed, or even killed, in the course of their daily work. Such disregard surely breeds carelessness. Ask an OSHA Inspector.

It follows that the greatest workplace safety tip for every working person may well be simply becoming aware of our surroundings. If we are aware, we put ourselves in position to do something to change our workplace surroundings as necessary. We begin to ‘think safely’.

Take your eyes away from this printed text and think for just a moment: if you are at work right now, are you working in a safe place? Cupboard doors closed, doormats have skid-protection backing, stairways have handrails? If you work around machinery, are there machine guards in place, lockout/tagout systems in use, safety rails around scaffold platforms? Are hardhats, safety goggles, protective masks, and protective footgear in common use?

A quality workplace will have supervisors and other management personnel who support safety. You will not have to be adversarial in your approach to improving safety; on the contrary, your efforts and insights will be sought for, perhaps even rewarded. Safety programs and incentives abound, stepchildren of OSHA and incubators for thousands of safety improvements in individual workplaces in every corner of the country. So – do your part, be aware of your surroundings, and take pride in making your contributions to a safer workplace. Then enjoy your day at work: you’ve earned it!