Monday, February 12, 2018

My TEDx Talk II

Continuing the transcript of my TED talk on "Farmers Market as a Business Incubator".

Fuels Rapid Growth

The Rochester Market has grown from $800K in 2008 to over $2M in 2018. This is over 20% per year. This rapid growth is a testamoney to the diversity and inclusiveness of the Rochester market environment. Both vendors and shoppers are diverse and multi-ethinic. This drives demand for produce and meats that are also multi-ethnic and diverse. Growth occurs on many dimensions and can be both organic (increased sales for existing vendors) and acquisitional (new vendors and new products are added).

The Revenue Stays in the Community

Studies have shown that for every dollar spent at a farmers market, another $3 is spent in the surrounding community. So if farmers market revenue is $2M then another $6M is spent in other businesses and restaurants to power the local Rochester economy.

Buying local keeps dollars circulating closer to home. For every dollar spent at a local business over 45 cents is reinvested locally, for dollars spent at a farmers market it is much higher than that and may approach 90 cents for every dollar. We do most of our shopping at the market and with local business. For every dollar spent at the big box chain store, only 15 cents gets reinvested locally.

Willing to Be Weird – No Fear Only Wonder

A world view of principled non-conformity is essential to advancing the leading edge of any field. Taking the step into direct marketing to the consumer at a farmers market is the leading edge of marketing for many farmers.

Unless you are willing to be weird you will never leave the boundaries of the tribe. The market as a small business incubator helps farmers leave the tribe.

Here are my 10 principles for being weird, whether you are a farmer or not.

  1. Take the Road Less Traveled. If everyone is doing it, you aren't on the path to being weird.
  2. Read everything you can get your hands on and then read some more. Read broad and deep. Reading can jump start your agricultural endeavors and marketing by decades. 
  3. Serendipity with your eyes wide open. There isn't time in one lifetime to learn everything by trial and error. But when the unexpected happens. Be ready to take note. 
  4. Always ask why? Sometimes I take a mental note of something weird that happened whether it be at the farmers market or in the field, and I don't find out for years the reason. The information is out there if I am patient and persistent. 
  5. Look where everyone else isn't looking. Some of the best ideas for farming are found outside the traditional farming community. Things like leadership. Customer service. Value adding products. Manufacturing to learn about efficiency. Social media. Computer technologies.
  6. Learn from our grand parents. We hear technology is moving at a blinding pace and it is. But in agriculture, we have forgotten more in the last 100 years than we have learned. I am coming to believe that is true in areas like food preparation and preservation as well. Our teenagers know more about cooking, canning and cilantro than the average 30 year old husband or wife. These skills are in great demand in the "farmers market place".
  7. Learn from the ancients. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. History can teach us much, but we can even looked beyond written history to the sound and sustainable practices of the ancients peoples. I'm not talking about some mystical mumbo jumbo, but looking at how they built, no literally engineered, soils under difficult circumstances to build empires using soil biology and naturally selected plant genetics. We have serious problems with the sustainability of modern agricultural practices, but there are powerful answers and very achievable solutions if we know where to look for them.
  8. Look!!! Look for trends. Look for the unusual. Look for the difficult. Leave the path. Really see things around you. (Know that learn, listen and look are sisters.)
  9. Find the hidden value. When agriculture is going left, you go right. When everyone else is getting big, become small (or at least think small).
  10. Try something different every season. Maybe several things.
Foster Entreprenuership

Farmers are already strongly independent and entreprenuerial. Farming just attracts that type of personality. But the average row crop or livestock farmer also conforms to some cultural norms, which we won't go into here. But the farmers market vendor is really “out of the box” compared to the average family farm. They are at the market because:
  1. they want face time with their customers,
  2. they want to be different,
  3. they want to innovate
  4. they want to make a difference.
They are there for the why (fresh, clean, local, organic) of what they do as much as the what (growing and selling vegetables or meats)

In our next article we will look at the following attributes of the Farmer's Market at a small business incubator:

  1. Passion
  2. Marketing - The Ambivert Advantage
  3. Innovation
    1. Rapid Deployment of Ideas
    2. The Hocky Stick Effect in Learning.
    3. Don't mark my paper, help me get an A.

No comments:

Post a Comment