Updated: Sep 7, 2019
Follow along as we set up our new homestead. Before the very first post hole is dug, we needed to do some soul searching and make sure we're on the same page. We divided our planning process into steps, from making decision, through defining values, understanding our resources, crops, animals, marketing, long-term goals, and so on. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own farm or homestead or business, maybe this will help you through the process, too. There is no time-line for the actual work that needs to be done, but the steps will be covered in depth. Please sign up on the homepage of our website so you don’t miss a step!
In an attempt to make great decisions and do what is best for us, our farm, and our business, we need a guide. In a nutshell, we are searching for our True North. If you want to play along, please jot down your answers to the following questions, then find the other Decision Makers (see the last blog in this series - The Boss) and ask them the same questions. Hopefully, you’ll see a lot of your answers are the same.
What is most important to you about having a farm/homestead/business?
What makes you happy?
How would you describe financial security?
How do you want your relationships to work? Family, friends, customers.
What are the most important things in your life?
What do you want from your land?
What do you want people to think when they hear the name of your farm?
How you answer all these questions reflect your values, and your answers combined with the other decision-maker’s answers will become the guiding beacon of how you run your farm. There are two things you can build from these answers - a Values Statement and a Mission Statement (which we'll cover in a later blog).
First, let's work on a Values Statement. Once you have all your answers, put them together in a couple sentences, print them, and hang them in your farm office or in your barn or by your back door. The statement should start with the "What" of your farm. Try "Our goal is" or "Our purpose is." The next part should explain "How" you're going to accomplish that goal or purpose. The final statement is your "Why" - the one-liner about what you want. Of course, you can make it longer or shorter. It's your personal statement. It's not for the public. It's for you. It will keep you focused when times are hard or confusing. It will guide every decision you make on your farm, in your business, and perhaps, with your family.
Our Values Statement:
Our ultimate goal is sustainability for ourselves, our animals, and our land, implementing proper stewardship of the land as to leave it better simply because we were here. Our focus is on a chemical-free lifestyle, working together with grace and patience to maintain a strong marriage and a profitable business. Most of all, we wish to enjoy our farm life and each other.
This is not to be confused with a Mission Statement, which is for the public. These are values and are for you and you alone. Compiled as a statement, it is your beacon - your True North. It will assist you in all decision making, whether that's buying a new tractor or deciding whether or not to add hogs to your farm. Before making any major decision, reflect upon your values, and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is there another way to get the same result?
2. Will this move us closer to our ultimate goal? (We'll talk more about goals in a later blog.)
3. If this is a remedy, does it address the problem or just mask the symptom?
4. Is time and/or money available to do this? If not, what’s the solution for that?
5. Will doing this upset any supporters? (More on supporters here.)
6. How do we really feel about this decision/project/expense?
7. Does the decision fit in with our values?
We'll work on our Mission Statement in a later blog.
Join us next time for Resources.
Until next time,
P.S. Check out these rustic-looking picture frames to frame your Values Statement. They're so cute!!