You’ve got a brilliant new business plan. You’ve done your technical research and are ready to launch into a brave new world. Ready, set …. whoa.
As your agricultural enterprise grows, there may be job roles created that you haven’t put a lot of thought into. We interviewed three successful farming businesses – Collaborative Farming Australia, Huon Aquaculture and Meredith Dairy – and our own consultants at Agricultural Appointments to learn from their experience. Here’s what they say you can expect in terms of new employment as your business expands.
It’s All About People
Let’s assume your new business is going to set the world alight. Are you going to do all the work yourself? No, and one of the most commonly overlooked aspects is human resources.
“Perhaps the most important employment focus for an expanding business should be a skills analysis and a specific human resources plan,” Agricultural Appointments Managing Director Dr Ray Johnson says. “Many managers experiencing a growth phase of their business feel frustrated when it comes to people skills and this can lead to strain, loss of productivity and slower growth. ‘How do we get good people?’ becomes a common question. Hiring people with increased skills and training staff are essential to expanding.”
John Gladigau from Collaborative Farming Australia agrees. “When we were running our individual farms, we employed one person each, so one of the biggest things we had to learn was managing people; managing their expectations and creating roles, responsibilities and incentives.”
New Job Role No. 1: Human Resource Manager or Consultant
Market Your Brand
Marketing and sales are the same thing, right? Wrong. Think of marketing as everything you do to reach potential customers, and think of sales as completing the purchase of your product.
Your marketing team will define an overall promotion for your business, including brand development, market analysis and distribution channels. As Sandy Cameron of Meredith Dairy says: “Basically we had to learn the whole supply chain from growing grass to dealing with supermarkets.”
John Gladigau agrees, and says with the increased tonnage of grain from Bulla Burra, his collaborative farm, came more leverage for marketing, but also the need for more staff.
New Job Role No. 2: Marketing Manager
Selling the Business
You’ve got your new product refined but how are you going to sell it?
For Peter Bender at Huon Aquaculture, who sells some of the world’s finest salmon, this meant sourcing outside help. “We employed, on a contract basis, an ex-Tassal managing director to help with our sales and from there we gradually built up our own skills,” he says.
For Sandy Cameron it meant taking his product to the people with in-store tastings of their fresh goat cheese. Many people in their sales team have been with Sandy for a long time and have grown with the business, learning to tell the good news story that is Meredith Dairy.
New Job Role No. 3: Sales Manager
Spreading the Good Word
You’ve got your people organised, have a brand established and are making sales. How then do you build a relationship with your customers to continue the growth of your business? Enter the social media and public relations team.
In this age of digital transformation one of the most influential means of connecting with customers is through social media and the internet. Huon Aquaculture has designed a Sustainability Dashboard on their website, which gives the public an insider’s view into the world of salmon. “It gives people confidence that we are open and transparent and answers a lot of questions,” Peter Bender says.
Over at Collaborative Farming Australia, John Gladigau uses Facebook to spread the good word. “It’s about making people feel good about agriculture and making them want to work for us,” he says.
New Job Role No. 4: Social & Public Relations Manager
Don’t Forget to Ask
While not strictly a job role, the use of consultants when there are gaps in your business can lead to the creation of new employment positions. “We use consultants whenever we are short of knowledge,” Sandy Cameron says. “For example we used Ray (Johnson of Agricultural Appointments) to conduct a strategic review three years ago and that brought new ideas into the business.”
Peter Bender concurs. When Huon Aquaculture needed help with the processing side of the business they imported expertise from Scotland. “We have tried to get the best person in the field and then bring our own people up through the ranks,” he says.
New Job Role No. 5: Consultants, which can lead to training and new positions.
What Other Job Roles Will I Need?
Human resources, marketing, sales, public relations and the use of consultants are just some of the new job roles created when growing an agricultural business. Want to know what other roles were created by Collaborative Farming Australia, Huon Aquaculture and Meredith Dairy as they expanded? Then download our free 2016 Agribusiness Talent and Training Report to find out more.