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Posts Tagged ‘business development’

Grocery retailers, chefs, and other food buyers are looking for local product and they want to buy local says Jessica Kelly, a direct farm marketing specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).  “Yet, when it comes to buying from farmers and small food processors, they say there’s often a gap between what they need, when they need it, and how they do business” she adds.

OMAFRA & Town of Georgina has a one-day workshop February 2nd, bringing together farmers and small food processors to learn how to address those gaps.

OMAFRA is also partnering with the City of Quinte West to host a workshop March 1st.

Ministry specialists in business management, business development, food regulation and food safety can help business owners and managers learn more about different sales channels and how they work so participants can ultimately decide if there is an untapped sales channel that is right for their business. Each workshop is customized to local interests with subjects ranging from market channel opportunities, food regulations, food safety, pricing for profit, packaging and labelling. Participants will also learn where to get more information and support.

Your business might benefit from selling to a local grocery store or other retailer, a restaurant or public sector organization like a university or school nutrition program. The key is to invest a few hours to learn about different market opportunities and what customers expect.

The Selling Food to Ontario workshop in the Town of Georgina is available on February 2 from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm and is being held at The Link, 20849 Dalton Road, Sutton, Ontario L0E 1R0. Registration is now open.

The Selling Food to Ontario workshop in Quinte West is available on March 1 from 8:30am -3:30pm and is being held at the Trent Port Marina, 15 Creswell Drive, Quinte West, Ontario K8V 3S8. Registration is now open.

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Wondering how to get to the top of Google? There are almost 5 billion searches per day on Google. If you are not online, or easy to find, your business is missing out on huge potential.  Many businesses rely on their website and social media profiles for their advertising and marketing- for some their online presence is their only form of advertising. So how do you improve the effectiveness of your website and make sure that customers can easily find you?

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves creating a website in a way that will help draw traffic to your site from search engines. Search engines are the primary means of finding information on the internet- by using SEO techniques you can increase the ranking of your site and thus increase the number of people visiting your site. There are a number of SEO techniques and best practices that can improve your rankings on search engines, and help to make your website as effective as possible.

The government of Ontario has published an E-Business Toolkit, including an on-line booklet Increasing traffic to your website through search engine optimization techniques. This booklet is targeted towards small businesses that are looking to learn how to attract more customers to their website. It includes best practices for search engine optimization, pitfalls, and different considerations for implementing an SEO strategy.

Best Practices:

Key word search:          Determine what words and phrases your customers are looking for. Google’s Keyword Planner can help find the right keywords. Add your keywords in the title, content, images, meta description, title tags, URL, and internal links. Include a meta description tag on each page, and an alternative tag (alt tag) for each page.

Quality Content:      Content is very important- algorithms look at length, frequency and value. The longer your content is and the more often you post, the higher ranking you will achieve.

SEO Local:                Design your website to attract local visitors. Add location addresses and include local links to your pages. Use Google Places and choose the appropriate categories.

Social SEO:              Use Twitter shares, Facebook likes, and social bookmarking to increase search rankings.

Link Building:       Let link building happen naturally through customers sharing and retweeting your content and articles. Getting listed on other quality sites can draw traffic to your site and increase search engine ranking.

Pitfalls:

Marketing:             Make sure you adjust page content when adjusting page titles. Avoid aggressive SEO techniques (loading too many keywords in the website’s content), which could exclude your site from a search engine.

Technical:            Remove any broken links. Do not use videos or images without alternative tags. Do not load your page with too many links, as Google may view this unfavourably.

Considerations:

Before deciding to do this yourself instead of hiring an SEO expert, determine if you have the web development skills necessary for SEO. SEO requires specific technical and marketing expertise; without this expertise, or if your time could be better spent elsewhere, seeking professional help is an alternative.

For more information and detail on search engine optimization, and how to increase traffic to your website, visit the e-Business Toolkit.

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Team members vs. employees

While many people classify their staff as ‘employees’, it may be beneficial to adjust this mindset and start hiring team members. Having teams and team members will lead to an open and honest work environment, while having employees can lower morale and lead to a high turnover. Having employees can limit the ability to have an enjoyable environment where people are excited to go every day and give 100 per cent.

Is there really a difference? See if you recognize any of these traits in your staff members:

Employees:

  • Have a ‘get it done tomorrow’ attitude, and will treat urgent issues as if they will always be there.
  • Love making excuses or blaming others.
  • Are internally focused- the effort they put into tasks will depend on how the outcome can benefit them.
  • Need a checklist, no more, and are comfortable working towards this checklist. There is rarely any excitement from the employee on the task.
  • Are dependable to do the same tasks and are easily replaceable.

Team members:

  • Will have a ‘we’ mentality.
  • Are focused on finding solutions.
  • Focus on a shared goal among the team.
  • Will be excited and willing to learn and develop their skillset within the organization.
  • Willing to align their goals with the organization’s goals.
  • Are integral to your team- without them your business would not run as smoothly.
  • Work together to improve your business. They believe that everyone succeeds together.

By hiring team members instead of employees you create a culture that is enjoyable for everyone, more accountable, and more productive. To create this attitude begin with an exercise where everyone refers to each other as team mates and team members, and see how the workplace changes. However, this isn’t enough- for your staff to really feel like team members, your will have to treat them as such. Teams, unlike employees, don’t need managers, but leaders, who work with the team to complete the job.

Hire team members who have a shared passion and vision of your business. This will benefit your business in the long run by creating a happier work environment, where team members don’t dread coming to work, which will ultimately create a lower turnover rate among staff. A lower turnover rate means less time spent training new employees and less inexperienced employees, leading to increases in productivity.

Methods to create a team:

  • More recognition and reward for good/extra work.
  • Listen to everyone’s ideas.
  • Trust your team and give them more responsibility/flexibility.
  • Create common goals and show the benefits of teamwork.
  • Create a task which requires teamwork to accomplish.
  • Let everyone have some fun (team bonding activities).

Resources:

http://reliablewaterservices.com/2016/01/employees-vs-team-members-theres-a-difference/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erik-harbison/team-members-vs-employees-whats-the-difference_b_6926436.html

 

 

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Seeds for Success: Enhancing Canada’s Farming Enterprises

The Conference Board of Canada, 61 pages, June 2013

Report by Erin Butler, James Stuckey

The modern farming landscape is changing. This report considers the state of farming business in Canada, and how it can be improved to achieve greater economic and social value.

Document Highlights

Farming in Canada has deep roots and traditions, but the sector undergoes significant changes: the old ways of doing things are no longer guarantors of success. Seeds for Success: Enhancing Canada’s Farming Enterprises explores the modern realities of farming business, and how it can be bolstered to achieve even more of the economic and social value that consumers expect. The report reveals that Canada’s farming sector is increasingly dynamic, presenting new opportunities, as well as risks and challenges. Although farmers have long been skilled at managing the growth of crops and livestock, they must now also be increasingly skilled at managing their businesses. This report considers the farm management issues facing farming today.

More details and to download the report>>

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Guelph, ON, June 24, 2013: At its recent annual general meeting, the Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) elected a new board executive and outlined next steps for growing opportunities for Ontario’s farmers.

Following a two-year term as Vice-Chair, Brenda Lammens has been elected to Chair of AMI.

Ms. Lammens is an active member of the farm community and, with her husband, Raymond, has grown asparagus at SpearIt Farms in Norfolk County for more than 30 years. She is also Chair of the Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council, and past Chair and current director of the Ontario Asparagus Growers Marketing Board.

“A great many opportunities exist for farmers. It’s time to recognize and take advantage of them,” says Ms. Lammens. “During my term as Chair I want to help farmers and farm organizations to grab those opportunities – whether it is processing, exporting, or on-farm marketing – so that they can be the very best. With the help of AMI, we can work co-operatively rather than in isolation, learning from one another to drive Ontario’s farm businesses forward.”

David Lee, a dairy farmer from the Otterville area was elected to the role of Vice-Chair. Gerald Renkema will remain on the AMI executive as Past Chair.

In addition to the election of new executive board members, attendees at the annual general meeting learned about AMI’s interim work plan in anticipation of Growing Forward 2 funding. The new work plan will see the inclusion of Ontario processors and farm business leadership to the AMI portfolio, as well as the development of new business tools.

“The leadership activities will start by defining what leadership means in farm operations and with on-farm teams,” said Ryan Koeslag, AMI’s Executive Director. “As a management institute, we want to help farmers to embrace leadership as a means to drive change on their farm and meet the goals of their business plan.”

The expansion of AMI’s mandate to include processors is significant. “Collaboration between farmers and processors is a relationship that has been overlooked in the past and one where AMI can contribute,” says Koeslag. “If we are able to assist processors with their management practices, it will ultimately help farmers to achieve their full potential.”

New business tools that are under development include an online business assessment tool, an e-Learning succession planning tool for processors, business leadership activities, and expansion of the business advisory groups for farmers in a range of commodities.

“These additions to AMI’s offerings are exciting steps forward for us and for the farm community, but we haven’t forgotten our roots. We will continue to offer business management events, speakers, and a host of online business management resources to farmers,” adds Koeslag. “Our upcoming conference in 2014 will bring together delegates from across the value chain to discuss the barriers, opportunities and collaborations that will redefine the marketplace.”

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About AMI

The Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) promotes new ways of thinking about farm business management and aims to increase awareness, understanding and adoption of beneficial business management practices by Ontario farmers. The AMI is funded by Growing Forward 2, a Federal-Provincial-Territorial initiative.

For more information contact Ryan Koeslag, Executive Director, AMI at 519-822-6618 or by email at ryan@takeanewapproach.ca  

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Guelph, ON, June 26, 2013 – The Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) is accepting applications from Ontario organizations and collaborations that want to put innovative ideas into action by growing profits, expanding markets and managing risk under Growing Forward 2 (GF2).

GF2 offers funding assistance for:

  •  Capacity building through strategic planning, training, audits or assessments, and,
  • Project implementation that focuses on the environment and climate change, animal and plant health, market development, labour productivity enhancement, assurance systems, and business and leadership development.

“Created with a ‘client-first’ approach, the GF2 program is suited to meet the individual needs of a very broad industry,” said John Kikkert, AAC Chair. “Applicants have the flexibility to propose projects based on their own priorities within the GF2 focus areas. This is ideal for an industry that faces many challenges, and has many diverse opportunities.”

AAC is delivering GF2 programming to Ontario organizations and collaborations on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Pre-proposals, applications and program guides can be found on the AAC website at www.adaptcouncil.org.

Enrollment and online applications are available through the GF2 Client Portal.

The AAC is based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and is a leader in program delivery. The AAC is a not-for-profit organization that is made up of 67 Ontario agricultural, agri-food and rural organizations. The AAC board of directors will review all applications from organizations and collaborations and make the final funding decisions.

This programming is supported by GF2 a comprehensive federal-provincial-territorial agreement aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector.

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June 26, 2013 – Growing Forward 2 Funding Assistance for Capacity Building is now available for producers, processors, organizations and collaborations.  Check out the website at ontario.ca/growingforward2 for program guide and how to apply.

June 26, 2013 to September 5, 2013 – Growing Forward 2 Funding Assistance for Project Implementation is now available for organizations and collaborations.  Check out the website at ontario.ca/growingforward2 for program guide and how to apply.

Environmental Farm Program (EFP) and Growing Your Farm Profits (GYFP)  Workshops available – Register

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