Archive for the ‘Business & Work’ Category

For the past week, I have been promising myself I am going to get more organised!!!

I have found since I have not been going out to work each day, that the days slip by and I often feel I have achieved nothing.  I am definitely not getting to spend as much time in the garden.  Why is this?

When I was doing the 9 to 5 thing, and getting home at 6 o’clock, I usually managed to get an hour or two in the garden most evenings.  Now I find I am lucky to get that much time in the week!  Granted the weather has not been so good, but still????

So this week I promised myself that I would put more structure around my day. However, that hasn’t worked.   So I will have to start again tomorrow – Monday.

Keeping up a Facebook page for the business is time consuming.  But I am thinking of structuring the day, so that I look at it maybe 3 or 4 times throughout the day.

Doing work for clients can be a bit more structured – a time limit for each job.  But that only works if the client doesn’t suddenly have an emergency, or decide they want to have a long chat while you are trying to get a job done for another client!

We’re almost at the end of another busy weekend… where we were teasing out some new ideas which will hopefully bring more work…. but more of that later.

And here I am on Sunday afternoon – planning my approach to getting things done next week.

Does anyone out there have solutions?

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We have started (since January) to use Facebook as a means of promoting sales of our free-range pork.  I was asked recently to write about the experience as a case study for delivery to tourism providers… so I thought I should share my experiences with everyone.

So here’s the story of our experience on Facebook…

In September 2008, we started with three ‘boy’ pigs.  The initial plan was that we would grow them on for 5 months and then have our own ham and/or bacon to share with friends and family.

In March 2009 we sent our first pig to the abattoir.  The meat was delicious and while we shared some with family and friends we also sold some on.

In the period between September and March we had also bought 4 sows, so we now had a production plant!

In May 2009 we had our first litters.   Some of these piglets/bonhams were sold as weaners, to people who wanted to grow their own food.  The rest we kept to grow-on ourselves.

While initially the pig-rearing was for our own benefit, circumstances changed for us on the employment level in late summer 2009, so Oldfarm Pork has become more of an artisan business.

We now raise rare-breed, free-range pigs, and sell pork/bacon via a ‘box’ system.  Customers order a ‘box’ of 5 kg or 10 kg. in which they get a mix of pork and/or bacon.  We have chosen the box system as the optimum selling instrument for us, in that we are small producers, selling fresh meat.  Our customers receive their meat fresh from the butchers – they can then decide which pieces of meat they want to freeze, or use immediately, themselves.

Our initial ‘marketing’ campaign started with texting and emailing friends and family, and asking them to pass the message on to their contacts.

We were always looking at new ways of promoting the business, attending ‘food’ related conferences and seminars, networking, etc.

I will admit that up to 3 months ago I was not a fan of Facebook.  I perceived it as intrusive and lacking in privacy!  However, I did succumb to Facebook on a personal level as a means to play Scrabble with friends at home and abroad!

I started our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/OldfarmPork) on 18th January to promote our free-range pigs and pork. Being a newbie to Facebook I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  It has been an interesting learning curve for me.

Again I used the ‘family and friends’ route to get our initial fan base.  And within a week or two we had c 20 fans.  Since that initial flurry our fan base has built slowly, but consistently.  In just 2 months we now have a fanbase of 94 (as of today 3/4), which may not seem like a lot of fans when compared to the big corporate sites who have thousands of fans.

However, the best part of our fanbase is that it is generating orders!

I can honestly say that we are now receiving orders from people who we don’t know, and who are fans on our Facebook page.  It is probably only a tiny percentage of our sales, but  it is a percentage that we may not have otherwise achieved!

Having a Facebook business page, may not involve a financial commitment but it is a substantial time commitment.  You do need to devote time to it every day.  I am constantly looking at other websites, and using other social media outlets to find things that I consider worth posting on the site.

It is often times a challenge to find something interesting and worthwhile to upload on a daily basis.  You want to keep it ‘business-like’ but you also want to generate, conversation, debate and comments!  There is also the challenge of adding variety to your page… you don’t want to be constantly talking about pork or pigs!

Recognising the ‘right’ time to post is also critical.  You need to know your customers and figure out when they are on line, so that you can post when they are likely to comment!  I am still trying to figure this out!

You also need to devote time to looking at other Facebook business pages, and to comment on them – again just to raise your profile.  This, at the moment, is a little difficult with Facebook as you cannot comment as your ‘business’ page only as your personal profile, but perhaps in time this will change.

I have found a devious way of using the @ symbol to comment on other business pages… but it doesn’t always follow through!

As I have previously said it is a learning curve!

But Facebook in conjunction with other social media outlets like Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging can be useful for a food business.  Our experience is that you can reach your consumer.

I hope this is of help.

Have you been using Facebook for your business?  What has your experience been?

I was asked recently about how social media was working for us…. check out this update.
For fellow nerdy people, I thought you might find the following figures interesting.  A breakdown of where the contact was made for our last three delivery runs.
a.    50% Twitter / 50% other (as in personal contact/newspaper articles, etc)
b.    60% Twitter / 40% other
c.    50% Twitter / 20% Facebook / 30% other
I am probably mad doing analysis like this but I find it interesting…. and in reality it does help us to know where we should focus.
I find it interesting that Twitter far out does the Facebook side of things.  Have you had a similar experience?

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