Getting Stakeholders on board

a deeper look into your checklist


Over the week we have been receiving feedback on the webinar and most importantly the questionnaire. If you haven’t gone through it please feel free to check it out and answer the question if you are ready to farm. I subsequently got feedback from participants on the form, and I really felt like there was snuffing out of hope and dreams of farming and feeding nations. I haven't been able to shake off that feeling creating a pit in my stomach because it doesn't speak to my personal ambition, so I am here writing this blog, to fan the flame of hope more, I want the movement to grow and secure the future of food in Africa.

broken image

Working with a red pen is easier than building , so here is to laying down the first brick to the foundation of successful and fulfilling agri-businesses. In this post we will discuss how to identify the important stakeholders of your business, and the importance of these relationships, so without much ado:

Many people in Africa who are farmers and become farmers in their youth are privileged in the fact that they are recipients of the sweat, blood and tears of those that came before them, like their parents, or mentors who have facilitated for the access of land like in my case. I have had many conversations with people that say,

“ We have land, inherited from parents, I want to farm but my siblings, relatives are not necessarily on board with the idea, as it requires their participation most of the time, financially, and everyone is pushing their own life and grind”

This brings up many issues that may deter an enthusiastic and aspiring farmer, or delay the building of the dream because it challenges also one’s SELFISHNESS and notion of building for community, where you can sweat the land and yourself for the benefit of others who didn't participate, It's really a test of true character in any human being. My unsolicited advice, BE SELFLESS, one time!

Invest in legal knowledge of getting a trust deed set up for the property and register a company that leases the property from the “TRUST” , go with even a dirt cheap rental if you will, and pay it religiously and settle in your heart that there will be individuals who will benefit from your efforts, usually what this gets you, is minimal friction to set up your farming enterprise and anyone with vision amongst the family cohort of stakeholders will invest their time or money or expertise early in the process and the business itself which is the most investable vehicle anyway. Should anyone want to join in the party when the vision has shaped up a lot better, they buy shares in the company at a higher valuation than the start of the enterprise. This allows you to seek investment opportunities from other people outside of the other political structure. This works as well for people who try to measure how profitable renting land to start a farm enterprise would be.

How to identify your Key Stakeholders

The setting up of the company structure for your farming business, assists you to be able to identify your stakeholders and strategically approach them inline with your growth strategy. I must disclose that this is a process not a one time event, so all of you that checked yes, were answering this question at a surface level, but that's okay!

Examples of stakeholders you should consider in your identification process are your spouse/life partner, family, staff members , neighbors and immediate community, suppliers, customers, trade associations (farmers unions), Lenders, Government and its relevant arms to your enterprise.

From this point it's important to prioritize these stakeholders so that you don't overwhelm yourself with things that don't pay you directly, as discussed in my previous blog. Using the Power/Interest matrix grid as above, place the stakeholders in their quadrants and deal with each of them accordingly. This allows you to focus and chase your dreams with order and correctly applied urgency and importance. My husband always says

“Nothing important, should be Urgent”

So is, effectively dealing with all the stakeholders in your enterprise. I teach this at length with necessary tutorial worksheets to utilize in the course.

Having said all this, I hope you are picking up why this is a very important step in the building of your agri-business. Besides the old adage says

“together we stand , divided we fall”

it's of importance that you create a network that secures your enterprise and your sanity as you get into this business. Agriculture is already one of the most disintegrated industries. Find a way to bridge your own micro industry to secure your own business. With more of us doing this, we will be building that integrated industry.

To be able to build systems for your business, you need to be aware of who are the actors, so you can direct and synchronize this play on your terms, this is one of the first loopholes that could lose you money in your business if not well managed. Lastly, it helps you be able to assess your social and intellectual capital resources, which is also in the checklist. You will get a true picture of what you have in your arsenal, you might realize that there are many things that you can trade off your financial capital needs onto your social capital reserves and still achieve the same business goals you have.

This has been a lengthy one, so I will end it right here. Keep farming, and THRIVE while you are at it. Till my next blog.