Gaining momentum in the right direction.

Sign-Primrose MT substationI’m constantly referring back to our new year’s goals to make sure we’re on track.  Every time I check and find I’ve made progress I just want to go faster and try harder; having concrete goals and then seeing us working towards them just adds fuel to my fire!

Besides the written goals specifically addressing projects at Primrose, I’ve also been tracking some business development goals.  The education I’ve gotten from the Oklahoma State University Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Program has really shortened the timeline on a lot of my goals for developing Primrose into a successful business venture.

First off I’d like to thank OSU, the faculty, the students, the alumni, and the donors that made that program possible.  I’ve been with 22 other entrepreneurs all week brainstorming with and learning from some of the most successful and effective people I’ve ever met.  At the end of the program we left and went our separate ways, but we’ll be collaborating online and with mentors this year to keeping pushing us towards our goals.  That being said, in the interest of accountability and telling the story, I decided today that I should write it all down.

Marketing and Branding.

So far we’ve secured our URL and begun a blog (obviously) to track the story of building our homestead and business.  The blog is providing something else too that’s important to businesses these days: search engine optimization.  If you’re going to have a business with an online presence (and I can’t think of one that you wouldn’t want to have one), the most reliable way to make sure that someone looking for you, finds you and not someone else, is producing content for your site and updating it often.  Search engine optimization companies charge you money to do little tweaks and tricks to rocket you to the top of a google search for specific words, but because search engines are constantly changing the way they rank sites, the best way to make sure you stay on top is to provide original content and update often.

Additionally we started collaborating on logo design, I’ll throw up our latest at the bottom of the page when we’re finished!  I could write a book about my feelings on logo design and graphic design in general, but in the interest of brevity I’ll just say this: less is more and keep it simple (think about printing).

Goals: develop our brand, keep consistent with updating the blog, solicit local subject matter experts to provide some homestead and entrepreneurship targeted content, refine our business and marketing plan.

outside-no windows-Primrose MT substation (3)

Primrose Station.

One big part of our project (arguably the biggest part) out here is building Primrose into a farm-to-table B&B.  That’s going to require a LOT of funding and work.  We solicited a historian to prepare our national historic register application, and it will be done soon.  We’re excited to preserve this historic piece of the old Milwaukee Line and develop it in a way that we can share it with visitors to Montana and members of our local community!  I can’t wait to read the application when it’s finished, I’m sure it will have a lot of cool facts about the property.

Goals: get on the national historic register, have an architect draw up new plans to reflect our vision for the building, get cost estimates, secure funding to start work.

Homesteading.

Last year we grew vegetables in raised beds, planted trees, planted bushes, planted Merlot grapes, etc.  We started raising chickens and rabbits (holy cow are we ever going to meet our rabbit production goals!).  Now we need to take our experience from last year and build on it.  Luckily we have some friends in town that are very knowledgeable about food production and they’re going to be helping us out  I went to a farm business class at the local extension office, and we’ll be attending the rest of the series together when Erin returns.  Erin applied to NRCS to get us help setting up a greenhouse on the property this year.  I applied to the Veterans to Farmers coalition and last Friday they chose an advisor for our endeavor, so we’re very excited to work with them to accelerate our production goals at Primrose.  When all is said and done we want to be producing enough that we can feed all the B&B guests and have enough left over for monthly events and a roadside stand or farmer’s market sales.

Goals: get a greenhouse, plan out our aquaponics system, purchase neighboring land to increase our production, sell enough farm products to be considered an agricultural property to qualify for certain grants and loans.

In addition we’ve got some bigger goals, like forming a board, getting involved in the community, planning monthly events out at Primrose, etc.  Make sure to check back next week when our first incubator-load of chicks should be hatching!  Thank you to everyone that has supported our efforts so far, from helping out at the building to commenting on the blog!

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