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Learning Pathways

Welcome to our Learning Pathways

Join a group of like-minded entrepreneurs as you work towards a milestone in your own business. This program is designed to incorporate the wealth of knowledge from our Subject Matter Experts as well as provide a connection for networking with businesses that are going through the same growth stage as yourself.

Click the topic below to jump to the section of your choice. 

Agriculture

2024 On-Farm Recruitment and Readiness Series Learning Pathway

The 2024 production season is fast approaching! Food producers know that finding and retaining staff can be overwhelming – particularly during an environment of upward wage pressures. This series is for farmers and food producers who want to make a plan to hire, onboard and retain workers for the 2024 season.  During this 3-week, twice-weekly series of workshops and working groups, we will prepare for upcoming recruitment opportunities and staff onboarding.  We will meet twice weekly to dive into strategies and resources to help us find and retain the right employees for our farm businesses. 

Registration has now ended. Please check back later for the On-Demand version.

Getting Ready to Hire for this Season  

Level up your hiring plan for the 2024 production season. In this webinar, you will learn the basics of getting your farm ready to find the people who will make your season great. 

Learn about: 

  • Writing appealing job descriptions for agriculture 

  • How to pitch your farm as an attractive place to work 

  • Safety and compliance for agriculture businesses 

  • Employment regulations for on and off the farm 

  • Wage planning and budgets 

Finding the Right Candidates for your Farm 

Recruiting suitable candidates is critical to success on the farm. This session will outline where and how you can find the superstars who you want on your team this year. 

Learn about: 

  • Where to advertise so candidates can find you   

  • Different types of wage support programs and recruiting support 

  • Various employment models that are available to you, such as Co-op students and retraining programs 

Interviewing, Onboarding and Retention 

Employee retention is a product of effective hiring plans that include a well thought out interview and onboarding plan.   

Learn about: 

  • The ins and outs of conducting interviews (i.e. choosing an appropriate format, setting and duration)  

  • Drafting effective and appropriate interview questions 

  • Laying out job expectations (including those for seasonal workers) 

  • Involving the right people in the screening process   

  • Training and mentoring new employees  

2023 Distribution Bootcamp

Calling all food producers looking to get into the wholesale business or those planning a visit to a trade show this year! The Distribution Bootcamp is a three-part series where you will work with our Advisors to prepare your product and pitch for wholesale buyers and distributors alongside other producers in your region.

Registration is now closed. 

Topic 1: Being a Good Supplier

Date: September 26, 2023

  • Life Cycle/Where are you?​
  • What makes a good supplier?​
  • Product readiness​
  • Relationships and Rapport​
  • Delivery/etiquettes​
  • Re-order and maintenance ​
  • Next Steps

 

Topic 2: What to Prepare for Your Pitch Meeting

Date: October 3, 2023

  • Review Good Supplier work​
  • Preparing Pitch​
  • Sell Sheet vs Order Sheet​
  • Promotional schedule​
  • Sales Expert ​
  • Product Expert​
  • Order Management​
  • Risk management​
  • Leveraging rapport​
  • Reinforce Commitment to Selling

Date: October 3, 2023

  • Create a "Go Kit", marketing, signage
  • Write an elevator pitch and practice

 

Date: October 10 , 2023

  • Present and give feedback to each group that has presented; tell them what worked well and what didn’t.

Topic 3: Prepare for Food Expos and Trade Shows

Date: October 17, 2023

  • Finalize elevator pitch and make any changes to go kit/marketing from feedback from peers/working group.
  • Practice, get comfortable with your material
  • Prepare samples/demos
  • Critique plan

Date: October 24, 2023

  • ​​Finalize your “Go Kit” to be ready for trade shows and expos
  • Create a post-trade show checklist to follow up with potential leads

Pricing Fundamentals Learning Pathway: How Food Growers Price for Success

Food growers need to know how to price their products to make their farms sustainable and increase revenue.  Understanding pricing fundamentals allows us to improve efficiency and reduce expenses.  This series is for food growers who want to improve pricing models to make a profit in 2024. During this 8-week series of workshops and working groups, we will learn how to calculate production costs for effective planning and product pricing, and we will dive into using margins to plan for cost of production, revenue, and staffing.    

Registration has now ended. Please check back later for the On-Demand version.

Calculating the True Cost of Production 

Learn about: 

  • Why farmers should know how much it costs to grow a unit of product 

  • How to calculate the cost of production for sustainability, growth and profit 

Factors that Determine Sustainable Product Pricing

Learn about: 

  • How to use financial statements to calculate operating costs (i.e. growing and packaging) and fixed costs (i.e. mortgage/lease) to price our products 

  • How to use your unit cost data to understand production intensity and harvest intervals for what you grow 

Determining How Much You Need to Plant to Generate a Profit  

Learn about: 

  • How to plan for profit before you put anything in the ground or in the barn 

  • How to use break-even analysis to calculate how many units you need in a given production area to produce enough  to exceed your operating costs 

Making Data-Driven Decisions Based on Pricing Knowledge 

Learn about: 

  • Why data and gut feelings can sometimes give you different answers 

  • How to use break-even analysis to make data-driven decisions; for example, how much labour will be required, how much shrink to account for, how to think about potential risk, how to plan future harvests, how to consider future land opportunities 

Food Processors

Financial Literacy

Financial Fundamentals

Learn to leverage your financial reporting to make better business decisions.

One of the best tools business owners can use is their own financial reporting!

During this 5-week working group series, you will learn the fundamentals of these powerful reports and how to use them to make data-driven decisions. You will learn what the information tells you about your business, what changes to make to get more accurate data and key ratios to analyze your business’s health.  

Registration is now closed. Please watch for our next session starting in 2024.

Commit to 5 weeks of learning to leverage your financial reporting to make better business decisions.

One of the best tools business owners can use is their own financial reporting. Join us for this multi-week workshop series to learn the fundamentals of these influential reports and how to use them to make data-driven decisions. Learn what the information tells you about your business, what changes to make to get more accurate data, and key ratios to analyze your company’s financial health.  

  • 5-Week Program (approx. 3 hours per week) – Full schedule will be sent out once approval of entry is confirmed.
  • Occupancy: Limited to 10 participants
  • Delivery: Virtual working group series.  Participants will watch a recorded webinar prior to each weekly working group session.
  • Program Instructors:
    • Denise MacDonald
    • Steve Fisher
  •  

Qualification Requirements:

  1. Minimum company annual revenue  $100,000
  2. Open to service or product-based companies. The best fit is product-based companies with multiple products or service-based companies with multiple services.  Your company should have at least one employee involved in delivering services or making products.
  3. Able to produce or get financial reports from your accounting system like QuickBooks or Wave (Profit & Loss/Income statement and Balance Sheet)
  4. Bookkeeping up to date (within last quarter) 
  5. Working knowledge of excel
  6. Time – 3-hour commitment per week (class and homework time)
  7. Business has full-time equivalent staff

Space is limited, and specific business requirements are required. Once you a apply, a BBA Program Representative will contact you.

 

Topic 1: The importance of regularly reviewing monthly financial statements to analyze your business

  • A comparison: where most companies are with their financials and where they need to be 
  • What can your monthly financial statements tell you 
  • What does good financial 'hygiene' or discipline mean 
  • What is the right timing for reviewing prepared financial statements 
  • Intro to monthly financial statements (focus on reporting with the cost of goods sold (COGS)) 

 

 

Topic 2: Intro to Profit & Loss (P&L), Balance Sheet (BS), and Chart of Accounts (COA)

  • Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet – introduction and overview of both 
  • Key elements of a Profit and Loss (P&L)  
  • Introduction to two companies - good vs poor P&L with margin analysis view 
  • What is a Chart of Accounts (intro including GL codes) 

 

 

Topic 3: In-depth P&L  

  • A Revenue breakdown – how to better understand your revenues  
  • COGS - Matching Revenue (indirect/direct expenses) 
  • Expenses - why they are different 
  • How to leverage your P&L to make better business decisions 

 

 

Topic 4: Margins and ratios  

  • Gross Margin / Net Income  
  • Gross margins and margin targets 
  • How to calculate and set financial targets 
  • Analysis on a single P&L month 

 

 

Topic 5: TTM (Trailing 12 Months) and Analyzing Trends  

  • Month-over-month comparison (TTM on P&L) 
  • Analyzing the trends – good habits become rituals 
  • How to reduce volatility in your reporting  (prepaid expenses, deposits, amortization, normalizing) 

 

People Management

Leadership Learning Pathway: The Structure of Effective Leadership

Do you want to elevate your leadership acumen and implement a toolset that will propel your business forward?

Effective leaders are good engineers!  This 12-week online series of workshops and working groups will illustrate the structure, process and tools of effective leadership. You will learn how to implement a reliable blueprint in your business that will proactively guide your team to achieve predictable and elevated business results.

 

Registration has now ended. Please check back later for the On-Demand version.

Why Leadership Requires Structure, Process and Tools (Why you need a plan). 

If you don’t lead your team, you will get what you are given - not what you want.

In this session, you will learn about:

  • The key elements for successful leadership in any business:
    • Structure
    • Process
    • Tools 

Create a Focus for the Plan (Making the plan). 

If your team is not focused, you are like a rudderless ship being blown in the wind.

In this session, you will learn the processes required to:

  • Set your strategic direction
  • Identify your business model
  • Create specific goals to focus your entire team

Answering Your Why (Vision), What (Mission) and How (Values) - Making the plan

When making a plan, it is crucial that you are clear on your vision, mission and values.   

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to identify why your company is important and how that motivates your team
  • The importance of living your company values
  • Discover how your company values are used to set your company apart from the competition

Bringing your Foundational Structure to Your Team (Communicate the plan)  

When everyone is accountable, no one is accountable. 

Clear communication creates accountability and provides a framework for success.

In this session, you will learn how to create clarity for your team and empower them through:

  • Leadership tools
  • Organizational charts
  • Job descriptions 

Lead Your Team – Empowerment Through Accountability (Execute the plan)

Leadership involves not only a framework but also someone to implement that framework.  That is what it means to be a leader; you are the only one who can do it. 

In this session, you will learn how to use structure, process and tools to empower your team to execute a plan while:

  • Holding yourself accountable
  • Holding your team accountable

 Re-evaluate the Plan, Assess Performance and Re-focus (Pivot)

The world does not stand still, and neither does your business.  If you don’t continue to revisit your plans, learn from mistakes and adjust, you will not optimize and/or be able to scale your business.

In this session, you will learn to:

  • Evaluate your success
  • Make decisions
  • Pivot where necessary 

General Business

Sales and Marketing

Succession Planning