Partners

What do farmers do in the winter?

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I’m not a farmer, and I don’t come from a family of farmers either. But I think it’s important to
always consider, whatever industry you’re in, what you can learn from other areas of life.
I have been dealing with ‘high seasons’ and ‘low seasons’ for many years. As a letting agent we
were always at our peak between June and October and at our quietest between December and
March.

And in the current shutdown situation, and with the resulting shutdown of most letting activity,
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best take advantage of a low season.

As a letting agent, the sort of questions we tried to answer in slower times were:

  • What can we achieve during this time?
  • What needs fixing before we get busy again?
  • What have we put off in ‘high season’ that can be solved in ‘low season’?
  • What is a good use of people time during a quieter period?
  • As we are now in an unprecedented low season, I’ve been thinking about what other industries
    we can learn from. There is perhaps no industry that is as seasonal as farming, so while it’s not
    in my blood, I’ve been researching and learning from farmers about how to best make use of a
    low season.

    Here are a few of the things that they do in the Winter:

      They farm
      They don’t do a lot of it, as there isn’t much to be done, but they work hard to ensure perfection
      on what little day to day farming is needed.

      Review new research and implement new ideas
      Farmers are always looking to do better on the farm. Winter gives them a perfect opportunity to
      try out new ideas and research ways that can improve their methods.

      Meet with seed and input dealers
      This time of the year is perfect for meetings about new seeds, new implementation techniques,
      new practices and for negotiating with suppliers.

      Clean up the fields
      Weather permitting, the aim is to clean out as much of the farm as possible and make it spick
      and span for when the weather softens and pandemonium returns.

      Clean and fix old equipment or shop for new ones
      Winter provides an ideal time to clean up and fix old equipment or to perhaps seek something
      new that will do a better job.

    Whilst estate agency is in an enforced ‘winter’ perhaps it is time to take a leaf out of farmers’
    book and see what you can do to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed when
    activity resumes.

    So make the most of the opportunities that you do have in the coming weeks, but also think
    about what new ideas could you be implementing. How you can use video tours of a property
    moving forward to improve your lettings success, for instance.

    This is also a key time for you to build and cultivate your relationships with landlords and
    partners. When lockdown measures are lifted, people will want to work with those that they
    trust, and those who have stuck with them in difficult times.

    At flatfair we have been going through this same process, thinking about what we can do better,
    and how we can support our partners. We’re introducing new modern techniques like OKR
    frameworks, and searching for any way in which we can become a better business.
    We are also keen to seek out new people to talk to about our seeds and how our new
    equipment can help their farm flourish.

    One thing these last few weeks has taught us is that community trumps individualism every time
    and we will do all we can to help our partners through these tough times.

    #staysafe #stayhome.

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