Posted by: A Part of the Solution | March 15, 2010

There’s Nothing Like a Deadline

I like to work to a deadline. I like to get a concrete chore-list knocked out in good time for something specific to occur. I do my most productive, most focused and most logistically meaningful work when there’s a clock ticking down somewhere.

Last Friday, as I was prepping up the house for a passel of weekend visitors, I had a call from the director of the local Chamber of Commerce. The Bedford County Chamber of Commerce maintains a good website. And it puts out a nice annual directory. And it has links to other general information sites concerning the county.

I decided, since the B&B has to hit the ground running in order to give the CSA side of our business time to grow into its production capacity, to become a joiner for at least this first year of operations. The Chamber seemed like a good first step.

The staff is small enough we qualified for an annual membership fee under two hundred dollars. That was a plus. And already, our profile is gaining some stature in the business community. Largely because the call I took on Friday was for an offer to host the monthly After Hours get together for the Chamber, here at the farm.

We’ve known all along how little time the farm manager has to give to my end of the endeavor. Once the weather softens, he’ll be on that fourteen-hour day, six and seven days a week, so characteristic of farming. So I’d made the do-list of the tasks and fixes which I believed needed to happen before the B&B went ‘live’ two weeks ago.

I’m in discussion with a website design team to get me the right product with the right functions operating in the next few weeks. I’ve even worked like a demon to arrange to have the rest of our stuff arrive up here–prematurely by some measures: just in time if the phone call from Kelly at the Chamber is any indicator.

Now we get down to brass tacks. Now we create hot do-lists and check the items off after careful assessment of their completion. Now we actively twist the arms of our friends and acquaintances to squeeze a few more favors out here and a few more family-priced deals out there.

We wanted to be open to the public for B&B purposes by the beginning of May. We were planning on having jumped through all the hoops with lawyers and Labor and Occupancy inspections before then. We were ready, willing and able to have smoothed out the most obvious barriers to success against that time.

Fifty to one hundred members of the Chamber of Commerce are invited over for drinks and hors d’oeuvres on Earth Day (nice tie-in with our eco-tourism/sustainable agriculture message). Now we’re in for a penny and for the whole pound.

I don’t think we’re going to draw top numbers to our After Hours event. We’re off the beaten path for folks doing business up along the main roads. But it will be fun to stretch the limits of local business imagination with what we do have.

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