Mar 29th 2020 Back to latest news
Farmer Palmer’s Directors Sandra & Phillip Palmer have some experience of how to save and support their award-winning visitor attraction in the time of crisis.
Looking back to 2001 when Foot & Mouth was infecting cows in the UK Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park had to think on the hoof. Phillip and I had to make key decisions to ensure the future of Farmer Palmer’s. We had to:
Spring is magical on farms. With baby lambs bouncing around in the fields. Beautiful goat kids tearing around and every animal enjoying the sun on their backs after what has been a really WET winter. Easter is normally one of our busiest times of the year. We are now thinking about May!
As the world watched China we could feel the net tightening. The PM’s announcement, 2 days before Mother’s Day to close all tourist attractions was unthinkable. Something that only normally turns up on a SWOT analysis.
Brother and Sister team who run Farmer Palmer’s met at 6pm and Sandra said: “It’s got to be done”.
Friday Night we told our team and set about updating the website and social media. We had birthday parties to cancel and a plan for the team to put in place.
Considering it was such a sunny weekend and people had not mastered the art of social distancing we watched sadly.
The UK has transformed beyond recognition. And most of us haven’t had time to stop and take stock or really mourn the temporary loss of the businesses we have worked so hard to create. The businesses we are all so incredibly proud of.
Our team have all been successfully furloughed which means we look after our amazing team, they get to enjoy the sunshine, and the Government help us to give them 80% of their wages. That is a huge weight off our minds.
“In times of uncertainty, when things have no clear end, similarly, all the information is new to you and changing, it requires great communication and effective management.
Listen, learn, plan and prepare. Then take decisive action. The things we do know are ahead we can get ready for and meet it head-on.
Key in all of this is the ability to look to the horizon and into next year. Above all, step back for a moment. Open your thoughts to creative ideas rather than focus on the immediate moment. For instance, modifying, or even writing, your 12 – 24 business plan. Start with a broad, holistic view of both challenges and opportunities.
This may include stripping out the things that you thought were essential and now realise are not. By delegating to key team members you can focus on what is really important to your business. For example, how has your marketing changed?
From this, your goal is to seek order and clarity. As a result, you may find you have improved communication, guidelines, and secured a better future for yourself.”
We are moulding and shaping a business plan which covers Annual Passes, Birthday Party Re-booking, Bump to Baby Passes, Vouchers, Free Family Entry Tickets. We are so grateful that the UK Government is announcing grants that will really help. Some are immediately accessible. Some are complex. Keeping up with all of the information is exhausting, our team do a great job!
Obviously, the time delay in the grant will cause concern amongst many businesses
Source of Links: Sage Who Have Been Really Helpful
As I reflect on the month I am thankful the sun is shining, the lambs are bleating and I know the CBILS form is a tricky critter!
Time to spring clean the beast that is our businesses guys!
Simplification will prevail over – “Because we have always done it like this”
This is an opportunity to become leaner and keener ready for “On the other side”
Reflect and Think
Pause and Reboot
What do you plan to change?
Think about which areas are providing the best value to your customers. Can you improve that offering? Have you learned a new skill? I have learned Zoom! Are you re-opening press release written? I know I am busy writing the blogs about the Palmer family history you have asked for.
Can you empty those emails from 2016 or archive folders? Does your website need a tidy up for broken links etc? Are the images you are holding on your computers really marketing quality or just taking up space? Are the jobs you had in the pipeline now really so important after all?
Blue Sky Thinking and Light Bulb Moments!
On a brighter note, we came up with a new idea. When I was having to speak to some mums and refund money for Birthdays an idea sprung into my head. A real light bulb moment.
Have you started taking videos related to your business? Nature is huge for us. Sharing the countryside by photo. Many people will find new job roles as they cast aside the old way of working.
We are loving recording happy birthday video messages to all of the children who sadly had their parties cancelled in March, April, or May. The fun thing about this is we are getting lots of other parents asking us for birthday messages for their children. We can definitely do photo shout outs. Please email email@example.com for this with at least 5 days’ notice.
The animals joined in and it has received such a great response!
Saving our Business During Coronavirus – written by Sandra Palmer-Snellin March 2020. Updated April 20
“Not a theme park but a wonderful family day out at a lovely Farm!”W Beth
"Good place for the family lots to see and do. Clean and staff helpful. Could spend a day there with the kids and have a great time. Would recommend to everyone."Regular visitor
"An absolutely lovely farm, with the most perfect helpful, knowledgeable staff. We had an amazing day."Regular visitor
Allergy Awareness "We come and visit you every week and I was so pleased to see the "no food" notice up in the soft play areas. My son is anaphylaxis to dairy and peanuts. Thank you for raising awareness and helping my son to not be at risk!"Allergy Awareness
"The imagination and creativity with the play areas is just perfect. Today we fed the lambs and it was such a special moment, I've always wanted to do it and loved it!"Local Visitor
"The passes are fantastic value for money and whenever we come to Farmer Palmer's my children never want to leave. Staff are always very friendly and helpful."Annual Pass Holder
"Even when it's pouring down, FP is a great place to come. Plenty to do under shelter and who doesn't love to put their wellies on and splash in muddy puddles! And for the mums and dads, the cake is amazing :)"Regular visitor
"A rare treat, a full day out and change!"Value for money!
"We keep coming back with our grandchildren"Grandparent’s view
"We are big fans!! My little boy wakes up most mornings asking if he can go to Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park!!"Winning testimonial
"It was amazing. From organisation to the staff, who were fantastic, we were very pleased"Team Farmer Palmer Fan
"Great family day out. Highly recommended!"Holiday visitor to Dorset
"I can't recommend this wonderful place enough. It's an amazing little piece of paradise in Dorset."Lissie Marshall