Business advocates agree there are significant benefits to establishing, nurturing and utilizing primary resources tied to your operation. You might think of them as “Plan B,” but in reality, primary resources, both people and pathways, represent an important business strategy.

There are times when owners, managers, employees and family members are too engaged with situations to provide assistance from a different perspective or a different line of operation. When those fluctuations occur, the contacts you have established become an important lifeline.

People, as primary resources, possess special talents, knowledge and influence which help you navigate external channels to keep your business on track. Think of people you come in contact with already: the parts person at your equipment dealership, wholesale representative, risk manager, media contact or regulatory officer. These people represent outside problem solvers, who, in times of immediate need, can become serious problem solvers and consultants. Instead of grappling at the last minute, establishing and nurturing primary resource people is something you should be doing on a regular basis. When you need them, they may be just a call or text away.

Nurturing is the operative word here. You cannot just identify a resource person, and knowing them on a casual basis, expect them to come to your aid. First, think of those people within your business sphere who make a difference in what you do and how you do it. Then begin the process of building those relationships – invite them to tour your operation and keep them in the loop by sending them updates about your business. It isn’t as once-sided as you may think – media contacts may find good story ideas about your business or the industry, or wholesalers, who know your business well, may help establish wider sales contacts. Craft brewers and winery owners who establish relationships with local tourism and economic development offices often benefit through planned special events and media tours. People resource relationships must be based on honesty and integrity. You cannot make claims about your product or service which are false or misleading – that is a sure way to destroy the resource connection. Likewise, identify resource people who you know will uphold the best of mutual interests.

Resource pathways are channels of assistance which represent natural extensions of your work – trade associations, industry groups, farm associations, departments of agriculture and local vendors, to mention just a few. While you may work with these resources often, you may not see or utilize them as the important avenues of assistance they can become. They can offer significant information and assistance about regulatory situations, marketing and trade opportunities, research and development important to your industry and act as knowledge experts as well.

Utilizing primary resources should be an active part of a business plan, not just a static contact list. Interact with your resources as often as possible to keep the relationship fresh and vibrant. You may think this is time consuming, but networking is vital in today’s market. There are influencers out there who can help you, but they must know and trust you to represent you well.

Ask other producers within your industry for possible resource suggestions and begin to establish contact with these people and groups. Along the way, you will undoubtedly find more resources than you thought of. One of the definitions of resource is “a stock or supply of assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively,” and one could add “successfully.”

The above information is for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business and legal counseling.