If you read this column regularly, you know that there are a couple of things I mention a lot: good planning is crucial, and it’s important to schedule financial checkups in the same way you schedule physical ones. With that being said, how’s your vision?
Vision, in a business-planning sense, is the difference between an organized agribusiness owner and a disorganized one. It is the difference between a farm that thrives for generations and one that struggles more and more with each passing year. So how can you help your agribusiness thrive?
In life, as in business, people with written plans accomplish their goals far more effectively than people who fail to write them down – not because putting words on paper guarantees a positive outcome, but because people who take the time to draw themselves a road map have something to follow; and people who set off without direction tend to take wrong turns.
If you aren’t a planner, please know that you are not alone. Eighty percent of people don’t have any distinguishable goals; 16 percent of people have them but don’t write them down; and only 4 percent of people have written goals that are part of a monitored plan. Someone wise once said that a goal without a plan is just a dream. Here are some reasons why our dreams often don’t come true:
• We work in our business more than we work on it.
• We don’t have financial records that can help us learn from our past.
• We focus narrowly on paying no tax, and we cost ourselves in
• We draw money for ourselves at levels that harm the operation.
• We are poor managers of time.
• We don’t keep up with changing technologies or farming practices.
• We don’t bring the next generation in early enough.
• We don’t define roles for family members involved in the
By sitting down and thinking, intentionally and critically, about where you want your farm to be in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years, you will be forced to think through the obstacles you’ll face along the way. When you identify those obstacles in advance, you will think about finding the right advisors to help, you will communicate better with important people in your life, and will start early to develop solutions.
As you develop a business plan, allocate appropriate amounts of your profit to each area of the plan, and re-check your vision periodically. Written goals are to your business vision what a good pair of eyeglasses are to your physical vision – a way to sharpen focus and have confidence in what you see. As good glasses need replaced over time, planning also is a process of constant evaluation. Why not start now?