In my last blog, I gave you some reasons why you should have a business plan.
It is great to develop a business plan, but the power of it comes from reviewing it.
Don’t just create a plan and put it on the shelf. The whole point of it is to PLAN the steps you are going to take to improve your business. How are you supposed to know where you have been, where you are going and what you have achieved if your plan is shoved in the bottom draw!?
Something else I have learned is that a business plan is not a static document – it should be something that is regularly reviewed where actions are ticked off and new goals and actions are developed. It should represent the business in its current form and reflect where you want to be in the future – whether it be 3 months or 5 years. The plan should also consider all aspects including family dynamics and contingency plans for when sh*t hits the fan.
If you have the discipline to sit down regularly with your business partner/s and review your plan, I take my hat off to you. But I certainly do not! While I know it is a priority and helps me and our business, the realities of life just get in the way!
To overcome our lack of discipline in reviewing our business and setting goals, we have bought in a farm management advisor and consider them to be a core part of our team.
Those of us that sow a crop, we have an agronomist that we rely on for advice. Those of us that have livestock may (read: should) have a local vet we can call on for assistance. We all have a bank manager to review our finances (whether you have a good relationship with your bank manager or not is another thing… and I will leave that topic alone) I believe we need to make having a farm business advisor the norm, because I believe having independent advice is one thing that differentiates businesses from being good to being great.
Yes, this is a bit of a plug for all those farm business advisors out there (I will collect my commission later!) but our business has gained so much, and I have gained so much personally, by working one-on-one with someone that has expertise and is one step removed from the daily grind to help us push our business in the direction we want to go in. This has been particularly useful when navigating how to work our way out of drought. And there is not enough space in this blog post to talk about the business advisor’s role in succession planning… I will save that for another post.
So, as mentioned in my previous post, if you don’t have a plan – get one! Sign up for a program aimed at supporting farmers in developing a business plan or engage a consultant or advisor to develop one for you. For those that already have one, this is your reminder to whip it out and review it!
Once you have one, review it! And get someone in to help, even if it is just to hold you accountable!