Many small goals add up to long-term plan

BUSINESS BUZZ: Many small goals gather together to reach long-term plan


BUSINESS BUZZ: Forward planning in farming has always been important.

Just like small amounts can add up over time, small achievements can snowball into a long-held goal. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Just like small amounts can add up over time, small achievements can snowball into a long-held goal. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Forward planning in farming has always been important.

It's very rare to find a farming business that doesn't plan its cropping rotations or livestock breeding program well in advance.

Another immediate area that will need extensive planning is the procurement of inputs, predominantly chemical and fertiliser.

As everyone knows the goal posts have significantly shifted in relation to pricing and availability of farm inputs.

It appears this situation will continue for the foreseeable future.

While some people will concentrate on the price of a certain product, this needs to be put in context.

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Calculations need to be done on what exactly this extra outlay means to overall profitability.

The old maxim of yield and price being the main profit drivers, still holds true.

Knowing your breakeven point is more important than ever.

Perhaps the silver lining is that the scene is set to undertake comprehensive planning in lots of different areas, not just production related.

There may be impetus to look at other areas, such as one's health and wellbeing, and what you're really trying to achieve in life.

A good place to start is to think about your core values - these are different for everyone. Examples may include, family, honesty, integrity or health.

This list is not exhaustive, and whatever resonates with you will be right.

Another key step is to determine your vision. This needs to be a big picture view of what you want to achieve. It may include business goals, and also activities outside the core farming business.

A series of goals along the way will be a good measuring stick to see how you are tracking. There are many ways of doing this, including 10-year, three-year and one-year goals.

While all of these medium and long-term goals are important, they are useless unless you have a plan to achieve them - this is where the rubber hits the road.

As everyone knows - or should know - it's important to do tasks each day that, all piled on top of each other, get you to where you want to go.

There is a movement towards robust quarterly planning and being held accountable to the plan. I am firmly in this camp.

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There are a lot of quarters in 10 years, and every single one of them will make a large difference in the long-run.

Budget to actuals are a big part of the quarterly planning process. It's much easier to gloss over annual results - it's more difficult to account to someone each quarter, asking questions.

This process is also where the very short-term milestones and agreed timelines can be measured. These may include quite simple tasks, such as negotiating interest rates with your bank.

Getting on top of the small tasks will give you a sense of achievement, and the bigger tasks will seem much more manageable.

As a famous United States Navy Admiral once said, "start the day by making your bed".

The small things count.

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