TRANSFORMING your businessBEGINS WITHTRANSFORMING yourself
Transforming your ranch into an effective business involves changes in land management, animal husbandry, money management and in the way you interact with the people in your business. But the biggest change isn’t to the land or the animals. The biggest change is in you.
IT ISN’T SUSTAINABLEif it isn’t PROFITABLE
Profit is to business as breathing is to life. A ranch that doesn’t produce an economic profit isn’t a business. It’s a hobby … an expensive hobby.
FOCUS ON effectivenessNOT EFFICIENCY
Efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing. It doesn’t do any good to do things right if you are doing the wrong things! If something is efficient, but not effective, stop it immediately!
GET IN SYNCHwith nature
Most ranch businesses are structured to fight nature. That’s expensive and exhausting. Businesses that match enterprises and production schedules to nature’s cycles are more profitable, less work and more fun!
YOU DON’T GET harmonyWHEN EVERYONE SINGS THE SAME NOTE
In any business, especially family businesses, there are bound to be differences of opinion. Our decisions are improved when we bring different perspectives and ideas to the table and engage in constructive debate, as long as we agree that, at the end of the day, we all ride for the brand.
WORK LESSand make more
Unsustainable effort is unsustainable. Period! Planning is the key to simplifying enterprises, increasing profit and reducing labor.
RANCHINGis a business
We often act as though we have a choice between ranching as a lifestyle or a business. The lifestyle of ranching improves when the ranch is a successful business first.
WORK ON YOUR BUSINESStwo mornings a week
It’s not enough to work IN your business, you must work ON your business.
WEALTHY on the balance sheet& BROKE AT THE BANK
The misallocation of capital is the biggest financial problem in ranching. At the Ranching For Profit School you’ll learn how to capitalize and concessionize assets to increase profit and improve the financial health of your business.
RANCHING FOR PROFITis NOT an oxymoron
Many ranchers seem to think that profit is dictated by prices and weather…two things beyond our direct control. Ranching for Profit graduates prove every year that the key to profit is management.
Long periods of time off let you test people for the next role.
The majority of small business owners don’t have a succession plan, according to several surveys. While the exact percentage moves around with each survey, it’s almost always above 51 percent, and for a variety of reasons. Chief among them always seems to be that leaders are too busy doing other things to think about it.
Surprisingly, there’s a way to solve both problems at once: take a sabbatical.
Recent research, and the experience of companies from McDonald’s to Intel to the Motley Fool, has found that time off can be used to help stress test the organizational chart and experiment with potential leaders in interim roles.
In one study, researchers surveyed 61 leaders at five different nonprofit organizations with sabbatical programs. Each organization had slightly different requirements, but all required at least 3 months off and discouraged executives from visiting the office during the sabbatical period.
The researchers found the majority of leaders surveyed said that the interim leaders (those who filled in for them during their leave) were more effective and responsible when the sabbatees returned. Many even reported those interim leaders continuing some responsibilities and making the overall leader-subordinate relationship more collaborative. Some organizations even reported feeling much more confident in their succession planning since the interim leaders were able to try out the role and assess if they were qualified and, if not, what development opportunities were still needed. One firm was conducting a national search for a future executive director but ended up hiring the deputy director because she had done so well as the interim leader.
While the research on sabbaticals in the workplace is relatively new, sabbaticals themselves are not. McDonald’s has had a sabbatical program in place for their executives for several years. Many technology companies like Intel and Adobe offer them.
At the very least, having people rotate out for an extended period of time allows organizations to stress test their organizational chart. It gives potential leaders a chance to try out for the next role and it gives senior leaders a chance to see what happens when key people are suddenly not a part of the company anymore. That’s why Motley Fool has run a surprise vacation program for several years. Employees names are chosen at random and given two weeks paid vacation, but there’s a catch: it must be taken within the next four weeks. The idea is to make sure no single employee is so critical that the company falls apart.
You may not ever create a formal succession plan, with developmental goals for future leaders and a set timeline. However, by encouraging yourself and your employees to take time away…you’ll be helping prepare everyone for any sudden departures. For these and a lot of other reasons time off in the form of sabbaticals really pays off.
When you’re very good at “n”, there are probably thousands of people who are also good at “n”. But if you are good at “n + 1”, that number is far smaller.
And if you are able to add one (+1) to the equation – it increases your ability to withstand anything that comes your way in Life.
Not only do you have the ability to withstand life’s events – when you add that +1 it increases your chances to build upon your current situation.
An example of this would be your hours getting cut at work – by having that +1 you are now able to make up for the loss and find new opportunities to expand and grow. You have now made yourself indispensable.
Indispensable not only to yourself but to any and all persons around you. With your increased skill set your hours may never be cut in the first place.
By Charlotte Smith / September 10, 2018 /
You’re Not Selling What You Think You’re Selling…
Most farmers think they sell grass-fed beef, or raw milk, organic chicken or fresh flowers.
But when it comes to marketing, that language won’t help you stand out.
It looks just like your competitor!
What you’re selling is a solution to your customer’s problems.
You’re selling ‘that thing’ your product does for your customers — the reason they buy it.
If I Google “Grass-fed beef near me” I find things like this:
“Beef — 100% grass fed and grass finished. Versatile Dexter breed. Call to purchase”
…or, “We raise our cattle on pasture that’s been fortified with minerals that most soil is lacking. The cows are rotated to fresh grass every 24 hours and they are never fed any grain.”
Unless you’re a farmer and you know this lingo, your eyes have glazed over and you’re ready to click on Facebook for something more entertaining.
But you stumble on my farm’s website and read through everything, finally landing on my Products Page where I describe what I sell.
You read, “Ground Beef: Easily the most versatile product we provide — you should always have plenty to spare for those nights you feel totally and completely uninspired and have no intention of getting there. Grill it, loaf it, fry it up with some kale and sweet potatoes for the ultimate Paleo dinner without much effort.”
And then, “Pastured Chicken: The ultimate in buying bulk, one of our chickens will feed your family for two nights with the effort of only one. Roasted chicken the first night, lettuce wraps, enchiladas, or soup the next. You’ll have enough time on the “leftovers” day to schedule that pedicure your toes are desperate for. And the family still eats!”
In this case, I’m NOT selling Ground Beef and Pastured Chicken.
I’m selling the solution my product offers: quick, easy, healthy meals that any busy mom can make.
How do I know what my product does for people?
I ask them!
When I ask you what you sell, I don’t want to hear that you sell grass-fed beef. I can run down the street to my local grocery store and find grass fed beef, so there’s no reason to drive out of my way to buy from you.
But if you sell a way to get a super healthy dinner on the table fast…or a way to feed their adopted baby formula when they can’t nurse… you are selling so much more than the products you raise.
You are selling a solution your customers are desperate for!
Since this may be a new concept for you, I’ve created an email template for you with the exact questions you can ask your customers to help you discover what your products do for them. Once they respond, you can use their words to market your product to all your other ideal customers.
You can download the email template here. You’ll also find a video I did about how other farmers are using this knowledge and language in their marketing and how they’re attracting new customers because of it. The video is only available for a limited time, so if you’re interested be sure to head on over!
In today’s world, where everyone is looking online for solutions to their struggles and help reaching their goals, you need to make sure your words on your website, your Facebook page, and your Instagram posts, are all connecting with your potential customers in this way.
So, if you’re ready to stand out from every other farmer, grocery store and home delivery meal service, check out the email template and video, and let’s get started.
As always, thanks for being here
Cow Herd Inventory Management By Wally Olson
The need of inventory management in the cow herd is that not all cows have the same value. What is the market telling me today?
Three-year-old cows 1300# 8 months bred @ $1700 Hi-Quality 4-5-year-old cows 1000-1100# 6 months bred @$1200 Avg-Quality 6-8-year-old cows 1000-1100# 6 months bred @$750 Avg -Quality 1300# 1100# True Value of a Cow- Her Cull Price @ $60 $780 $660 The calf Value 500# @$150 $750 $750 < Carry Costs> $40 per month $320 $400 Base value of a Cow $1210 $1010
What this tells me is the 3-year-old cow will have $920 in depreciation coming in her life. It could be the next preg check or many calves down the road. What the market is telling me that the 4-5-year-old cow could have $450 next year. If calves are selling for $750 the calf that this cow produces has a value of only $300 after paying the loss in the cow value. If it costs $480 to carry a cow you are down $180. The cow that I’m buying is the 6-8 year old cow .If she has made it to six the odds are she will make 10 or 12
She is will only have $90 in depreciation to be covered by 5 calves or $18 She has a base value of $1010 and cost of $750 .Her value to me is $1010 – $750(Her Cost)-$18 (Depreciation)=$260. This is a 32% return on my investment, which I can live with.
The market may be telling you to keep the heifer calf and sell the 3-year-old cow In the 6-8-year-old cow, it is telling me to keep the cow and sell the heifer calf. Look at the relationships of the classes and adjust your inventory. Only deal with today.
I could hear her frustration and feel the pain as I read the lengthy email describing an all too common scenario for farm families today. The aging parents have been pressured to be “fair” to the siblings who don’t farm who have noticed that farmland values have increased significantly. They would like to have a piece of that valuable farmland as part of their inheritance. Unfortunately, the older folks have not planned well financially to creatively take care of gifts to the non-farm heirs. They neglected many warnings from lenders and financial planners to build up what tax and estate specialist Merle Good calls “a personal wealth bubble.” The farming child wants to keep the farmland intact and needs a decent base for a critical mass to create revenue. He or she may want to own all the land ideally, yet in reality, ownership may have to be shared with siblings.
Do You, as the Farmer, Want to do Farm Business with Your Siblings?
If the answer is no, then there are some courageous conversations needed immediately.
The parents are well into their eighties and scared that a family fight is brewing. They have avoided conflict at all costs when they should be embracing a solution for conflict resolution.
Pouring money into stocks, other real estates, and mutual funds did not appeal to them when they were more worried about how to meet the operating line payments and the mortgage payments during the tough years of the eighties and nineties. Now they are trying to piece together an estate plan with accountants who want them to be tax efficient and use up their capital gains exemptions, and with lawyers who are good at writing agreements. The player missing on this estate planning team is the referee. That would be the mediator, or farm family coach, who is willing to dive into the tough issues of asking each family member this key question:
What Does Fairness Look Like to You Considering that One Sibling Needs Access to All the Farm Land to Keep the Farm Legacy Viable?
Merle Good would encourage long-term rental agreements for the farmer to access rented land from non-farm siblings who hold the title. The sibling may choose to never sell their gifted land to the farming sibling, or may ask for the Fair market value, rather that FFP (Fair Family Price). I do not see this happening too often in 2016. If quarter sections are selling for over $400,000 per quarter, it may never pencil out for the next generation who has a passion to farm. In 2009, we chose to gift a $100,000 quarter to our son so that he could leverage that equity to buy another quarter. We had planned to gift it to him in the future, but his need for equity trumped our estate plan, and it has worked out well. Six years later, our son’s second quarter has doubled in value; that is why there are fights over land.
How Can You Solve This Expensive Farm Land Dilemma?
1. Recognize That a Transparent Conversation With All Your Heirs is Long Overdue
Consider asking each adult child what they expect from your estate, and what fairness looks like to them. You might be shocked at the answers. I have heard from emotionally intelligent adults who simply say, “Mom and Dad deserve to live well now and enjoy the fruit of their labor. I am economically secure; the land needs to stay with the farming partners. Any gift that I receive will be a bonus. I am not expecting to inherit any land.” (Yes, I can hear you silently saying, “I wish that kid was mine!”)
2. Be Prepared to Discuss FFP Land Rental Agreements
Alternatively, the non-farm heir may expect to have their name on the title of land but is very prepared to have an FFP land rental agreement for 15 years or more with the farming sibling. This person puts a high value on the legacy of lasting respectful family relationships and expects to be welcomed back to the farm for gatherings with no tension over the farm’s land deals. Options may be given for the future purchase of that land by the farmer, but not necessarily expected.
3. Call a Facilitated Family Meeting
Call a facilitated family meeting with your trusted advisors as the leaders of the meeting. Farm family coaches may team at that meeting with the lawyer and accountant so that everyone hears the implications of each scenario presented at the meeting. Professional advisors have seen creative solutions and know what a good fit looks like for your farm family. Use this meeting as a discovery process, and don’t get locked into one way of creating solutions.
Be sure that spouses and “almost married” partners are at the meeting so that nothing gets lost in translation. Everyone will understand your intent, your fears, and your vision for a legacy for the family and the farm. Accept the fact that feelings will create tears, so have a tissue box ready, and be willing to sit through deep emotions.
4. Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Be clear with the aid of your financial planner that your income stream is secure until you are 102. Most farming successors will ensure that the parents are financially taken care of, regardless of how tight the margins on the farm may be.
Non-farm heirs can also contribute to caring for parents, and give gifts of time or resources. If the family can freely talk about what each family unit needs for family living and debt servicing, you might be surprised at how well siblings are actually doing. I am saddened by a grumpy father-in-law who assumes his daughter-in-law is not pulling her weight with income generation, yet she is the real support for the family’s living needs with a six-figure income!
5. It is Not the Responsibility of Parents to Make Sure That All of Their Children are Economically Equal
I know young entrepreneurs who are fiercely driven to make financial gains on their own without heaps of financial gifts from their parents. There is some self-respect for those who chose to make their own way and not rely on parental financial assistance. It is 2016, and some adult children are already wealthier than their parents according to their net worth statements. Money does not equal love. Perhaps the best gift you can give your adult children and grandchildren is more access to you and your time.
Time is your most valuable asset–you need to prioritize how you spend it.
It’s much easier to talk about the weather, sports, and celebrities than your fear of mortality.
Unfortunately, the more time you spend pretending that ultimate truths don’t exist, the more time you waste not being your authentic self and getting the most out of every precious second.
Time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Allow the list below to ignite the spark of motivation you need to make better use of the time you have on this planet.
Sometimes we need to head into the storm to appreciate the light and have a renewed passion for the beauty of life.
Here are 20 brutal truths that every single person needs to hear.
1. You’re going to die and you have no idea when.
Stop pretending that you’re invincible. Acknowledge the fact of your own mortality, and then start structuring your life in a more meaningful way.
2. Everyone you love is going to die, and you don’t know when.
This truth may be saddening at first, but it also gives you permission to make amends with past difficulties and re-establish meaningful relationships with important figures in your life.
3. Your material wealth won’t make you a better or happier person.
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who achieves his or her materialistic dreams, money only amplifies that which was already present.
4. Your obsession with finding happiness is what prevents its attainment.
Happiness is always present in your life–it’s just a matter of connecting to it and allowing it to flow through you that’s challenging.
5. Donating money does less than donating time.
Giving your time is a way to change your perception and create a memory for yourself and others that will last forever.
6. You can’t make everyone happy, and if you try, you’ll lose yourself.
Stop trying to please, and start respecting your values, principles, and autonomy.
7. You can’t be perfect, and holding yourself to unrealistic standards creates suffering.
Many perfectionists have unrelenting inner critics that are full of so much rage and self-hate that it tears them apart inside. Fight back against that negative voice, amplify your intuition, and start challenging your unrealistic standards.
8. Your thoughts are less important than your feelings and your feelings need acknowledgment.
Intellectually thinking through your problems isn’t as helpful as expressing the feelings that create your difficulties in the first place.
9. Your actions speak louder than your words, so you need to hold yourself accountable.
Be responsible and take actions that increase positivity and love.
10. Your achievements and successes won’t matter on your death bed.
When your time has come to transition from this reality, you won’t be thinking about that raise; you’ll be thinking about the relationships you’ve made–so start acting accordingly.
11. Your talent means nothing without consistent effort and practice.
Some of the most talented people in the world never move out from their parent’s basement.
12. Now is the only time that matters, so stop wasting it by ruminating on the past or planning the future.
You can’t control the past, and you can’t predict the future, and trying to do so only removes you from the one thing you can control–the present.
13. Nobody cares how difficult your life is, and you are the author of your life’s story.
Stop looking for people to give you sympathy and start creating the life story you want to read.
14. Your words are more important than your thoughts, so start inspiring people.
Words have the power to oppress, hurt, and shame, but they also have the power to liberate and inspire–start using them more wisely.
15. Investing in yourself isn’t selfish. It’s the most worthwhile thing you can do.
You have to put on your own gas mask to save the person sitting right next to you.
16. It’s not what happens, it’s how you react that matters.
Train yourself to respond in a way that leads to better outcomes.
17. You need to improve your relationships to have lasting happiness.
Relationships have a greater impact on your wellbeing and happiness than your income or your occupation, so make sure you give your relationship the attention and work it deserves.
18. Pleasure is temporary and fleeting, so stop chasing fireworks and start building a constellation.
Don’t settle for an ego boost right now when you can delay gratification and experience deeper fulfillment.
19. Your ambition means nothing without execution–it’s time to put in the work.
If you want to change the world, then go out there and do it!
20. Time is your most valuable asset–you need to prioritize how you spend it.
You have the power and responsibility to decide what you do with the time you have, so choose wisely.