You’ve probably heard about the Harvard Business School study regarding the value of having clearly defined goals and a written plan designed to achieve them. 3% of the study’s respondents had a “written, specific plan” for what they wanted to achieve. 10% of them had a “general set of goals” with no definite plan. 60% of those surveyed had only “survival goals” that would allow them to live day to day. The final 27% had “no goals”. When the study was completed 20 years later, people in the 3% group with definite written goals had out produced the 10% group by over ten times. In fact, this 3% group had amassed greater wealth in those 20 years than the entire other 97% of those surveyed!
Am I advocating that you should simply do this planning to obtain more money? No. Maybe your goal is to give more money to charity. Whatever it is, write it down. A written plan will provide you with a tool against which you can compare your actual results! Please allow me to outline several other good reasons to consider developing a written strategic plan for your dairy business.
First, the process of developing your plan forces you to focus on what you and your team want for your business. I am confident that you will be much more pleased with the results you obtain if they are in line with what you desire: Think it through and write it down.
Second, a written plan will help to keep you on track because it will serve as a guide for you to purchase everything you need to meet your business objectives and it can keep you from buying anything you don’t need to succeed. This is important in the area of large capital expenditures. Invest only in the expenditures you truly need. Let someone else purchase items not necessary to you meeting your goals.
Having a written plan doesn’t mean you can never deviate form it. Like any good system of guidance, it is intended to keep you on track. It must also be flexible, allowing you to adjust to rapidly changing business environments, milk markets, or feed prices. This is particularly true as we enjoy ever improving technology, which gives us more accurate, up to date information, equipping us to make better decisions.
One final reason to include a written plan in your quest to reach the objectives you’ve set for your dairy business is that you are busy. You need a plan to stay on track. Your written plan will provide you with the guidance system you need to ask, “How will this impact us getting closer to our goals?” Being prepared to answer a question like this one will allow you to save time, save money, and avoid headaches!