Where do you really want to be in five years? In ten years? How can you get there? What will it take to succeed in reaching those goals?
- Who will take over your business when you are gone? Do you have a plan already in place? If not, why not develop one? Several years ago, I witnessed a sad but true situation where one person controlled all aspects of his business operation and, frankly, made all the decisions. One day, at the ripe old age of 42, this person was killed in an unfortunate auto accident. The result was absolute chaos around his business. No one else was trained to make effective decisions, and there was no succession plan in place. It was a financial nightmare for his family. It all could have been avoided with a minimal amount of planning.
- Have you implemented a “milk marketing plan” yet? If no, why not? Are you using put options to establish a floor under your milk price? Likewise, are you working closely with your nutritionist and others to lock in the best prices on feed at all times, not just now because they have been so high? Do you truly know your breakeven points on milk price and feed cost? You need to know these!
- Have a plan on everything you do. Follow the industry reports, such as the McKinsey & Company reports on the California Dairy Industry. Can we be assured of always making the correct decisions? Of course not. However, your odds of success will be greatly improved if you think about and develop your own plan for your business, particularly in comparison to letting the industry or others decide for you. Former Notre Dame Football coach Charlie Weis, upon being hired to lead a team that had win-loss records of 5-7 and 6-6 the past two seasons and hearing the players complain about the school’s administration, replied as follows: “Quit blaming everyone but yourselves for the reason there was a coaching change. There was a coaching change because you’re 6-6 and last year you were 5-7. There was a coaching change because you guys didn’t live up to the expectations around Notre Dame…Why don’t you just look in the mirror? Maybe the reason why you were 5-7 and 6-6 is that you’ve played crummy. Just maybe.” He certainly got their full attention. He claimed that you could have heard a pin drop. His message had come through loud and clear: “No excuses!”
- Keep this in mind as you move forward. Realize that, as an industry and as individual participants, we have not always played by the best laid game plan. Reset your course today and join me in accepting “No Excuses!”
- Let’s follow a better plan, starting today!