Recently, I was talking to a colleague of mine who does nutrition work for many of my Clients. He pointed out that my Clients were operating at such low levels of debt, it must be easier for them.
After thanking him for his compliment about how I had helped them achieve these lower debt levels (and, believe me, this is not true for all of them), I started to think about some of the objectives we had set and accomplished with these Clients during the past ten years. He was correct in his statement, but I believe that everything we achieved could be done at any dairy or, for that matter, any business at all.
Before you tell me that this cannot be done on your operation, allow me to explain that I cannot remember any case where this was completed with ease. Every one of these Clients had challenges to overcome and required a solid game plan! We became focused after the dramatic downturn in 2006. I recall getting to the end of 2006 and saying to my wife, “Man, I hope we never have another year like this one. I am exhausted!”
Little did I know what was waiting around the corner in 2009 with its rock bottom milk prices or in 2008, 2012 and 2013 with record high feed prices… So, clearly we lost some ground (or made progress at a slower rate) in those years, but we still pushed forward.
I believe the keys include:
1.) Develop a plan and have clearly established Goals to shoot for in terms of profitability and debt reduction.
2.) Make sure your debt structure allows you maximize your cash flows and still reduces your overall debt levels each year.
3.) Don’t borrow for anything unless you need to, but when you do, shop for the best rates and repayment plan.
4.) Monitor your results every month. This is the only way you can stay on track and ensure that you reach your objectives.
5.) Push yourself and increase your goal levels every year, whether it is on profitability, debt reduction or both.
6.) Never give up. As Winston Churchill stated, “Never, never, never give up.” That, my friends, is a definite!
7.) When you reach your Goals, as I am confident you will, celebrate with your Team. Remember, they helped you get there.
8.) Finally, if you get off track, get some qualified assistance. You gain absolutely nothing by claiming that you never needed anyone’s help to get where you are but then “hit the wall,” as so many businesses have the last five years. If you need some guidance, get some. Why wait?
This will allow you to re-focus on Steps 1-7, after which I believe you will be well on your way to achieving higher levels of success, your reward for Next Level Thinking!