One of the most enjoyable gifts I received for Christmas was a placard for my office by Marla Rae that shows a picture of a cow in the back of a pickup truck with a sign on the driver’s door entitled “Cow on the Prowl.” At the top of the placard, the following words are printed:

“Live like someone left the gate open!”

As we start a new year, this seems like good advice for each and every one of us. Is it time to consider new challenges in your business this year? What tasks, specifically, do you need to address? If there are one or two changes you could make in your operation, especially if they are not cost prohibitive, what would they be?

Have you set some new objectives for this year? If you are running a dairy business, how about striving to make 80 pounds of daily milk on your Holsteins or 60 pounds on your Jerseys? This will be a good time to do so, given the high projected milk prices this year. Why not capitalize on those improved prices?

Have you looked at the Dairy Revenue Protection Program for putting a floor under your future prices? How about the Dairy Margin Coverage program? Although milk prices will likely be higher, the pressure of continued high feed costs could still impact margins.

What does it really mean to “Live like someone left the gate open?” I think this means that we need to look at new possibilities, try some new tasks, and push forward with a good attitude, regardless of outside factors. Maybe it even means reaching some new levels of productivity or improving our banking relationships.

Again, regardless of what industry you are working in, do you know your costs of production? If you operate a dairy, what’s your Cost/cwt? If you run an almond orchard or a wine grape vineyard, what are your costs/acre to produce your crop. If you have a manufacturing facility making a product, what’s your cost/unit sold?

I’ve worked with numerous businesses for over 23 years to help them know their costs of production and improve these numbers. They are absolutely crucial to your success! Remember, if you measure this, you can understand it. If you understand it, you can control it, and, ultimately, if you can control it, you can improve it!

If you know your costs and the resulting profitability, you have some powerful options:

However, you know what the biggest benefit will be? If you live and operate “like someone left the gate open,” you will explore new options, consider & refine your current business pathways, and choose the best options for you. And that, my friends, is the most direct path to Success!

One final thought: If you were to live like someone left the gate open, what is your next step going forward?

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

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