Since December 2008, I’ve heard a lot of people stating all the things they can’t do:
- I can’t get my bank on board for the changes I want to make.
- I can’t get production where I want it to be.
- I can’t get feed costs down.
Please allow me to offer a few suggestions:
- Whatever the subject, whether you think you can or think you cannot, you’re correct!
- Having said that, let’s shift our focus to what we can control.
What can we control???
- Our attitude. Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said it best – “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Author Louis Mann said, “What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him.”
- Our management impact. Are you surrounding yourself with the best advisors at this time? Your management team has a wealth of positive experience to offer you. They see the best and worst practices of other dairy operations. Take advantage of their availability and their knowledge.
- Cost controls. Have you reviewed every line item in your budget? High milk prices in years like 2007 and 2008 can lead to increases in some expense areas beyond reasonable levels. Check your various costs and review your labor utilization.
- Develop a plan and meet with your banker. Having a plan in place is crucial! Develop a contingency plan to deal with potential pitfalls of the next 3 to 6 months. The industry will turn around and when it does, you must be prepared to capitalize on the next upturn!
- Business advisors George Ford and Gordon Lippitt summed it up best: “Some self-confronting questions: ‘Where do I want to be at any given time?’ ‘How am I going to get there?’ ‘What do I have to do to get myself from where I am to where I want to be?’ ‘What’s the first, small step I can take to get moving?’”