Have you ever tried to hit a moving target? That’s tough, isn’t it? First, you select the target. It may not be moving yet, and you might not even be aware that it can move. Then you take careful aim. Your target still hasn’t moved a bit – but then suddenly, something else enters the picture, causing your target to shift.
The new information might not be connected to what you’re doing – or it could even be totally unrelated to your operation. But if it will affect your farm, you still have to figure out how to respond to it on your side – in the best way possible. You adjust your aim and get ready again as fast as you can, based on what just happened. Being ready to respond can help you move quickly when you need to.
Do you take a similar mindset when it comes to planning for the future of your farm? It’s a fact: no one knows for sure what’s going to happen in the future. No one can plan for everything that may happen or that may affect your farm business at some point.
What you can do is set up your farm’s business plan in such a way that you’re able to adjust things quickly, based on outside events and on what’s happening in your operation internally.
Setting up your plan in this way means you’re as ready as possible if something changes. Your plan is flexible and adaptable enough that you can quickly shift gears when you need to. That means responding to the changing operating environment by adjusting goals for your farm based on new information.
Farms operate in an environment where being ready to respond to change can make all the difference. It’s especially important to build this flexibility into your strategic business plan as you set goals for your operation.
When you’re ready to set goals, you need to know your starting point. By that, I mean your farm’s financial situation – and where you’re projected to end up when the current year is over.
Knowing your farm’s current financials allows you to then set clear goals based on your up-to-date outlook. And, of course, the situation can change, but updated information allows you to shift your goals and targets accordingly.
That can feel a lot less like aiming at a moving target. You’re able to be more proactive by adjusting your goals to make sense for what’s happening in your operation right now.
Get more resources and information on setting up strategic business plans for your farm at www.waterstreet.org.
The opinions of Darren Frye are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.