Have you ever noticed that when you start thinking about what’s not right in the world, in your business or in your life, then that’s what you keep focusing on? When it comes to what we’re not happy about or downright dislike, it can be easy to start fixating on things we cannot control – such as national and world events that impact our business through the markets.
Focusing our thought mainly on those factors can lead us to start feeling helpless – maybe even a bit like a victim. We think we have very little power to affect the situation that’s causing distress for us and our business.
It’s easy to get caught up in that cycle of thought – and it can lead to some very negative emotions and states of being: sadness, anger, anxiety and depression, to name a few.
Choose your response
However, there is one thing we still always control – and that’s our own response to our situation. On one hand, we can choose to feel helpless and like a victim because of what’s going on in the markets and our business. Or we can choose to take stock of what we can control and what we can do – and then take some smart action.
I believe there are several wise things farm leaders can do right now to impact their businesses rather than allowing outside factors to hold center stage:
- Get serious about the farm’s numbers. The operations that will not only survive, but thrive through the downturn continue to buckle down on their financial management skills. More importantly, they take management action to create improvements in efficiency based on what they discover. These leaders are focused on what they can do to become better managers and create a better farm operation. They work to make incremental improvements constantly and consistently. They know their farm’s numbers and analyze them regularly with the help of advisors, and then take action to improve. They don’t beat themselves up about any areas where their operation struggles, but instead simply move forward with new plans for improvement.
- Get serious about your team. This includes both the people on your employee team on the farm, as well as your wider team that includes your lenders, suppliers, vendors, dealers and advisors. Getting serious in this area means taking a close, careful look to determine whether you have the right people on your employee team – and on your wider team. The right people have your farm’s best interest at heart, whether they’re a family member, employee or someone you deal with from another business. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, a change may be in order.
- Get serious about marketing plans. In today’s ag economic environment, grain marketing requires careful, flexible planning from farm leaders. Markets are a factor that none of us can control – but you can control the way you plan and how you create a strategy to best take advantage of opportunity. Partnering with an advisor to help as you plan and execute your marketing strategy for 2019 and beyond is a major factor in your farm’s success – one that you have immediate control over right now.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.