Key takeaways from a candid conversation about business building.

Last week we hosted a conversation at the QRRRWN conference in Kingaroy with ABDI Agri-Business Management Program Alumni, Kym Thomas (home of the Australian White Meat Sheep Breed in Qld) and Jeanne Seifert (CEO of Seifert Belmont Reds, the original Australian Made Tropically Adapted Bos Taurus Beef Breed).

Both Jeanne and Kym shared their journey of change over the last 2 years since commencing the ABDI Program. They candidly discussed the highs and lows of pushing ahead with their own business building plans (and personal boundaries) to improve their businesses. Both observed how they built on the value of the educational material and benefits of personal mentoring provided by the ABDI program.

Here is a summary of their 5 key take away messages.

IMPORTANCE OF A CLEAR VISION

Both Kym and Jeanne shared how crucial it is to have a clear direction – and be able to share it with others.

Both talked about how critical this clear vision is and how it sustains them when times get tough. Jeanne shared how important it is to her to expand the Belmont Red breed because of the attributes it brings to discerning beef breeders in the tropical north. She described how this provides the framework in which Seifert Belmont Reds can expand.

Kym saw the eating quality characteristics of the Australian White breed and developed her own strong vision for how to maximise the value of animals produced from that breed in premium, niche markets. This vision was the basis of Kym’s business building strategy – which emerged from their involvement in the ABDI programs.

It is critical to be crystal clear on exactly where you are going and what you are trying to achieve, before starting on a focussed business expansion plan.

 

GET ON THE SAME PAGE

Both Kym and Jeanne discussed the importance of all family members and ‘significant others’ being on the same page.

Kym spoke about sharing her journey with son Tony, who is a strong supporter of the 15-20 year plan she/they have developed to expand the business. Tony has been heavily involved in the planning and is now working with Kym to turn the vision into a reality. Having the business vision and plan clearly articulated has made it easy for Kym and Tony to ensure that they, along with others involved in the business, are all on the same page, working towards the same goal.

Likewise, Jeanne and husband Ian have seen the value of this same process. This has been critical when engaging with key stakeholders, in particular, banks to help realise the plans.

A concrete, specific business plan that outlines your vision and goals makes it much easier to ensure everyone is on the same page and prepared to go on the journey of change with you.

 

GET GOOD ADVISORS

Both Kym and Jeanne shared how their involvement in the ABDI program helped them to develop and then actually start implementing their specific expansion plans. Taking set time out of the business to work on the business also helped them to identify other areas that needed addressing. For example, Kym spoke about the importance of addressing significant family succession activities.

Jeanne noted the importance of accessing specialist knowledge to help fill the knowledge gaps they both have. She also acknowledged the importance of being prepared to “pay the price to access the right advice from the best”.

Guidance and advice from the right professionals is critical when planning and undertaking your business growth journey.

 

COMMIT TO CONTINUAL LEARNING

Jeanne spoke about the importance of continued personal education on industry developments, customer needs and the latest changes that might affect the business. Staying on top of these updates means she and Ian have confidence that their business decisions meet or better still exceed industry’s demands / best practice.

Kym discussed the importance of not only learning how to build and implement an orderly approach to marketing, but the value of revising and updating the business plans as she and Tony look beyond 2030.

Along with their own self-led learning, both Jeanne and Kym participate in networking opportunities such as QRRRWN as another way to stay committed to learning from others and gaining fresh perspectives.

Never stop learning. Continue to get an education on what is changing in the industry and look for ways to learn from others. This includes placing importance on personal growth as the owner of a high performing business.

 

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF AND OTHERS

Both spoke about the importance of looking after oneself, family, and key others around you, while working on the business. Taking time to step away from the busy-ness of building a business to actually have a breather and enjoy time with like-minded people is important.

(This came as a timely reminder as R U OK Day coincided with the first day of the QRRRWN conference. Each of us is encouraged to take the time to check how family and employees are going and ensure there is the opportunity for down-time and open, supportive communication.)

Expanding a business is an exciting and challenging project. Make sure you are taking the time to look after yourself and those around you during the process.

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