Could you create an agri-business that is more Professional and Focussed, is easier to run … and is designed to meet your needs around Profitability and Work/life/family balance?
Applications for the 2018 intake of the Agri-Business Management Program are now open, and it’s a good time to reflect on what last year’s participants got out of it.
According to participants, they have been exposed to new ways of thinking about managing their businesses, and are already seeing results from taking a more professional and proactive approach to managing the business aspects of their enterprises.
One example is Carlie and Lauchie Ward, Beef Producers from Dingo, QLD, who commenced the Beef Business Management Program in November 2016. They believe the program is helping them get more structure into their business, to allow a more controlled growth process.
“What we have gotten from it (the Program) is that we are trying approach it (the business) in a far more structured way than we have been, running it more like a proper corporate entity,” said Carlie and Lauchie Ward. “We’re dealing with our staff better, we’re dealing with each other better, it’s just a more structured approach to our business.”
Key business issues facing agri-business owners?
Participants have identified a number of common issues affecting their businesses, such as:
- How to set the business up for growth, sale or transfer (such as within a family), and maximise its value along the way
- Improving customer relationships and market penetration, to no longer play in the same field as everyone else, and get the right price for their quality product
- Proper communication in the business (particularly amongst family members), and getting everyone on the same page
- Managing staff and people better, to reduce the constant need for supervision
- How to better manage and achieve consistent outcomes across a number of business areas or property locations
- Taking a more disciplined approach to Financial Management
- How to fund expansion or growth plans, particularly if the bank is not a suitable source
The Program is designed to be flexible, to ensure that the needs of the group (such as those above) are met.
Andrew Eliott, Walcha NSW
Business … not production
There are already a range of production based initiatives in the industry (ie Grazing BMP, Beef Up Forums, EDGE Network programs) designed to improve producers’ capability in the production aspects of their businesses. Program participants have indicated they were looking for something different, and for support in making more informed business decisions in today’s increasingly corporatised and risk averse marketplace.
The Agri-Business Management Program is intentionally different and predominantly focusses on ‘business’. The Program works through novel ways of ‘doing business’ with participants, and has allowed them to develop practical strategies they can implement in their businesses to address their own key issues. These have included:
- Using an Advisory Board as a way to improve communication and decision making within the business, particularly where complex family dynamics make communication challenging
- Re-focussing on the Mindset of the business owners, to ensure they are approaching the business in the correct way to maximise opportunities and profitability
- Viewing Succession as a Business Growth and Transfer opportunity, rather than a difficult and negative process
- “Grooming” the business, by setting up it up in a certain way from the beginning to ensure ease of business sale or transfer, and maximisation of value of the business now and in the future
- Adopting a Customer-Focussed Approach to move towards being a price maker rather than a price taker
- Focussing on building solid Financial Foundations, from mastering the basics through to financial strategy and wealth creation
- Setting up Systems to ultimately create a self managing business.
Craig Pocock – Hoya, QLD
The hardest part is making and maintaining the changes once you’re home
The Program, and particularly the mentoring component, is built on the idea that it’s easy to go to a workshop and learn all of these great ideas, but the challenge is making the changes back home, once every day life catches up with you.
The Program features 3x 2 day workshop sessions with presentations from industry business specialists, routine business management learning materials delivered to you at home, and access to your personal business mentor to keep your change and growth process on track.
Participants have indicated that the mentoring component is one of the most valuable part of the program. It keeps them focussed and on-track to achieving their goals, by not getting derailed by every day demands. In the words of one participant:
“Knowing that every month I have to speak to my mentor forces me to do the things I said I was going to do. I’ve made changes in my business in the first couple of months that I’ve been meaning to make for the last 3 years.”
AND DON’T FORGET…
An important and often understated part of the Program is the support network gained by interacting with other like-minded business owners, who are often going through exactly the same challenges as you. And if nothing else, you might even find time to go out to dinner at the workshop sessions to relax and socialise!
Subsided pricing for livestock industry members (conditions apply)
Due to contributions of program partners MLA (through the MLA Donor Company), ABDI, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Qld), Crowe Horwath and AgForce, Program pricing is subsidised to around 2/3 of retail price during 2018 for livestock industry members (MLA levy payers).