Tackling business issues head on โ€“ producers seeing results

Participants in the Agri-Business Management Program (presented by ABDI and supported by DAF, MLA and AgForce) are focussing on taking their businesses to another level, after setting in place solid business foundations on which growth can occur.

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 completed the program in late 2017. 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 issues facing beef business owners – business rather than production

There are 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.

However, many producers have indicated they were looking for support in other, more business focussed areas. This is the core foundation on which the Agri-Business Management Program is built.

Participants in the program have identified a number of common issues affecting their businesses:

  • 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 works through these issues by providing practical ‘how-to’ strategies, with topics covered being built around the ABDI 12x Pillars of Business Best Practice.

Jeanne Seifert and Ian Stark, of Seifert Belmonts, indicated that in order to achieve their growth plans, they needed to focus on improving some aspects of their business management:

“There’s certain goals we wanted to achieve for our business. We felt that the cattle operation side of the business was on track, but we wanted to become more professional and more organised with the business side. This program has really changed our perspective and given us the tools that we needed to achieve those goals.”

“The Program helped us identify what we were both good at. While I enjoy collecting and analysing data, Ian didn’t feel he could afford to spend time out of the paddock,” Jeanne said. “He now feels that he could and should spend valuable time in the office managing his areas of responsibility.”

Jeanne and Ian have been implementing a range of strategies, such as developing formal job descriptions, instigating formal Advisory Board meetings, focussing on financial and business planning, improving communication and more.

“The strength of a year-long course is that it provides time to make permanent the changes to your own culture and mindset,” Jeanne said.

Find out more about Jeanne and Ian’s story here in the MLA Feedback magazine.

A community of like-minded people

The program also recognises that many business owners feel somewhat alone as they are trying to grow and develop their businesses. The program brings together like-minded people, who are looking to push the boundaries and ‘play a bigger game’, supported by mentors and business specialists who have ‘been there before’.

Many participants have indicated that one of the undersold aspects of the program is being able to get away from home, go out to dinner, network and socialise and have a few drinks, with a group of like-minded peers.

To find out more

The Agri-Business Management Program is a 12 month program that features 3x 2 day workshop sessions with presentations from industry business specialists, personal business mentoring to keep your change and growth process on track, as well as training materials delivered to you at home via online learning.

To find out more:


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