Do You Really Know Your Business?

Work Smarter Not Harder!

In the past 33 years as a business consultant, I have seen many dairy businesses expand with a focus on land, cows, buildings, initially milk quota and now latterly people which is the most important of these factors but the least understood.

But the most important aspect of any expanding small business is the part that actually knows the big picture and has CLARITY on where it is headed and why, a business that knows the key variables to achieving its goals and understanding what are its biggest limitations.

Unfortunately, I see too many expanded farmers working even harder than when they were smaller, what is all the growth for?  How many cows do you need to achieve your goals?  They have no time to draw breath, take a step back from the business and ask is what they are doing the right way to achieving their goals….that’s if they know what they are doing it for, and if anyone else in the business knows!  Sometimes this informally called a few days holiday and people come back refreshed with a sense of purpose.

When I went to NZ four years ago, I wanted to learn how larger dairy businesses operated at a business level and governed themselves.  I learned as much about our own consultancy business as the principles are the same for any small business.

As a result of that trip, we established a disciplined process looking at all the areas below in our business.  As a result, it has grown by 50% in the last 4 years whilst the partners have reduced their direct contribution to turnover by 50% .  This is what I call working smarter and not harder.

• Establishing purpose.  What are we about?

• Concentrating on the bigger issues i.e., what direction is the business going?

• Setting clear goals, objectives, strategies, and actions, coupled with a strong ethical culture

• Strong accountability

• Routine monitoring of key performance indicators with independent scrutiny

• Identifying and understanding risks, and how to manage acceptable risk

• Identifying and tackling current and future limiting factors among the skill set necessary in the business i.e., competency of governance, management, and operations.

• A culture of compliance of Sound financial parameters – liquidity, solvency, profitability, or regulatory requirements.

Now we take more structured time away from the day-to-day operational side of business to focus on the above areas.  Having a respected third-party professional to facilitate the process is key.  As a result, I am finding myself in this role also with some good small and large farming businesses facilitating this process.  When we review why a business has not made more progress (whatever that looks like in a business) a lot comes back to the above key areas.

The above doesn’t involve lots of capital investment or something that will take years to implement.  You can begin today and buy the skills and expertise to fill the gaps.  The key is the discipline of the ongoing process.

If you are serious about working smarter and not harder, then contact Gerard at and let me show you how you can achieve your goals faster without any more effort.