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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

What Makes a Great Company?

Aug 13, 2013

Aerial of Michigan Farms   USDA NRCSFrom Legacy Moment (09.09.2013).
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 Beyond the latest fad promoted by the popular press and business best sellers, great companies are more than well-known brands. Given a moment, we can all think of exemplary businesses—the local tire shop, a nice restaurant, a locally owned franchise, your insurance agency—even a municipality may qualify. Though you may not have quantified the reasons, many of the companies you patronize fall into the 'great' category. So, what makes a business great? What are the identifiable business traits you admire?

  • Is it good customer service? Do you feel welcome? Do the employees engage you in meaningful conversation? Though you don't necessarily have to feel like a friend, are you confident the business is there to solve your problems?
  • Is there an atmosphere of innovation? Does this company use the latest technology and the best service systems? Are they on the leading edge and employing a process of continuous improvement?
  • Is the product line and level of service of a consistent quality? Can you be assured that when new products or services are introduced, they meet or exceed a certain standard?
  • Do the employees act in concert and work as a team? Do they generate confidence that each person is part of a larger whole and dedicated to providing a solution for the customer?
  • Are you assured that the operation is stable and well-balanced? Are they positioned to continue delivering on their promise for years to come? Does the organization have a history of experience and a long planning horizon? Does management 'appease the moment' or do they have a long view and base decisions on consequential effect?

From this brief list and using your own examples, how can you ensure that your business—yes, the family farm—becomes a great company? Please write to 'Ask Kevin' and let me know.  

News & Resources for You: 

Professional development is one essential element of strong farm leadership.

Common goals expressed in a business plan will guide you to implement your vision.

Test-drive eLegacyConnect as your go-to resource for succession planning guidance.  

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