Farm business consultant Sarah Beth Aubrey explains what every young farmer should know about strategic planning below in an excerpt from her recent webinar on AgWeb.com. She will lead two breakout sessions on the subject at the 2016 Tomorrow's Top Producer conference June 16-17 in Nashville. Read more expert guidance for young farmers in our new e-book.
“If you have a strategic plan, where is it? And how does it serve you, or is it serving you now? Is it someplace handy? For many of us, the wallet, the mirror, the truck dash—or purse, perhaps, if we’re ladies—are the places that we keep the things that are most handy. Maybe the kitchen counter.
If your strategic plan isn’t handy in one of those places, you’re wasting your time. I’ve come to believe this is true. If the plan on a page isn’t clear or handy, you don’t need it. Why build something you don’t need? You’re too busy for that.
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"What I like to tell people with this process, Your Strategic Plan on a Page, is this isn’t your granddad’s strategic plan. It’s also not your big, expensive consultant’s strategic plan. It’s your plan, and you can get it done in an hour, even considering these things which are core values; going through a SWOT analysis—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; putting some goals in place; future vision and future direction; and then I use prioritization. Many tasks need to be done, but to me there is usually one priority at a time.
Spend just one hour, or even 35 or 45 minutes if that’s all you have, and really take a look at those five pillars. Evaluate how you can build something that’s usable, handy and changeable. It’s not something you put on a shelf.”
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