By Jared Wareham
Corporate America teaches us businesses must adapt to changing environments and be creatively fashioned to support operational efficiencies. Agricultural businesses are no different. If you are currently considering expanding your own business, here are some ideas that may have practical application.
New Day Genetics in Lowry City, Mo., has created a new bull business around some pioneering design components. To operate efficiently, they determined it takes 300 to 400 bulls to professionally market and service customers. A bull business of that size and scope was too great for any of the individual owners to accomplish alone. Other small and medium-sized breeders have been working together in similar situations for years. However, New Day structured their cooperative business in a more progressive manner.
New Day creates a non-egocentric system that is more “united we stand” in design. The business created ownership slots, or stock, available for purchase by their network of like-minded cattle breeders. This strategy facilitated breeder participation in bull sales, as well as ownership in the business itself. It functions similar to a “true” cooperative. Breeders don’t just contribute bulls, they now have “skin in the game.” Their opportunity to share in profits from the success of the business serves as motivation to drive their breeding programs forward. This design is vastly different than the traditional consignment sale or cooperative bull group. It is built on the dynamic of intrinsic strength.
The New Day ownership model is not the only fresh design element they have employed. Many modern businesses have begun to utilize “specialists” for many important duties. New Day identified three critical areas where specialized labor could play key roles: bull development, marketing and customer service. Since it may not be economically feasible to accumulate all the top talent on the same staff, the use of specialists allows each owner to work with the best professionals available.
The use of specialized professionals also helps control resources and capital expenses. A custom bull developer can design a bull growing protocol specific to your customers’ needs. For example, if your customers’ cattle graze fescue like New Day’s, you can implement a development system designed to prepare bulls for fescue performance. Operating efficiently, without the strain of excessive overhead and the freedom to design custom development, a specialist labor system can provide a business with a tremendous advantage.
New Day now spends more labor unit dollars in the areas they deem to be essential for the future of their business, such as customer service. They can adjust and adapt the level of customer service and “value beyond the bull” their customers want. Their intention is to not only sell bulls, but to sell customer success.
Consider the outside-the-box ideas New Day Genetics has implemented. Not all of their advances will be applicable to your new business, but some parts may be spot on. There are many business innovations that can be pilfered from non-agriculture related industries. Staying ahead of the curve is accomplished through education, adaptation and vision.