Tag: build a successful business

Having a Ranch AND a Life

A friend included me in an email chain informing us of a farmer he knew who recently took his life. I don’t pretend to begin to know this man’s pain or anything about his situation. But the story struck me as beyond sad. Responses in the email chain spoke of the stress of farming, peer […]

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Sustainability: What’s In A Name?

Maybe it’s just semantics, but I think the words we choose are important. 40 years ago, when I was in college, “sustainable agriculture” was a revolutionary concept. Forward-thinking universities created Sustainable Agriculture Departments. Most farm and ranch kids enrolled in the Animal Science or Crop Science programs while the hippies enrolled in Sustainable Agriculture. But […]

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A True Story About A Real Manager

About 15 years ago I met an absentee owner who was responsible for a family ranch that was losing money. It had lost between $200,000-$300,000 year after year for a long time. Over those years she’d made several threats to the two managers that if things didn’t turn around, the family would have to sell […]

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What Are You Worth?

I often ask audiences at schools and workshops if anyone pays themselves what it would cost to replace themselves. Very few hands go up and those that do are usually attached to the arms of Ranching For Profit School grads. Many justify not paying themselves a fair wage claiming that their ranch isn’t profitable enough […]

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Is Your Ranch Fire-proof?

The risk of wildfire has always been a normal part of ranching. But today we are faced with a new normal that includes the increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. The number of wildfires hasn’t changed much. There are roughly the same number of fires now as when I was cutting fire lines on a Forest […]

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Survival of the Fittest & Natural Selection

Nature has a strict culling policy. If bulls and bucks don’t breed, or if does and cows don’t wean fawns and calves, their genes aren’t passed on. Survival of the fittest. Most commercial ranchers select for fitness too. If a cow is open or dry, she’s culled. If she’s got a bad udder or isn’t […]

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Who Will Own What?

There are two big pieces to the estate planning puzzle: who will run what (management succession) and who will own what (the transfer of assets). In my last ProfitTips article I called management succession the more difficult of the two because it involves judging the competency of people you love and holding them accountable to […]

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Irresistible Change

I reviewed articles in Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Fast Company on resistance to change. The articles laid out the 12 reasons, the 10 factors and the 5 keys to resistance. The more I read, the more convinced I am that they have it ALL wrong!   I encounter my fair share of people who […]

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Overheads Are Fixed!

What would you have to do to increase profit in a business where you couldn’t control costs? You’d have to increase production per animal, increase the number of animals you carry and hope for higher prices. These are the strategies most ranchers have followed, and Universities have recommended, for generations. It’s a logical approach if […]

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Traveling Without A Compass

In Alice in Wonder land, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cat responds, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice tells him, “I don’t much care where.” To which the cat responds, “Then it doesn’t much […]

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