Tag: family 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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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 is Sweat Worth?

Most family ranches are subsidized with free, or underpaid, family labor. Sometimes the difference between what family members get and what it would cost to hire someone else to do the work they do is made up with the promise or expectation of sweat equity. But sweat is not a recognized form of currency and […]

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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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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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Succession Success

Most people assume that the biggest estate planning fights involve “Who will own what?” It’s been my experience that, “Who will run what?” is often an even bigger issue. “Who will own what?” is usually a question of perceived fairness. To heirs, “Who will run what?” is a question of  respect. As part of a […]

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You Might Be Ranching For Profit If …

You might be ranching for profit if your spouse doesn’t have to work in town so you can have health insurance. If you are making a profit you ought to be able to pay yourself whatever it would cost to replace yourself and the business ought to be able to provide a benefits package, including […]

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A Great Place To Raise A Family

I occasionally lead workshops I call Hard Work and Harmony: Effective Relationships In Family Businesses. In it I like to ask participants to explain to the person next to them, why they ranch. Some say they love being their own boss, or love working outdoors and with livestock. Almost all of them say something about […]

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Boundaries

I have an advantage over most of the people who come through the Ranching for Profit school. I have boundaries. The RMC office is about a mile and a half from my home. Every day, unless the weather is miserable, I walk to work. Then at the end of the day I walk home. When […]

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