Sign up for our Email Newsletter

Braunvieh Blog...

To Plan or Not to Plan?

Why developing a business plan is key to helping family businesses succeed

September 26, 2017
By Jessie Topp-Becker, Freelance Writer

Family business planning is key to ensuring the success and longevity of a family business. Unfortunately, many times family businesses quit before they even begin developing a plan because they’re not sure where to start. Other times, in pursuit of perfection, family businesses give up during the process.

When it comes to family business planning, perfection is not the goal. “It’s not about doing this perfect. It’s about getting the conversation started, so you know you build valuable information by communicating and by adding clarity,” Davon Cook said. Cook is a co-founder of Ag Progress LLC, a family farming and agricultural business consulting company that helps clients work through various transitions. She shared some of her business planning advice during a recent National Cattlemen’s Beef Association webinar.

Although many people view business planning as something only done in the corporate world, Cook said good planning can be a strength for all businesses, especially in agriculture. “We tend to be smaller ships and tighter ships, and we can be really be focused on getting things done and don’t always think there’s a need for a lot of structure.” However, the absence of structure and communication can lead to problems.

“In the absence of structure, people default to the status quo,” Cook explained. In some cases, the status quo is a good thing (i.e., values, culture, work ethic). However, the status quo often forces people into a rut and they never change anything or try anything new. According to Cook, having an intentional plan can be a positive change to the status quo.

Like structure, communication is a vital component to a successful business plan. For a plan to be effective, it needs to be communicated. Opting not to share information with key players, including family members, stakeholders and employees, can result in uncertainty and leave the door open for people to create their own story. “It’s not just making the good decisions together; it’s also making sure you’re communicating them and giving people the right story,” Cook said.

Once family businesses have recognized the value of business planning and committed to the process, it’s time to get started. But where should families start?

This article will be continued in our October blog post.  Check back to learn about the four most common types of business plans and how they can be applied to your operation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.