5 Keys to Agricultural Small Business Success in 2017

Collette Schultz

5 Keys to Agricultural Small Business Success

by Chelsea Johnson

new year plan

Many people start the new year with personal resolutions to improve their lives and health: why not set resolutions for your small business? Whether you are looking for ways to improve your existing operation or starting your very first business, you are facing an exciting – and challenging – path. Give yourself a head start by learning these five tips for making 2017 the best year yet for your small business.

1. Keep your eye on the ball: One of the biggest pitfalls of small business owners is trying to take on too many projects at once. Take the time to identify the projects and tasks that contribute the most towards your key goals, and spend the majority of your time on those tasks. Especially in today’s age of fast and changing markets, it can be tempting to chase the latest trends and tools. Don’t get distracted: stay focused on the goals that matter most to your success and you’ll see the benefits.

2. Bring in the troops: As a business owner, you may find yourself taking on many different roles: crop scientist, accountant, staff manager, marketer, and more. When you are spread thin across many different skillsets, you aren’t using your time to your highest advantage. Hiring professionals to supplement your skills means higher quality work and more free time for you, giving you more time to focus on the tasks that are important to you. Whether it’s bringing on additional staff, hiring the occasional contractor, or even hiring a local teenager to help with easy tasks, delegating will save you headaches and help your business grow.

3. Crunch the numbers: Your crops are growing, your livestock are healthy, but how do you really know if your business is succeeding? Records tell the true story of whether you’re in the red or making money. Make it a priority to track, record, and analyze data about your business, including information about revenues, expenses, taxes, and risk. With the right information, you can connect the dots for an accurate picture of your business. To get the most from your data, consider a software-hosting company like AgCompass. With services like AgCompass, your software and data are secure, accessible from anywhere, and easy to share with accountants and other advisors.

4. Find your tribe: Your business is unique, but sometimes your challenges aren’t. By connecting with other small business owners, you can learn how others have solved problems you’re facing, and hear about others’ successes to see what can apply to your business. It’s important to meet people who are working in agriculture, but it’s also important to meet people who are running bakeries, storefronts, and other diverse operations. Their unique perspectives can give you new ideas for running your business and solving problems.

5. Trim the fat: The auto industry was famous for creating lean processes, a business concept that emphasizes efficiently using your resources to achieve more. By viewing your business through a lean process lense, you may see ways to better utilize your staff, cut costs, use a field more efficiently, or reduce production time. Set aside time every month to review your business for opportunities to cut cost and increase revenue.

Other resources from AgCompass:

Overtime rules may hit the family farm

Seven year-end tax planning tips for farmers