Field Notes Blog > Reduce Stress by Planning for Your Farm’s Future Today

  • Reduce Stress by Planning for Your Farm’s Future Today

    May 16, 2018

    Considering “what’s next” for your farm business? Thinking about the future without a plan can elevate the stress you and your family members’ experience.

    Successful family businesses require a strategic plan and road map to meet goals for each business stage – growth, diversification, transition or even an exit. Learn the important steps to start the strategic planning process for your business and family’s future.

    Start early. Now is the time to bring your family together to start the conversations.

    Invite everyone affected. Bring all family members, spouses and anyone in the business impacted by the planning process to the table. Will your plan include a non-family business transition? Include family members in those discussions too as they will be impacted by the process. Do not invite your nosey neighbors.

    Designate a leader. A leader will help facilitate conversations to ensure all voices are heard in the planning process. Each member’s perspective will shape the process, so it is important that there are no assumptions.

    Assemble a team. Bring third party advisors in for an outside perspective to your team. Consultants can help navigate tough conversations and see what others might miss. Everyone’s transition planning team will look different, with different types of consultants, depending your situation.

    Set realistic timelines. The planning process is not a one-time event. A process happens over time. During the development phase, target specific goals and deadlines. When the plan is complete, revisit it at least once per year to benchmark and adjust as needed.

    Communicate with your team. Communication needs to happen among owners, owners’ spouses and the different generations. Throughout the transition process, poor communication and family dynamics can push the brakes on the process. Begin communication by understanding each team member’s individual and business goals.

    Focus on family. Regardless of the plan, a successful transition prioritizes family. After planning, your family should be to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Businesses come and go every day, but family is forever.

    By keeping these steps in mind, you will be able to alleviate stress on your way to a successful future for your business.

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