Several weeks ago I included a WOTB quiz in a ProfitTips column in which readers could score the extent to which they work ON their businesses. The column was picked up by some other publications and wound up generating conversations on several other popular blogs. Most of the people making comments said that they had pretty low scores. One person who said they scored a 10 out of 100, justified it by saying that, like with all courses, “…take what fits and leave the rest.” I wonder which thing on the WOTB test he felt he could leave…setting goals? Economic and financial analysis and planning? Succession planning? Drought planning? The marketing plan?

Read More...

In a ProfitTips column last month I explained that I walk a mile and a half to work every day and that when I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m home, I’m home. I have boundaries that separate my work from my life. I also noted that most ranchers don’t have clear boundaries between their work and their lives. If you are like most ranchers, when you are at work, you are still at home and when you are home, you are still at work.

I am convinced that people who have boundaries separating their life from their work tend to be more productive and successful in their work and lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Anna Quindlen is right when she writes, You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are.

Read More...

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 loving the lifestyle. Near the top of most people’s lists is, “It’s a great place to raise a family.”

Read More...
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 I’m at work, I’m at work. When I am home, I am home. I have boundaries.

Read More...
The WOTB Test

Most people blame things beyond our control like the weather, government regulation, low commodity prices and increasing costs for their failure to make a healthy profit. These are the things most often discussed at producer meetings and in the coffee shop. These are also things we can do little about. Making them the scapegoats for poor performance makes it easy to absolve ourselves of responsibility.

Read More...

An Executive Link™ member brought a map of his ranch to his EL board meeting to show his board the layout of the grazing cell he planned to build. He enthusiastically explained that the cell would help him keep graze periods short while ensuring pastures got the rest they needed. It would increase stock density and improve utilization. Under the current management there were areas his herd (400 cows) never grazed. He said that once the cell was built he’d immediately increase the stocking rate by 20% (80 more cows).

Read More...

There are a lot of ranchers that don’t believe that ranching can be profitable. I can’t count the number of ranchers who’ve told me that Ranching For Profit is an oxymoron. They have come to accept that not paying themselves a decent wage and relying on off-farm income are just part of the reality of modern ranching. I understand why people with this mind-set resist change. If ranching can’t be profitable, why bother trying? Somehow ranching for less loss doesn’t sound very inspiring.

Read More...

When I was a kid if I asked my parents for money they would usually come up with some extra chores for me to do or suggest that I see if one of our neighbors needed some help with something. The lesson I learned is the lesson that most of us learn growing up: You have to work to make money.

Read More...

I’ve got my share of strong opinions about the goings-on in the world but I don’t see ProfitTips as the appropriate vehicle to share them. My purpose in writing over 500 ProfitTips columns over the last 10 years has been, and continues to be, to reinforce the principles we teach at the Ranching For Profit School. But earlier this week something happened that pissed me off and I decided to use this edition of ProfitTips to go on a short tirade and vent.

Read More...
A Good Book

How valuable would it have been to talk to the late Steven Covey about his principles of personal effectiveness, to learn what business consultant Michal Gerber sees as the keys to success in business, or to get some coaching from Robert Kiyosaki on generating wealth? Well, you can do all of these things for about $50. All you have to do is read their books.

Read More...