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.

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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.

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Santa isn’t the only one that gets letters. Here’s one I received recently:
Dear Dave,
Thank you for your letter last year. (Click here to see Dave’s 2014 letter.) While I thought several of your ideas would really help our operation, my husband, Nicolas, dismissed them, saying that they may work other places, but they won’t work here. While we do live in a very extreme environment, the real problem is Nick’s resistance to change. He is a jolly workaholic.

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One of the questions I often get at workshops is, “How many of the people who go to the Ranching For Profit School are actually doing it?” It’s a reasonable question, but it depends on what it is.

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I am thankful to have had a mother who put aside her pain without hesitation to give everything of herself to my sister and me. Mom died 7 years ago after a long slow decline with Alzheimer’s, but there isn’t a day I don’t think about her.

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Wally Olson is a rancher from Vinita, Oklahoma. He has a profitable cattle trading enterprise based on the Sell/Buy marketing principles popularized by Bud Williams. At the foundation of Wally’s operation is an understanding of the value of grass and the value of gain. Wally is quick to point out that he doesn’t limit his thinking about “gain” to weight gain. He adds gain by taking the stress off of animals, buying small groups and forming them into truck-load sized groups, sorting to increase the uniformity of groups, moving animals geographically to areas where there may be a higher demand for a particular class of animal, etc.

He is also quick to point out that just adding weight does not necessarily add value. At a recent Executive Link meeting he showed members how to calculate the value of gain and discussed its significance.

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I asked a group of our clients what difference it would make to their operation and their life if they had an extra hour a day of productive time. Most folks said they’d get more done, or they’d get the same amount done but feel less stress doing it. Then I reframed the question, “Instead of an hour a day, what if you had 65 four-hour blocks of time?”

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An email I received explained,

I have set up my ranch with money from other businesses. I watched one too many John Wayne movies, admittedly – but I am also a business man. We are not adding any value to our hay by putting it through a cow. Pasture rents are $1.10 per pair per day. At current cattle prices I’m having trouble answering the question “Why do I own a cow?” especially when I consider the opportunity cost of 500+ cows!

My response:

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There is trouble in paradise. A large, well-run family ranch is facing a transition. Dad is a visionary and built a great ranch business, but he’s ready to step back. Junior is a great guy and a real good cowboy, but he’s not a businessman, nor does he want to be. Junior expects to step in. Dad expects Junior to step up. They may both be in for a rude awakening.

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