A common vision for your farm business means addressing and working through differing goals, priorities and interests. This is especially beneficial when multiple generations are involved in an operation as well as when some of the owners are actively working in the business and some are essentially outside investors.
Danny Klinefelter, retired Texas A&M ag economist, encourages everyone with an ownership interest to independently write out their thoughts in response to the questions below and then discuss their ideas as a group. Some might think the exercise is too academic or touchy-feely, but leaders of some of the most successful family businesses have gone through the exercise and learned a great deal, Klinefelter says.
- What is important to me?
- What is acceptable?
- What is not acceptable?
- What does my future for the business look like?
- What do I want from the business?
- What do I hope will happen?
- What am I afraid might happen?
- What do I want the business to accomplish?
- What do I want to do or achieve personally?
- What sacrifices am I willing to make in order to make it happen?
- What is the purpose of the business?
- Why am I here?
- How will I measure both the business’ and my own performance and progress?
- What is my plan or approach for accomplishing the goals I have set out?
- How should I propose to implement these new business strategies?