“The Art of Racing in the Rain!”

John Ellsworth, Success Strategies

John Ellsworth, Success Strategies

I recently saw an excellent movie by the title listed above, and I must tell you – It was a wonderful and very touching story. I’d highly recommend you see it! However, I’m not going to tell you any more about the story, simply because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But do yourself a favor and go see it.

It is based upon a book by the same title, written by Garth Stein. One of my favorite quotes from the movie revolved around a discussion of whether the main character should actually enter an upcoming road race, and he was advised as follows:

“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”

Wow, I thought! That is so appropriate for the dairy industry, particularly from 2015-2018. Have you found yourself looking at some of your business decisions in this way? I have been working on a financial restructure for almost three years for a client. That may seem like a long process, and it was. However, they were in no shape to be refinanced when we started this process. They had not been profitable in 2015 or 2016, a fact that their banker was happy to point out whenever we met.

Yet, that is the very reason the quote above resonated so much for me. The entire process was a battle, and sometimes it felt like we were losing.  BUT, I knew that if we’d just stay with the process, we would eventually win out. On several occasions, I was told that I was off in my projections. First, I was “too high” on my estimated real estate value, so I suggested that the bank appraise it. Guess what? Its value came in $300,000 higher than I had estimated. Next, my milk price projections were too high, but ironically, they came in very close to my numbers over the following six months.

Yet, what could we do, but push forward? 2015-2018 was a very challenging time for dairymen, and just following the advice in the quote above represented our only hope. What else did we do? We asked, “What do we need to change?” Here are the areas that we fine tuned as fully as possible:

  1. The Feeding Program – There were lots of ration adjustments. My hat’s off to the nutritionist here!
  2. Milk Pricing – Thank goodness for Milk Options, DRP & other programs that are available.
  3. Labor Efficiency – Cows milked per hour and per man was studied extensively. As a result, we were able to make great strides in these two areas.
  4. Milk pounds per cow per day – We were simultaneously able to boost this number, and I am so glad we did.
  5. Profitability – Remember how I’ve said that if you measure something, you can understand it? If you understand it, you can control it, and if you can control something, you can improve it (A quote from my Business Coach Dan Sullivan). Was that ever true here! We were able to become profitable again in both 2017 and 2018. Further, we are positioned to soar financially this year!

 

 

However, what if we had chosen “not to run the race,” simply because it looked like we might lose. On the contrary, I would encourage you to stay in the race and win! It’s not always about being in 1st place either. Having completed one 26-mile marathon myself, I can tell you that I was far from being in 1st place. But believe me when I tell you that completing the 26 miles is a “win” in itself.

Let me leave you with these thoughts:

  • What changes do you need to make? If you’re not sure, talk to someone who knows. I would be glad to visit with you, if you feel I can assist you.
  • What would the impact of these changes or improvements be?
  • What steps do you need to take? Please realize that this may be the best investment of time that you will make this week.

In closing, what item, if you improved it substantially, would represent a major breakthrough for you, your business, your team or your family? Think about it, and if I can help, please contact me at:   [email protected]

 

 

Here’s a suggestion for you. Sign up for our new Success Strategies Business Navigator Program. If you are open to learning new concepts and discussing them with other producers, you should take a look at this new program that will start this fall. It’s completely online, freeing you from travel but offering you an opportunity to learn from industry experts in the areas of milk marketing, management, financial analysis & banking/finance. For the value of the milk production of one 85 lb cow for a month, you can enroll in this quarterly workshop program for one year. What have you got to lose? Check it out at:

https://success-strategies.com/navigator-program-for-dairy-farmers/

You won’t regret it. I wish you the very best for a success-filled year!

The related YouTube video can be found at:

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