Dreaming is a key component of being human. Creativity solves the most complex problems that we face in this world. However, many dreams are just that, because they’re not realistic. Worse yet, sometimes we become financially and emotionally committed to these dreams and end up getting ourselves in hot water.

A DREAM IS NOT A PLAN. Planning is the other side of the coin that we have to take seriously if our dreams are to become reality. Planning is the practical process that helps us attain our end goal and it keeps us accountable.

I help clients with facility and strategic planning for their current and future agricultural facilities. This might sound simple, but it’s not. People in agriculture often confuse dreaming with planning. A couple good years, some cash in the pocket, and they spend. Clients continue to motor along until the day comes when they realize — usually through a hit to their pocketbook — that their facility is an inefficient and hopelessly out-dated Frankenstein. They find out the hard way that they failed to properly plan for the future.

There are three questions to ask yourself to come up with a good plan for future facility and equipment needs.

  • Where is your overall business at now? Figure out what niche you fit into and what niches you may fill in the future. You need to know where you really are and where you’re going (a plan) versus where you think you are and where you believe you’re headed (a dream).
  • What’s the status of your product/service and what will demand be in the future?
  • What’s your current capacity and operational efficiency, and how will you need to modify it for the future? Capacity dictates how much you can earn based on total facility volume, but operational efficiency is the key as it drives margins.

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you and your equipment provider come up with a technical assessment to help meet your needs, but in a realistic way that can be executed on.

A dream plus a plan equals success. Ensure you’re factoring in both parts of the equation, and you’re on your way to making your agricultural processing business into what it has the potential to be.

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