Prevention Tools
Tool 4

Business management aiming at reducing stress factors

Introduction

Managing a family enterprise and farming business is highly fulfilling and it the same time challenging. It means to take leadership and decide well about input and output. It is a steady decision about resources, how to assure availability and where to put them the most efficient and effective way.

Business as usual should mean being busy and in agriculture it can of course mean seasonal peaks, but it should not and does not need to mean to be stressed throughout the whole year.

A well-managed business will allow the farmer and the farmers family to take their family time as well, during and aside the work done together.

The aim of this module is not to describe business management in detail.

It is about giving a basic approach to deal

  • with stress
  • with risk
  • with pressure

The module will then focus on selected parts of business with significant chance to handle your daily business in a way promising the best possible chance to keep healthy as an entrepreneur.

1. ANALYSIS: Data helps against strange emotions!

To be able to make a meaningful and concrete outlook for the future you need to know your business today. This means you need to be able to describe your enterprise in 3-5 sentences, and you should be able to mention the basic numbers of your business ad hoc: numbers like annual turnover in a good year and in a bad year, profit in a good year and in a bad year.

If during peak season or just during any moment of the year strange feelings appear like: “I never see my children”, “I am on the farm 24/7”, “we do not have enough money”, “we will lose the farm”, etc. it is a first step to check the numbers for these issues:

Considering yourself an entrepreneur and not having a dashboard of the family enterprise in front of you (your brain, on paper, on screen) is not a good sign. Start to get in this situation of full information as soon as possible.

If data confirms your feelings, it will not be the end, but a good starting point based on real documents.

As soon as you know your basic, daily and seasonal situation and you can describe this situation in words and in numbers, then it will be possible to describe your goals and aims for the family enterprise as well. Think about naming numbers here as well: Return on sales, Cash Flow. Minimum Credit on your bank account. Sunday as family time.

To be able to build up a strategy you need to know where you want to go and where you start. You need the starting point and the goal.

To know where you stand today and where you want to be in some time in the future sets a good frame to work on the concept of how to get from the start to the end.

To decide about the tools, means and investments for your business development is a key role for the entrepreneur together with leading the daily business.

Within a concept you will describe step by step on how to move forward.

To be able to work on strategic focus and to cope with daily work is an entrepreneurial challenge.

First you need to assure quality of your offer (produce, services). As soon as quality is assured (whatever necessary level for your market approach) you can decide on the scale. 

To develop your business gives you (more or less) free decision on doing things or not to do them.

If you decide to do something, you should decide for the right one.

And you should do this thing in the right way.

To prioritize your daily work, immediate action and decisions along the Eisenhower-Box is a very well established systematic.

As soon as you have a concrete plan for your enterprise (from start today until goals in the future) and you are able to describe quality and work processes of your produce and services you should check where your personal input is key to success and where you could easily let do this step of work by others.

Wether within your family or within other employed workers or within cooperation situations with other farms you can delegate work.

What steps can be taken in the topic to achieve the five ways to well-being.
Simple examples of behavior suitable for farmers

Connect (1-2 steps)
  • Talk with your business consultant or true friend about your situation in a precise way
  • Talk with others about your goals
Be Active (1-2 steps)
  • Go for a walk in the early morning before starting to work. It can be only 10min, but there is lot of good thoughts for you, your family and your enterprise
  • [..]
Take Notice (1-2 steps)
  • Ask your workers and helpers on the farm about their wellbeing.
  • Ask your partner, parents, children how they are doing
Keep Learning (1-2 steps)
  • Get involved in networks of your business: farmers circles, networks of excellence.
  • Go for a private passion as well: sports, arts, music, etc.
Give (1-2 Steps)
  • Give transparent insight to your enterprise to the people involved
  • Make a barbeceue once a year serving all helpers and workers.