A bad harvest, a disgruntled employee, a takeover bid from a larger agro business, a sudden illness, or dozens of other crises might be waiting to afflict your farm and throw your business into chaos. What can you do to prepare?
Here are three time-tested strategies that you can use to protect your assets, shield your workers, ensure your legacy, and keep the farm stable:
1.Adopt fiscally conservative habits.
In his best-selling book, Great by Choice, author Jim Collins describes one of the most fascinating habits of successful business owners and entrepreneurs: they hedge their risks substantially. In Collin’s lingo, they stockpile a lot of “oxygen canisters.” He uses this metaphor in homage to a strategy perfected by veteran climbers of Mount Everest, who tend to bring a lot of extra oxygen with them, in case they get trapped out on the mountain somewhere. Likewise, successful business owners also stockpile strategically, so they can weather unexpected storms.
2. Expect the unexpected.
As former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, once said: there are the knowns, the unknowns, and the unknown unknowns. When you consider your farm’s future, you know certain truths about what your future should hold. For instance, you can guess the nature and scope of your crop yield next season, assuming you have a normal season. Then there are unknowns. For instance, you might not know whether your daughter will decide to take over as an active manager of the farm or leave Ohio entirely to pursue a different vocation. But you do know she’s on the fence -- it’s an unknown that you know exists. Finally, there are unknown unknowns. For instance, maybe 5 years from now, Ohio real estate prices will crash due to a foreign banking crisis, which could slash the value of your land and put you at sudden risk for foreclosure. The more insights you have into your knowns, your unknowns, and your unknown unknowns, the easier it will be to plan for the future.
3. Get help from someone who has guided farmers like you through this process many times before.
Gudorf Law Group works with a diverse group of Ohio farmers. We understand the tax issues, planning needs, and personal concerns of the Ohio farmer community. Whether you face debt, crop bights, discontented employees, legal actions against your farm, tax or business crises, or personal health issues, we can stand with you, assure your legacy, and help you get clear about what you need to do, when and how. Call us now at 1-877-483-6730 for a free consultation.