Planting the Seed

Every spring, farmers take to the fields to begin planting. With careful agronomic planning and an
immeasurable amount of faith, farmers depend on a lot of factors going their way, 3 of which are
sunshine, moisture, and the farmer’s ability to nurture the crop.


The provider of light and heat, critical to plant growth & development, inadequate amounts of either
light or heat will delay plant development. Your business is no different. Your business requires
adequate sunshine – what provides the sunshine to your business? It’s you. As the owner, president, or
CEO, you are the source of light and heat in your business, and the light and heat you need to provide is
strategic leadership and management process. It is your vision, your ability to enact on that vision, and
the manner in which you lead that will have the greatest effect, positive or negative, on your business.


Plant’s roots are trying to find it. Nutrients aren’t absorbed by the plant without it. All things being
equal, by and large throughout documented agricultural history (recent seasons of excess moisture
being the exception,) moisture has been the most limiting factor in crop production. The moisture in
your business is working capital. Working capital is often the most limiting factor in a farm business, and
access to adequate working capital will become a serious challenge in the future. Your business cannot
function without working capital, like your plants cannot function without moisture. Drop dead
minimum working capital needs to be 50% of your annual expenses, with the target being minimum


You nurture your crop the best way you can. You fertilize using the 4 R’s (right source, right place, right
rate, right time), you apply herbicide and fungicide at precisely the right time, and you scout for disease,
bugs, weeds, etc. all growing season. You do all of this because you know that your efforts will grow a
better crop. And while you nurture your crop, don’t forget to nurture the rest of your business. Your
people, be they your staff, your family, and yes even you, need to be looked after as well as you look
after your crop.

Direct Questions

Are you, as the owner, president, or CEO, generating enough sunshine (strategic leadership &
management process) for your business? How are you determining if your sunshine is providing positive
results? If you’re not talking about this with your people and your advisors, start now; you can’t
diagnose yourself.

Are your moisture levels (working capital) adequate to carry your business through the year? Can you
get through unforeseen and unplanned draws on your working capital? If you have inadequate working
capital, what are you doing about it? Don’t wait until spring, take care of it now!

Are you nurturing your business, your people, and yourself, as well as you nurture your crop? The “offseason” is a great time to show appreciation to your staff, family, and yourself.

From the Home Quarter

Your business is like your crop. It requires constant attention. It requires quick action when situations
arise. And it is far easier to act fast if you’ve put the time into preparing contingencies. Your business
needs to be nimble and act fast when appropriate. Information is coming at us faster than ever, and in
greater volumes. Business happens at the speed of the internet, and knee-jerk reactions are rarely the
best business decisions you can make. Every year you put together a full crop plan; do you do the same
for your business?

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