Monday, 20 May 2019

How to review your business in six easy steps

This month Neil Pickard, AHDB knowledge exchange manager, talks about the new 60 minute farm review and how you can review your business in six easy steps.

It’s hard to put in the time to think about your business performance when you’re busy actually doing the work. And what would be the benefits of doing so anyway, you know what you’re doing.

But do you actually have a clear picture of what your major costs are and how your herd or flock are performing? Will there really be a benefit from buying that extra piece of machinery or are you keeping the right amount of livestock to make maximum use of your grassland?

We’ve been talking to many of you and understand the time pressures, which is why we’ve come up with an easy to use assessment, which should only take about an hour to fill in. And by doing this you will get an immediate overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your business and be able to compare your technical and business performance with other similar farms in England.

What’s the point?

Let’s start with the most obvious – it could help you save money, or put another way, make you more profitable. If you can look at your business and identify that you’re not stocking enough animals for your land, spending too much on machinery or not calving or lambing to achieve the optimum output, then you can start to make small changes to your business.

We’ve tried to make this as easy and quick as possible. You can print the form and write down your figures. We’ve done all the calculation guides for you and will signpost you to any extra information you need along the way. And there’s an easy to identify green, amber and red format for you to follow, with possible solutions if you fall in the amber or red categories.

How do I get started?

The form is on our website. Just print it off and get started. Each section is broken down, so if you only have 10 minutes to spare at a time – break it down into manageable chunks. Our first two sections only take five minutes each, so you could do one while waiting for the kettle to boil and the other while drinking your coffee!

And when you’re finished with your own business assessment, you can see how you compare to other similar farms by accessing farm business survey results.

What happens next?

The next steps are really up to you. There may be easy changes you can make and our Better Return Programme manuals should be able to help you with many of those.

And if you’ve got the appetite to delve deeper, then our Farmbench programme would be the ideal next step. Where you will be able to calculate your actual cost of production for each kilogram of beef and lamb sold. It will also compare the profitability of each of your enterprises which may help you to decide which ones to expand or which to terminate.