Success Strategies: ‘Three pearls’ of life and business
By John Ellsworth
I recently attended my son’s graduation ceremony at the College of Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and had the pleasure of hearing the commencement address of Kristen Yetter, President of Promega Biosciences Corporation. During her address, she introduced “Three Pearls” of life and business, which entail solid advice for any new graduate, and possibly the rest of us as well. They are:
1) Learn to see yourself through the eyes of others and then improve.
2) Find your passion!
3) Get involved with making the world a better place for all.
I started to think about these three pearls and decided they would provide an excellent foundation for a column. Let’s explore them.
1) How can we learn to see ourselves through the eyes of others? I know we can do this as we market the many positive virtues of the dairy industry. However, how about on a more local level? What does your banker see when she looks at your dairy operation? Is she seeing regular profits, or just an occasional small return on equity? Are your loan-to-value percentages in line with industry standards? Are you always in compliance with your loan covenants? If being profitable were deemed a crime, would you be at risk of getting arrested? After all, your lender believes in you. Otherwise, they would not have approved your loan to begin with. Are you looking at your business and doing all you can to remain profitable and in compliance?
2.) Find your passion! Do you really have a passion for your business? I saw numerous producers exit the dairy industry during 2012, some because they were forced to from a financial standpoint. Others left because they were tired of achieving meager returns in their operations. I certainly do not blame them for doing so. However, getting back to your passion level, are you still excited about the business? I hope so, but if not, I suggest you give some serious thought to what else you might be more passionate about. 2012 was a tough year, especially on feed costs, but there is a distinct possibility upcoming years may be just as challenging on feed prices, availability of financing or future milk prices. If you choose to be in this business, or any business, find your passion for it!
3) Get involved with making the world a better place for all. Are you actively involved in making the world around us a better place to live? Are you serving on any industry boards or non-profits outside our industry? This is about having balance, rather than just chasing money, and definitely is about having a good attitude. I often hear people complain about how their industry is going. I am thankful that we live in a country that provides us with the choices we have, such as whether we should stay in a business or not ...
There are three types of people in the world: Those that make things happen; some who watch things happen; and others who ask, “What happened?” As I said in my December column, I know 2012 has been a tough year. It hasn’t been fun for any of us, including our bankers. But which of these three groups will you join? Will you make things happen? I hope so, and wish you the very best for a prosperous 2013!
Maintain your focus on what really matters, not the crisis of the week. Be sure to check out our website. You’ll find many articles and tools there. I hope you find them helpful.
What’s next? It’s your move.
• John Ellsworth of Modesto, Calif., is a consultant with the financial and strategic consulting firm Success Strategies. He can be reached at 209-988-8960, or by e-mail: email@example.com. Visit www.success-strategies.com.