I am fortunate enough to know several very successful cattlemen who started out with nothing more than a cowboy hat and a dream. They did what everyone in the status quo herd said could not be done. I have always been greatly impressed and inspired by such people. Some of these people did not even have an agricultural background. In my opinion, that was more of a blessing than a curse. They were not handicapped or hindered by status quo ways of thinking and traditions.
As we discussed in last week’s PCC Update, there have always been more opportunities to advance in a down market than in an up market. The fact that cattle prices are headed for an unknown bottom will soon provide the opportunity to advance that many have been waiting for. In a world full of pessimistic people who are very concerned about the future, it is extremely refreshing to visit with an optimistic person who is excited about the future. One person’s problem will soon become another person’s opportunity.
Getting started in the cattle business does not require that you own land. If you do not already own land, do not purchase any until you can do so with your profits. I did not own any land for the first ten years that I was in the cattle business. Getting started in the cattle business doesn’t require that you own cattle either – at least not in the beginning. The only thing required is knowing how to be profitable. Be very careful who you listen to, though, when you seek knowledge. Most of the status quo information that is floating around free of charge will take you in the wrong direction.
The money you have should be invested in things that will provide a relatively quick payback or return. You should also consider turnover. The more times you can turn over the money you have, the more opportunities you will have to increase profit. With that in mind, you might consider taking a course in Bud Williams Marketing. The cost of using someone else’s money has never been as cheap as it is right now. I hate debt, but it can be a great tool when properly used. Long story short, use your money (or someone else’s money) to make more money – NOT to fill your shop or garage.
As I look around… I see hundreds of options and opportunities. The time is right! There is a need for custom graziers who know how to get the most out of every ray of sunshine and drop of rain that falls on the land they control. There are niche markets popping up everywhere you look. Consumer demand for organic and natural products has been increasing for many years. Consumer demand for grass-finished beef is growing by leaps and bounds. There are not enough producers to even come close to meeting the demand. Keep in mind, though, that you cannot produce acceptable grass-finished beef with high-maintenance, status quo genetics.
Each and every one of us have unique competitive advantages based on our location, our personality, our experiences, our acquaintances, etc. Most producers, however, never take the time to identify their competitive advantages because they are afraid to leave the comfort of the status quo herd. They fail to realize they must be different to truly excel. The first step to becoming extraordinary is to stop being ordinary. Don’t be afraid to dream. Dream BIG while you are at it! Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. If you’re afraid to follow your dreams, you may spend the rest of your life working for someone who did.