In farming you make decisions all day

with Don Fraser
Fraser Farm Finance

How can you weigh up information to get a better outcome? Have you assembled and considered the information you have available about the subject, and made further enquiries before making a much more informed decision?

I see many people who are given a set of circumstances who’ll quickly make an illogical decision based on emotion, with complete lack of thought, resulting in a very poor outcome.  I’ve recently witnessed a member of a family make an ill-considered decision and is now paying heavily for it.

At university we were trained in good decision-making, the process and the outcome; and I now realise this ability and process is not-top of-mind for everyone.

So how can you do it better? In farming, as you well know, you’re making decisions all day. Each decision is dependent on the other and reflected in the outcome. The difference between good and poor farming on a profit or loss will depend on your interlocking decision making process.

To make an informed decision you need to do a few things. Seek out all you know on the subject. Make enquiries from informed people whose opinion you can trust. Do not ask people who are unsuccessful. Do not ask people who’ll just agree with you without other thought. You need to consider the downside effects. Think about how the decision may affect other facets of your business. Always discuss and seek out your spouse’s opinion.  Because arriving home with a shiny, new unconsidered acquisition without discussing it with your partner could have some major implications on your relationship.

You need to realise that your solicitor and accountant, while trained in their fields, often are unable to offer sound advice either. I’ve seen many people who sought and used only their professional’s advice falter and fail. They can be a great help, but you need to weigh the advice and make your own decision.

Then consider what will happen if you get it wrong as well. And think! Put time aside to think and consider all the factors involved, related and sometimes unrelated. Sometimes it helps to make notes, try to link things together, make mind maps and use this process on paper.

Some people make lists of ‘for’ and ‘against’, but I’m not sure if that drives the logic, but it sure drives you to consider it.

Money is often the bases of the decision-making process. So use a calculator, write it down, and do the numbers. Do a budget and do it all again.

If a lender says ‘no’, take it as a massive hint that he thinks it will not fly. Bankers are trained in this stuff and do it all day.

So please research your subject, consider all the options, seek good advice, talk to various people including your partner and then, and only then, think about it all and make a considered opinion. Failure to do so could see you failing in business, relationships and life.

Disclaimer – These are the opinions of Don Fraser of Fraser Farm Finance. Any decisions made should not be based on this article alone and appropriate professional assistance should be sought. Don Fraser is the principal of Fraser Farm Finance and a consultant to the farming industry. Contact him on 021 777 675.


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