The Hawke’s Bay fruit growing industry has seen a steady stream of challenges over the last few years, mostly outside of the control of orchardists. Growers have needed to continuously make personal management decisions that can either manage or mitigate any negative downstream effects to their business operations.
After being in the Hawke’s Bay fruit industry for over 35 years I have come to realise that things will never remain the same. Successful growers are those that change at the right speed for the business, keep the mistakes to a minimum and work very hard to ensure they have the best luck possible.
Many of the decisions that brought success to the top growers in the 1990’s, were superseded with “more important challenges” in the 2000’s and again in the 2010’s. I believe we are again at another pivot point in time for the industry.
It is easier to be successful if you fully understand your business, and where your best efforts need to be now and into the future. Working hard in the wrong area of your business does not help the final outcome.
A successful grower should be able to answer the following:
What limiting factors within my business are having the greatest impact on my current financial sustainability?
1. Do I know what success looks like for these limitations?
2. Do I know how I rate compared to other growers?
3. Once the limitation I need to improve is identified, who will I use to help me find and deliver the solutions?
4. What new challenges are coming in the future?
5. How is my business set up for managing my way through to get the best possible outcomes?
It is also important to plan what your own future business success looks like.
1. Are you driving your business to maximise ongoing profitability? Or planning towards a successful exit strategy?
2. When are you looking to step out?
3. Who is likely to take over?
4. What will growers be looking for when you want to move on?
5. Are you creating an orchard business that will be seen as having on going value or will it be seen as being a remove and replant situation?
6. How do you ensure your short and medium term business success is maximized along the way?
Many growers are keen to get the pruning under way at this time of the year, but it is also critical to clearly understand the business direction you are looking to take. Make sure your on-orchard management decisions are taking you on the right path.
Jonathan Brookes AgFirst HB Ltd