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 traditions and ways of thinking.
As we have discussed in previous PCC Updates and Newsletters, there have always been more opportunities to advance in a down market than in an up market. For example, more millionaires were made during the Great Depression of the 1930s than at any other time in history. The fact that more and more status quo producers are struggling to make a decent living, indicates there will soon be more and more opportunities for others to advance. In a world that seems to be filled with whiners, complainers and blamers, it’s extremely refreshing to visit with people who are totally excited about the future.
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 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 many options and opportunities. The time is right! There is always 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 non-traditional beef has been on the increase for several 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, 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., etc. Status quo producers, however, never take the time to identify their competitive advantages. 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, your kids and grandkids will probably end up working for someone who did.
What about YOU? Most cow-calf producers started out with much more than just a cowboy hat and a dream. What is preventing them from being as successful as those who started out with much less? For the most part, they are unable to make their hopes and dreams come true because they are afraid to break away from the so-called “comfort” of the status quo herd. What about you? Are you as happy and as successful as you would like to be? Are you creating a good future for the next generation? Are you doing what needs to be done to avoid having regrets when you come to the end of this life?