Since farming is a part of a "system," like any business, and is unique and complicated, the farmers enrolled in the Farm Business Management Program work to simplify the complicated. On their farms, during the year, they design and review four things: Write their Plan, Measure their Progress, Review their Goals and finally, Follow their Plan for Improving the Business.
In thinking of many of those who are very successful, these four things have consistent characteristics with each of them. The plan should be your own; based on the past production, income and expenses; with an eye to what is going on now, and the changes which are occurring now and in the near future.
In measuring progress, only you can know if you are succeeding. Are you accomplishing what you intended to do at the beginning of the plan? How close you are to accomplishing the promises you made in your plan? This is a tremendous, somewhat objective, indicator of your progress.
Also be certain your plans and all your work are consistent with your clear, concise, written goals. Are you going where you want to go? This is a good thing to check before you move forward, potentially in the wrong direction.
Finally, as you improve your business, consider that the buildings, machinery and equipment purchases should be prioritized into which item gets you the best return for the money spent. Write down a "wish list" of capital improvements and a schedule of replacement for machinery and equipment. If you do this, in this organized, possibly prioritized manner, the purchased item and improvements will allow you to build the farm with less debt and more profit.
Coordinate these four things, and your life will get a little easier.
(This information is from Mark Berg, Farm Business Management Instructor at Detroit Lakes)