Communication and the One-Page Plan
• Visualise the farm’s goals and aspirations
• Identify key dates and put them in a timeline
• Regularly review and communicate your transition plan
We’ve talked about developing a transition plan and testing it to make sure it stands up, and in this article, we outline how to communicate the plan, so everyone understands it.
The first step might sound obvious, but it is essential to write it to leave no room for interpretation. When we bring clients into the office, we work through our “One-page plan” tool to visualise all aspects of the farm business and plan. In one page, we sketch out short and long-term business goals, who is involved in running the farm and what they do, and a transition plan timeline so everyone can see the goals, who does what and when the transition will happen. The one-page plan does not go into the micro-detail.
This approach aims to get everyone on the same level when they think about the farm’s goals and aspirations. It doesn’t leave anything open to interpretation as family members can come to different conclusions.
It’s an opportunity for the family to focus on that top-level detail that can often be forgotten or pushed aside in the farm’s day-to-day operation. It’s a trigger for events on what needs to be done, like the retirement of the existing generation or fair compensation for off farm siblings and the timing of those key events.
With their one-page plan in place, we encourage our clients to continually look at it and assess whether the goals and aspirations are still relevant or if they need an update. This is particularly the case if something unforeseen happens, like three years of drought creating severe pressure on cash flow.
Do not overlook communication. We recommend families get together every quarter to review their transition plan to keep everyone on the same page and allow them to speak up when things change.
With a one-page plan and a communication strategy in place, you’ll have a document that will get you through challenging times. Speak to your local Sprout Agribusiness representative to learn about how to communicate and put your transition plan in place.