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Making It Series: Three Facts About Hay

Proverbs 10:5  “He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, {But} he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.” – The Bible, New American Standard Version (1995)

We’ve all heard the saying: “Make hay while the sun shines.” Everyone’s sage grandma, uncle, papa, etc. has admonished us at some point to get up and get moving while the conditions are ripe and we have the opportunity to do so. Were it only that simple. I applaud the most disciplined among us who have the wherewithal to day in and day out follow their plan to the letter. That level of discipline and single-mindedness necessary to focus on only on the topic at hand is truly a virtue – or is it? Perhaps it’s just a learned skill. I haven’t mastered it yet but I plan to. I plan to make hay.

hay_field_bale_summer

Are you making hay?

Usually my mind tends to wander. I’ll think about the five other tasks that I should have completed or those scheduled for later. I can look up an hour later and the tasks sit there like the draft emails that you know you’ll never send. Other times, I’m stopped short of action by an unreasonable, paralyzing fear. But what I have learned in my over ten years of small business is that if I’m to survive and be able to care for myself in my old age, I’d best develop the required talent and discipline necessary to make hay now.

Fact #1: You cannot speed up the process so study the system.

Like hay production, every business or industry has a natural rhythm and cycle. Understanding your profits and productivity will make it easier for you to save effectively, manage cash flow and provide steady work for your team. You must study your particular field and know exactly when your hay will be ready to cut. According to the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, in hay production, “most species, when cut at the proper stage of growth, will provide adequate crude protein and energy content to meet nutritional needs of all livestock.” When it’s too early, there’s too much moisture – it’s not ready. This often happens when business owners are too quick to market and don’t have the patience to let their idea mature a bit more. The same thing happens with personal decisions. Making moves before your hay is ready can set you back. But if you grab it too late the hay loses its nutritional value – like a product that’s outlived its usefulness. Putting off necessary tasks can cause you to miss the window of opportunity. Waiting too long to capitalize on your work can be just as disappointing.  You’ve got to be ready and know when to get it done.

Fact #2:  The steps are ordered. Follow them.

You are neither the first nor the last person to handle business. There are a few designated stars who revolutionize industries, but even those pathfinders find a way to integrate hard and true facts into their models. If you’re a business owner, read the information and memoirs of those who were transparent enough to share their history. The same goes for simply living a better life. Dancing to your own drummer and following some societal rules are not mutually exclusive. In the hay industry, the hay must be cut, dried/cured, raked, gathered, baled and then stored. The big boys use large mobile balers while small farmers use a tractors, but the process doesn’t change. We’ve seen big and small businesses fail due to mismanagement and stubborn leadership. Families have been torn apart by money squabbles and unwise spending. But if we work toward goals in the most orderly or strategic fashion possible, folks are likely to see positive change. If you follow the steps, you will make good hay.

Fact #3:  Store properly and you’ll be well fed when the rain comes.

There’s no “if” the rain comes. It’s “when.” The rain or tough times in any life or enterprise will happen. If you haven’t seen them yet, I again refer to the elders who would look at us and say just keep living. They learned that if you are blessed with long life, you’ll be tested and tried by difficulties. But if you plan, understand your position and store accordingly, most of the time you will be be able to outlast the storms. The security of knowing that you’ve saved adequately or planned well can give you many nights of restful sleep.

So folks, that means that you’ve got to take out those calendars, five-year plans and tasks sheets to see where you are on your making hay cycle. Stay focused and practice the discipline required to be the most prudent and productive possible. Now let’s go make hay.

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This entry was posted on 12/04/2012 by in All About the Business, Cup of Coffee and tagged , , , , , , , .
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