What did your grandparents teach you?

I listened to a radio piece the other day on this topic. Politeness, table manners and respect of people were among recurring themes. All contributors believed these had stood them in good stead through thick and thin. It made me think, in the context of my work helping farmers,  what I had learnt in my formative years, not just from grandparents, but also from lecturers at University?

Communication, respect, politeness, empowerment, trust and  gratitude are key elements for successful management of staff (and family members) to get the best out of people for your business. Take two minutes to score yourself on how you are with those around you. As my grandmother said to me: “treat others as you would like to be treated yourself”.

“Look before you leap”. “Take your time”. In these challenging times, business planning and management should be core activities. Time spent in an office planning cash flow, developing a marketing strategy, preparing a proper cost benefit investment analysis, and managing risk are just as important as feeding stock or spraying crops in the long run.

“Don’t get  stuck in your ways.” Need I say more than the man below?

Co-operate. Our agricultural industry has been evolving ever since caveman stepped out of his cave! The process is continuing now and I believe businesses co-operating with businesses, on whatever scale, will make them stronger in the market place, whether locally or worldwide.

To conclude , my bullet point checklist for sound business management through thick and thin is as follows:

  • People – treasure them
  • Business management  – invest time in it
  • Cash  – manage it
  • Change  – embrace it
  • Collaboration – expand your horizons

There is no better place to start than our Cereals and Oilseeds Monitor Farms in the South West. Existing ones continue at Crediton and Bath, new ones starting this Summer at Truro and Blandford. Details of dates and times are on our South West Regional page.



Taunton-based Philip joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds from HSBC Agriculture, where he was Senior Agriculture Manager in the South West region. Having studied agriculture at university, Philip spent seven years as a Senior Business Management Consultant with ADAS before developing his career with HSBC. He brings substantial business management experience to the Regional Team, and a detailed understanding of the complexities of the industry in the region.