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The things we leave to those left behind…


What if I died tomorrow? At the risk of sounding macabre, this is a legitimate question.

If you own a dairy, you own a highly complex, functioning business that generates a hefty sales revenue. Have you ever considered the size of your business?

100 cow dairy:$500,000 in annual sales

500 cow dairy:$2,500,000 in annual sales

1,000 cow dairy:$5,00,000 in annual sales

2,500 cow dairy:$12,500,000 in annual sales

To put this in perspective, a franchise unit has the following annual sales:

Subway:$422,000

McDonalds:$2,700,000

Chick-fil-A:$5,000,000

How many businesses of this size operate without a fully functioning succession plan? Do you have a succession plan? Is it written down? Has it been communicated to those you’d leave behind? Is it FUNCTIONING???

A functioning succession plan is one that is being implemented right now! It means that all the things that you do can be done by other people. Most businesses have a manager (likely you) and an assistant manager. Who is your assistant manager? Is it your spouse, your son, your daughter or a key employee? Have you ever told them you trust them? Have you trained them in all aspects of your job?


A true leader is constantly working themselves out of jobs. This allows others in the business to grow and learn the essential parts of the business. The interesting dynamic that follows is that it is impossible for a great leader to actually work themselves out of a job. As they free up time by helping others grow, they use this time to pursue more and better opportunities for the business and the cycle continues.

The cool side benefit of becoming a great leader is that you can take that 2 week trip that you’ve always promised your spouse you’d take……and things will be running smoothly when you come back. Or, if it is a permanent absence from your farm, you can rest quietly, confident that those you left behind are caring for the business as successfully and with as much enjoyment as you did.


Insights from Dr. Kevin Hoogendoorn, DVM, Creator and Owner of the ZISK dairy app.

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