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Pharo: A low-cost solution is often better than a mechanical answer
Ohio Correspondent

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Problems are a part of life. How those problems are solved and where to find solutions make a difference, said Kit Pharo, a Cheyenne Falls, Colo. cow/calf producer and the keynote speaker at the 2006 Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council’s annual meeting at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Bromfield Administration Building.

Pharo told the audience that Americans sometimes look for a chemical, technical or mechanical solution to a problem, rather than looking for a no cost, or low cost, solution.

“Go back and look at the problem and see if it really is a problem after all,” he said. “It may not be that much of a problem, it may be an opportunity in disguise.”

During his presentation, Pharo discussed nine other business principles that the group of farmers, extension and industry people should take into consideration.

First and foremost, he said, integrity and honesty must never be compromised.

“If your business is not based on honesty and integrity, it will eventually crumble,” he said. “Doing what is right, may not be popular and doing what is popular may not always be right.”

Success is an attitude, more than anything else.

“Successful people learn from their mistakes,” he said. “They seldom blame others.”

Think outside the box, don’t worry about what others are thinking and doing.

“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” he said. “No one ever said it was going to be easy, but you need to know when to hold, and know when to fold. Be tough, but don’t be stupid.”

Every cloud has a silver lining. The solution to most problems is obvious, but many times we just don’t always see it, according to Pharo.

“Failure to plan is as serious as planning to fail, if not more serious,” he said. “Take time for management and goal setting. Put together a management team, the time that you spend with them will pay back enormously.”

Don’t try to compete without a competitive edge, according to Pharo.

“You are competing with other businesses for a share of the consumer’s dollar,” he said. “Look for ways to give yourself a competitive advantage. Sell people what they want instead of what they need. A lot of people are selling products instead of a commodity.

“Tell the story behind the product.”

Finally, if your business depends on you, you don’t have a business, you have a job and you are probably working for a lunatic, according to Pharo.

“What would happen to your business if something happened to you,” he asked.

“You have to make plans to deal with this. What are you doing to make it possible for the business to survive on its own? Do you have a succession plan or a generation transition plan in place? If not, you are not thinking things through.”

This farm news was published in the March 15, 2006 issue of Farm World.