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It’s my joy in travelling to meet energetic young entrepreneurs who have been grounded by their farm experiences. Last December in Montreal I met the passionate founder of Silver Lining Limited, Carissa Reiniger, who is now 28. Carissa’s common sense approach and SLAP™ system is giving a workable template to small business owners who want better cash flow and more capacity to get things done profitably .

Chicken farmers have used her system to generate more revenue and achieve their one-year wonder goals. SLAP™ helps folks break down their revenue streams on a unit cost basis and honours the quarterly goals that need to be executed in order to grow revenue. Carissa believes that the whole point of being in business is to be doing what you love, profitably !

The challenge I see with young farmers is that they want to treat their farms and other enterprises like a business, but may need to focus more on working on the business revenue, expenses, action items, not just showing up for the routine daily chores or going where the next crisis is calling them.

Here’s some questions that the SLAP system asks:

Is there consistency in your revenue streams?

What is the largest driving source of revenue for you ?

How much/little time are you spending on each revenue stream?

What is aggressive, reasonable and measurable for you to earn in 2011?

Farmers work hard, but they also need to work smart…on the things and systems that will generate revenue, and keep an eye on the “cash burn” of expenses.

The SLAP™ website at www.silverlininglimited.com is a great place to check out what the SLAP™ system has to offer, but be advised that you need to be generating at least $100K of revenue annually to engage.

What hit me about Carissa’s message is that small actions that are executed on a daily basis to hit quarterly targets can make a big difference. She vents and rants on paper the multitude of action items needed, and then slots 20 actionable items per month, 60 per quarter that will move her ahead to the quarterly targets, and ultimately the year’s wonder goal. I took this to heart and mapped out the quarters on a large post-it® flipchart paper on my office door. What would it look like to your business if you had action items written down, instead of mulling in your brain ?

Carissa’s grandparents were farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, her farm memories ground her. She has trained large ag. corporations with her SLAP™ approach. She thinks farmers can be more profitable, and that the agricultural sector can grow when people take the time to put systems into place. Her software and franchise operation in Swift Current is testimony that rural areas can embrace business growth to help business owners generate more revenue and enjoy the lifestyle they chose, while doing what they love.

Here’s  Carissa’s 5 tips for young farmers :

1. Don’t let age stop you, use your passion and “gung-ho” attitude to go for it. Carissa is 28, has high net worth, and yet has a passion to raise 52 Ugandan children to adulthood. Money to her is not the main thing, but using it for good drives her passion of helping small businesses grow.

2.Get really clear about the relationships of the family business and put things in proper roles. Talk about equity, vision, and have written agreements in place.

3.Be clear about what YOU really want, not what you “should” be doing so that you like your life and you are clear about what your role in the business is to be.

4. Figure out what you are good at and then build a team around you to fill in the gaps.

5. Innovate in agriculture and your business, be willing to “change farming up” says Carissa. She sees huge potential for growth with the use of technology and the resource sector.

For those young farmers and entrepreneurs who want a boost of inspiration and the foundation of the SLAP process go to www.silverlininglimited.com and check out Carissa’s book  “Inspiring Entrepreneurs…how to build your business to its first million”.

I know many of you reading this are thinking, I can’t do this, and some are thinking, I have a million in assets, I am just cash poor. Whatever your scenario, how about taking that faithful pen and paper and putting it to work ? Think about what you are passionate about. Are you living the lifestyle that fulfills you ? Are you working on your business to generate revenues and profits, not just showing up for work?

What difference would it make if you shut off TSN or HGTV and spent 3 hours every night reading, planning, and visioning how you want to grow your business?

Entrepreneurial young farmers are typically honoured in the Outstanding Young Farmers Awards . Perhaps you should take them out for a “virtual lunch” or phone them for inspiration, or read their stories. Young farmers who are frustrated waiting for parents to share ownership of the farm equity might just want to prove themselves by building their own enterprises that fit the landscape of the home farm operation. The internet offers huge potential for viral marketing, global learning, and finding out trends and needs.

Carissa cautions that the lack of capacity is a huge barrier to business growth. We need to focus and execute our plans to generate revenue. What is the next step for you to find the silver lining in the cloud of agriculture that is floating in your head?

Tell me your good news story, and let’s inspire each other to grow profitably.

Entrepreneurs need to remember that they can create things to do what they love.” Carissa Reiniger.

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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