Pieter du Toit – Managing Director Dutoit Group
1. Balance is key to (agri) life.
As in many parts of life, agriculture demands delicate balance. On the one hand you have to develop a predictable business case that will appeal to investors. On the other, you have to understand and manage the variable realities of farming life, including weather. Coming from the audit profession, I can testify that it isn’t easy, but it can be done.
2. Challenge your assumptions.
It’s important to challenge your basic assumptions when planning for the future, and to learn how to actively build negative events into your scenarios. This naturally creates a conservative business outlook, which is good for risk management, and which also allows you to balance the realities of the spreadsheet-based economy and farming under the open skies.
3. Passion creates focus, and focus is key to success.
It takes a special kind of single mindedness to succeed as a farmer. In my experience, often this results from passion. If you have a genuine love for the product and for the culture of agriculture, you have a shot at creating a great career.
4. Successful sales agents make farmers their best friends.
The best sales agents are often technical gurus. They achieve an in-depth understanding of what they’re selling by attending farmer days, doing training courses and joining study tours. They also live close to the growing and packing side of the business through regular visits. In other words… they make farmers their best friends.
5. Inspiration matters.
You learn a lot from watching what people you respect do, and I’ve found my inspiration near and far.
My parents were a true example of living in faith, taking on big projects and following a calling to make the world a better place. My uncle was also an excellent example of positive living with a true soft human approach.
I have been equally inspired by South Africa’s successful start-up farmers. The true agri heroes who have taken on the risk and fought through all the challenges of farming in SA, and who are now running great businesses, and who keep on proving that even the most ambitious plans are possible.
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