Working Less Key to Running a Better Business for New Parents
Kiwis are not known for their willingness to ask for help when they need it, but reaching out has seen one Cantabrian family strike a balance between the demands of a dairy farm and new baby.
Hayden and Line Ferriman are in their fourth season of dairy farming in Ashburton. When the pair welcomed their first child in 2016, they were surprised to find that their new addition revealed an issue affecting the family farming business.
The new parents were fiscally happy with the return from their 200 heifer farm, but they were struggling with how much time they spent working, rather than together.
“Farmers know that there’s always something to do on the farm, our work day isn’t restricted to the nine-to-five. But all the time spent working was taking a toll on our family life. Our finances were fine, but having our daughter, Rosie, made us understand just how much time we weren’t spending together, or on ourselves,” said Hayden.
Defying the Kiwi tendency to face challenges alone, the pair decided to get outside help. It was Lines who found Business Mentors New Zealand, following a quick Google search.
Business Mentors New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation pairing SME owners with local, volunteer mentors around the country. The mentors act as a sounding board for businesses, and regardless of their industry, can assist with challenges, goal planning and growth.
As farm owners, the Ferriman's mentoring fee was fully subsidised through a partnership with the Rural Business Network. Farm owners, farm managers and those looking to start a farming business can also receive fully funded confidential mentoring.
Their mentor, Hugh Jones, has 47 years’ experience in agricultural sector and was able to work with the family on how they ran their business, with no mention of looking at the books.
Hugh says, “When I first met with Hayden and Lines, they were concerned that they no longer had enough quality time together. “It’s common among Kiwi farmers to feel the need to spend all their time in the paddock or in the shed, working day and night. So we worked together to set up a time management system, allocating personal time together, time as a family and time for farm management and planning.”
The changes meant staff knew when Hayden was working, and more importantly, when he wasn’t, allowing Hayden to step back from the farm for days off.
With a happier lifestyle came a better business. The Ferriman's gained perspective and were able to create long term goals and structure. “Not only do we have more time for our family, and for ourselves, we run a better business. Instead of blindly charging ahead we have clear business goals. It’s no longer about what’s just happening tomorrow, it’s about what’s happening a year or two from now” said Lines.