Transform Ideas Into Actionable Items

Improve the business by following a strategic plan

By: Tery Tanner, PeopleFirst business solutions manager, Zoetis

Owners and managers often get so caught up working in the business that they don’t take time to work on the business.

As you make plans to spend more time on your operation or business in 2014, complete this sentence: “In 2019, I will be successful when ________.” And then ask yourself this: “In 2014, what am I going to do to make that happen?” Addressing this important question can help bring stability to your agriculture business, cattle operation, equine facility or veterinary clinic. Rather than creating resolutions, think of it as strategic planning.

As the first step in a formal business plan, strategic planning helps businesses increase profitability and reduce risk caused by market factors. In fact, organizations that use strategic planning are proven to be more successful and last longer.1,2 A recent study points out that 67% of businesses that failed did not have a written strategic plan.2

A good strategic plan will look out three to five years and describe clearly how the business will flourish. Planning takes resources and time, but there are many reasons it can help improve the business.

  • Sets direction and priorities: Planning defines top goals and priorities and establishes a process to reach them.
  • Helps gain alignment: Everyone in the organization needs to work toward common goals and understand the value of his or her role in accomplishing these.
  • Improves efficiency: Planning helps make good use of resources and time.
  • Identifies a competitive advantage: The company needs to be in a better position in the marketplace.
  • Spurs creativity: The planning process can bring new and innovative ideas to the table.

Once a plan is developed and written, the key to success is implementation and follow-through. Make certain that strategies are communicated across the organization so everyone has a responsibility for achieving these items. A facilitator or consultant also can help ensure your team is following the right strategies and meeting these objectives on schedule.

The agriculture industry is filled with change, volatility, uncertainty and opportunity. Surviving uncertainties requires following a plan. Whether it’s building new facilities or getting better training for supervisors or employees, spend time this year not only creating a plan but following it to ensure the long-term success of your business.

Visit for more ways to develop your operation or business, leadership and employees.

About the author

Tery Tanner is a business solutions manager for PeopleFirst at Zoetis. She works with cattle producers, equine business owners and veterinarians to meet their human resources training, development and leadership needs.

PeopleFirst is the industry’s first comprehensive human capital solutions program. These services were created in direct response to challenges customers expressed with managing today’s complex operations. For more help on employee and business management solutions, talk with a certified consultant, such as the ones available through PeopleFirst. Visit to learn more.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion. With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit

Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the American Veterinary Medical Association of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health.

Download a high-resolution photo of Tery Tanner, PeopleFirst business solutions manager, Zoetis.

For further information, Contact:

Jessica Wolf 

Lindsey Langemeier
Bader Rutter


1 M3 Planning. 2006 strategic business performance study. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2013.
2 Terri Zwierzynski. Top 10 business plan myths of solo entrepreneurs. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2013.



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