Richard Rains is well known as one of Australia’s most successful beef exporters.
At a dinner marking his retirement from Sanger Australia a few years ago, a colleague told the assembled guests that the pioneering exporter had added exactly “zero” to the business.
When Mr Rains took on the business, the colleague explained, it had an annual revenue of $50 million.
By the time he left some 37 years later, it had annual revenue of $500 million.
Therein lay the “zero” Mr Rains had added to the business.
Ask how that successful growth was achieved, and Mr Rains responds with two answers: one – a great team, and two – a great relationship with the bank, founded upon having financial systems in place that ensured he knew exactly how the business was positioned financially at any point in time.
Mr Rains told Beef Central that the message is no different for cattle production businesses: “You can’t make a clear decision going forward if you don’t know what your exact position is at the time.”
Mr Rains will share his views in a webinar next Wednesday to launch a new financial tool developed for cattle producers by James Walker’s Agrihive, with support from Meat & Livestock Australia, Government and private funding.
The “Farmecco” program has been designed to provide a simply way for livestock producers with no accounting knowledge to quickly obtain a detailed bank-ready picture of their financial position, in their own home or office.
The information generated by the tool can then be used to make informed decisions about debt management, capital improvements or operational decisions such as when to buy or sell stock. More information can be found in this earlier Beef Central article.
Mr Rains said there was an attitude in past generations that banks should be “told nothing and left in the dark”.
But as a result many businesses did not receive the funding support they needed and their ability to grow was constrained.
Mr Rains said his attitude when he took over Sanger was to bring the banks “right inside the business” and keep them informed of all developments, good or bad.
“None of it (Sanger’s growth) would have been possible if we hadn’t been well funded,” Mr Rains said.
“The fact we were bearing all to them all of the time gave my bankers the confidence that we knew exactly where every dollar was.
“We had systems in place that gave me a report every day in terms of who had paid their bills and who was overdue and what money was due to come in next week.
“I knew exactly where I was, the banks knew exactly where I was, and they were happy to give me substantial facilities to allow me to grow my business.
“Systems are terribly important, and knowing your financial situation at a snapshot is paramount.”
The Farmecco launch webinar will be commence at Midday on Wednesday, May 10, AEST.
The free one-hour webinar will be hosted by leading Australian rural journalist Peter Lewis, from Way with Words media, with presenters including Richard Rains and Meat & Livestock Australia managing director Richard Norton.
For more details or to register click here