Blame Kenny Chesney. He didn’t sing “She thinks my spreadsheet’s sexy.” Across all genres, I’d bet there is no one immortalizing accountants, bankers, and financial analysts in song.
Chesney’s 1999 release, She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy is one of my favorites. At a time when farming didn’t get much attention and wasn’t garnering a lot of respect, it was a feel good jam that pumped me up every time I heard it. Seventeen years later, it still does.
Please realize that my opening statement above is tongue-in-cheek. I do not hold Kenny Chesney accountable for why tractors are sexier than spreadsheets. But the question still begs, why are spreadsheets unpopular when compared to tractors? Both are tools with specific uses. Both tools are effective, highly powerful, and multi-functioning. Both can create efficiency that is almost immeasurable.
Business owners can hire someone to run either tool, the tractor or the spreadsheet. If you were to follow one of the cornerstones of my advice, “Do what you do best, and get help for the rest,” then you’ve already likely hired someone to drive the tractor, right?
A long tenured ag professional, who will remain nameless, recently during a conversation with me describing one of his frustrating client experiences quipped,”If driving tractors is more important than running the business, we’re very near the end.” We laughed at the absurdity of the words, yet were stymied by their truth.
In a meeting with a client recently, we were discussing their growing ability to gather data from their operations. They shared the question posed by their equipment specialist “What are you going to do with all this data?” I instantly shot back,”Just collect it; we’ll figure out how to use it.” The goal is to make data collection a natural part of business activity, a habit, not a challenging task on the ever growing “To Do List.”
What we will do with that data, collected in part by/from the tractor, is more than likely import it to a spreadsheet. In that spreadsheet, we will be able to delve into the figures, sort them into a usable format, and ultimately make decisions that are more informed than ever before.
Does running the tractor take priority over running the spreadsheet? Why?
If you’re not running your spreadsheet, who is? Does this pose a risk in your mind?
Do you make equipment purchase decisions without consulting the spreadsheet?
From the Home Quarter
Informed decisions lead to higher profitability. Higher profitability has a way of reducing risk. Reducing risk increases confidence.
Since spreadsheets make for informed decisions which ultimately increases confidence, and since confidence is sexy, doesn’t that make spreadsheets sexy?
Back to you Mr. Chesney…