Growing a small precision farming dealership — especially during the last year — hasn’t been easy. But the pandemic aside, the ability for ownership of a one-store or single-digit employee operation to expand its business is a challenge.

From anticipating opportunities to adapting to change — the flexibility that small precision businesses tend to enjoy can also be a limiting factor — without the right structure and foresight.

This is a developmental void in the ag industry that long-time independent precision dealer Tim Norris had seen and experienced. The realization led to a partnership with Belinda Hughes, an experienced financial advisor of small business, and the launch of Box Concepts Consulting this month.

The Ohio-based company will specialize in providing a 5-sided approach to 5-10 employee companies — primarily in the precision ag space — that defines vision, team, products, customers and resources.

Norris notes that one of the pitfalls that small business leadership tends to fall into — himself included — is hiring only like-minded people to try and expand the business. This approach can stunt the growth of a dealership, preventing owners from working on the business rather than in it.         

My first hire, I was like, I need a clone. I need somebody that can do what I’m doing and do things the way I do them. So I hired someone that was along those lines and then kept going with that second, third or fourth team member and hire a clone again. And you end up getting 4 people on your team and all 4 have the same passion and drive and skill sets that you have. But you end up lacking the person with the skill set of doing some of the things you don’t want to do, like on the accounting side or having a vision for the company. Maybe you have that vision, but you aren’t able to spend time on the business.”

Norris adds that Box Concepts has 2 dealerships enrolled in its consulting program, with an expectation of working with 6-8 companies per year.