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ARTICLES >> Working on your Business

July Feature: Business Boot Camp

Posted by Bestprac on Jul 06 2010

By Liz Guerin

If Boot Camp is a term that conjures images of dawn starts, intense yelling and excessive push ups, then attending the Business Boot Camp at Dubbo might quickly change your mind.

But make no mistake, designed to be a full business workout, it IS about hard work, intensity and discipline...and lots of it.

22 participants from various regional Bestprac groups are currently being put through their paces not only developing a business plan for their own situation, but at the completion of the course will walk away with a Diploma in Rural Business Management.

HEADS DOWN: Bootcamp participants work on their business plans as part of the Diploma level course being held at Dubbo





HEADS DOWN: Bootcamp participants work on their business plans as part of the Diploma level course being held at Dubbo

Born from a need to examine individual rural businesses from a higher strategic level, Director and Senior Consultant of Vanguard Business Services, Mark Gardner said that the Bootcamp course is unlike any other.

“A lot of courses offered in the past have been technical or operational but the feedback we were getting was that people really wanted to get in amongst it and there wasn’t a course to meet that need” Mr Gardner said.

Developed in collaboration with Western College (a Registered Training Organisation), the Bootcamp course has coincided with the best seasonal conditions in ten years prompting many people to look at where their current business position is and strategically planning where it is heading.

“When we sent out initial expressions of interest for the Bootcamp program, we were inundated with responses in less than two days” said Mr Gardner.

Having been underway for six months, interest in the Bootcamp course shows no indication of waning. So much so that when a local Bestprac group met recently, discussion regarding the course and the benefits as related by current Bootcamp participants had Bestprac members wanting to sign up on the spot.

“Despite the Bootcamp course being a lot of work and a big time commitment, we’ve had 100% success rate in terms of attendance and assignments” said Mr Gardner. “In addition, group members are travelling up to 300 kilometers to be involved, so we feel that the course is well and truly hitting its mark.”

Recently nominated for a NSW Training Industry Award, the Bootcamp program involves ten topics, each of which then becomes a chapter in member’s Business Plan. With topics as diverse as managing staff, OHS roles and responsibilities, managing climate variability, business management, enterprise examination, succession planning and marketing, Mr Gardner said that at the completion of the course as well as achieving a Diploma level qualification, participants will have created a manual that looks at every little dark corner of their business.

“They’ll have something that they can update annually, drag off the shelves and present to consultants, advisors and bank managers” said Mr Gardner. “It is an incredibly valuable document not only for family members coming into the business, it but also for family members moving out of the business they are leaving their intellectual knowledge and corporate history behind.”

The Bootcamp group is diverse, involving Bestprac group members from the Rangelands, mixed farmers, high rainfall and irrigators.

“What we’re finding is that swapping experiences from regions can be incredibly useful. The group are really enjoying the different perspectives each group member brings and are enjoying learning from each other as much as the defined topics.”

Based on feedback received, Mr Gardner says that the course is having a very real impact on people’s businesses.

“The rewarding part is that farmers’ high level professional skills are being recognised and a long term learning legacy is being created” he said. “Even before the Bootcamp members have graduated, they are enthusiastically asking what they are going to do next year.”

Whilst the first intake of Business Bootcampers often laugh about Bootcamp being defined as a correctional facility using training techniques to teach acceptable patterns of behaviour, they admit that the course is also about identifying and changing patterns of behaviour.

“Group members are encouraged to consider what patterns of behaviours they want in their businesses, and those they don’t” said Mark. “Part of that is about discipline and fostering a disciplined approach and Bootcampers have really responded to that.”


Last changed: Feb 07 2012



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