Friday, September 25, 2015

The Farm Whisperer- Coming to a town near you!!!

I'm excited to announce that my new book is out.  It's called, "The Farm Whisperer."  The purpose of this book is to preserve family relationships and preserve farm legacies.

In this book I share my experiences with how some of America's top farm families have tackled tough issues like Shared Ownership, Communication Issues, Compensation Issues and much more.

The book also has a companion app called, "Inspired Questions-For Farmers" that will be a tool that families can use to begin the sometimes uncomfortable conversations that need to take place to ensure the future of these farm businesses.

The book is available on Amazon.

I'm also working on a book tour. (Live and Via Webinar)  My goal is to have this book influence farmers in all 50 states.

If you'd like to bring The Farm Whisperer to your state, shoot me an e-mail or comment below.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Is shared ownership the answer for your family farm?

A few weeks back our family was at grandpa's farm taking some family pictures.  As we were there we were experimenting on a couple of different shots.  This one is of Jhett and Libby on our little John Deere 790.  Our cameraman, Colt Warren caught this picture and I think it tells a great story. 

#1- Everyone loves the family tractor- Whether you are in farming or in some other family business, many people have fond feelings towards the family business or at least parts of it.  Just because everyone loves it doesn't mean that sharing it will be a good idea.  

Example- One family I work with has a family cabin on a beautiful lake.  They all agree that they have many great memories there.  Because of this mom and dad have planned to give it to their kids as a shared ownership asset.  Seems like a good idea at first until the next generation has to begin paying property taxes, maintenance costs and then sharing decision making over house upgrades, scheduling the use of the property etc.  What was once an asset that represented fun and family has now become something that will probably drive a wedge between them.

#2- Who gets to drive, who gets to ride and who has to watch?- This picture illustrates that Libby was interested in being in control.  She didn't want Jhett to ride.  In family business there is a need for clarity regarding who will control the assets and have ultimate say with business decisions.  

Please don't misunderstand, shared ownership can be a wonderful thing.  It can lead to business success and even deepen personal relationships if done right.  However, it should not be assumed that things will just work out well.  There need to be plans in place, structures created, and expectations established for owners, managers and employees.  

If you'd like to learn more about the challenges and opportunities with shared ownership, you should plan on buying my book.  It's called, "The Farm Whisperer" and is coming out very soon.  

Send an e-mail to if you'd like to be notified when it comes out.  

Dave Specht

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sell Like a Plumber!!

As I was driving to town I was thinking about marketing and sales.  I was thinking about how wrong so many professionals in the financial services industry approach their job.  I started thinking of some of my mentors and how they have become successful.  One example of someone doing it right is Randy Johnson, one of my close friends from Nebraska and an extremely successful life insurance professional.  Why is he so successful?  Does he have some secret pitch, some magic close that make people want to buy from him?  Maybe......

Just as I was thinking about what makes him successful I passed a plumber's truck.  Something in my mind clicked.......that was it!  He sells like a plumber!

Let me explain.  Have you ever had a plumber knock on your door and brag about how nice his pipe wrench is or how special his plumber's tape is?  Does he brag that he is smarter than other plumbers to get the opportunity to work for people?  Does he TELL people what he wants to do for them? Probably not.  He ASKS good questions.  He finds out what they really need.

Plumbers are focused on solving people's problems, making people's lives easier, more comfortable.  Plumbers are willing to do the dirty work and get into uncomfortable positions at times to help the customer.  Why don't we all do that?  Why don't we emulate the plumber?  If professionals in the financial services industry would begin to sell like plumbers the public perception would improve and they would be more successful.

I'm going to work on it!  I hope you do too.

In my new book, "The Farm Whisperer" I will unveil several techniques that advisers can use to serve generational farmers to preserve their relationships and perpetuate their farms.  If you want to be one of the first to know about when it will go live, shoot me an e-mail.

Until next time,

Dave Specht

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Parable of the Pumpkin Patch

This summer our family is raising pumpkins.  We got going due to the hard work and the kindness of the Harris boys.  They gave us some pumpkin "starts" and we were off to the races.  Actually, I'd better back up.

The first thing that we did was prepare the ground.  I used my little John Deere 790 and we rototilled the ground and prepared it for planting.  (Real farmers laugh at my little John Deere, but it's pretty handy)

Next we made sure that we had our irrigation system working.  Check.

Then we planted our pumpkin starts and began caring for them.  Taneil, the kids and I water them by hand two or three times per day.  After some discussion, we decided to continue watering the plants by hand for as long as we could.  The discussion went like this, "would you rather weed or water?"  It was quickly decided that minimizing weeding was a top priority.

It's been a few weeks and I've enjoyed hearing Jhett and Reichert talk to their little plants as they water them.  "You can do it little guy."  "Here's a little drink for you."

It's a beautiful thing.

Watching the plants perk up after you give them water has been interesting.  So many little observations that I can learn from.  Here are just a few so far.

1) Sometimes it's better to do what it takes to minimize weeds-
Life is hard enough as it is.  Our choices determine if we will make it harder than it needs to be. Removing weeds to me represents saying we are sorry or repenting of something that we have done wrong.  We've discovered that it is better to just nourish the plant and to not encourage weeds.  I'm trying to do this in my personal life as well.

2) All good things come from consistent and thoughtful work-
As good as our pumpkins are doing, if we ignore them or don't notice when they have problems, we will not be pleased with the ultimate outcome.  Whether it is our physical, mental, relational or spiritual health, if we don't pay attention or give enough time to those areas we won't be pleased with who we become.  I'm working on this as well.

3) We're not raising pumpkins, we're raising kids-
This experience has given me at least 10 minutes each morning and evening to work with my kids, talk to them, laugh with them and just enjoy being outside with them.  As insignificant as 10 minutes seems, it's not!  It's important to me and someday they will look back and they will probably agree that it was good for them too.

Go grow something!

P.S.- I'm writing a book called, "The Farm Whisperer."  In this book I share some common sense approaches that farmers should take to preserve their family relationships and perpetuate their farm operations.  It's not out yet, but if you'd like to be notified when it is available just drop me an e-mail at and put Farm Whisperer in the subject line.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Family Business Sometimes Means Family First

When my 4 year old son broke his leg in a trampoline accident on Sunday evening, my plans for the work week suddenly changed.  As a family business consultant I am constantly working with families on their need to balance the desire to run a successful and profitable business and the need to take care of family needs.  It was now my turn to see what I would do in my own situation. 

My wife is due to give birth to our 5th child in less than 3 weeks so Jhett's injury has really thrown us a curveball.  Because I have my own business I am flexible to change my schedule and work when I would like, so long as I keep my commitments and provide enough revenue for the family.  It is times like these that I am glad that I can intentionally choose my family over my work.  Do I regret not being more professionally productive?  Maybe a little.  Do I feel good about the work I am able to do for my son and my wife?  Absolutely.

Isn't this what family business is all about?  If I didn't have a family, I might not be as passionate about making my business a success.  These times bring life back into perspective for me.  

I love family and I love business!  Life is good!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Family Business on Nebraska Homepage

My Family Business Class was seen here on the University of Nebraska homepage. Even when I try to look smart I fail. :)

Don't my students look interested in what I'm saying?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nebraska Making a Mark in Nevada's Business Law Guide

A Family Business Article that I co-authored with Brent Keele from McDonald Carano Law Firm in Reno, NV showed up on page 4 of Nevada's Business Law Guide.

Check it out.

Any feedback?