Strategic planning should be a part of every business. That includes farm and ranch businesses, says Margot Rudstrom, economist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

"Just as your daily 'to do' list provides a guide for your day's activities, your strategic plan provides a checklist of longer-term goals you want to accomplish," says Ms. Rudstrom.

She says it's not enough to store some plans in your head. They need to be written down so they can be shared with others. She offers the following checklist to get you thinking about strategic planning in your business.