Share Your Story

It’s the anniversary dance at a friend’s wedding. The emcee announces for all married couples to gather on the dance floor. Immediately, the newlyweds are seated, being the most recently married. Then in five-or 10-year increments, couples are dismissed by the number of years they have been married. One couple remains, dancing hand-in-hand like they have for 57 wonderfully wedded years. Don’t you wonder what their story is? What is the secret to their success?

And now you’re wondering what that story has to do with being in business or more specifically the animal nutrition business. The point is, everyone has a story. Everyone, including you. And it is time to tell your story.

According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 28 million small businesses, making up 99.7% of all U.S. businesses. That makes your story one in 28 million! Do you know your story? Do you have a 3-minute “elevator” speech to share with someone if you were mingling at a party or at a networking function where you didn’t know others in the room? Think about it. What is your story? What makes you unique? And I know there is something unique about each and every one of our dealers.

First, determine what your story is. Perhaps, you are an equine enthusiast who became passionate about the products and want to share the products with all of your friends at the barn, show, rodeo, etc… Or, you might be a second-generation dealer who is taking over the reins of the family business – the farm and the feed dealership. Maybe, you are young person who felt there was a void in your “neighborhood” for a high-quality mineral program.

Once you determine what your story is and why you’re passionate about helping animals and their owners, determine who your audience is. Obviously, it is your customers. But, there are potential customers in your everyday lives too. Chances are your doctor or dentist has a dog or maybe even a horse. Do they know that you sell a product that can improve the health and well-being of their four-legged friends? And what about the local service organizations? Rotary, Kiwanis, Sertoma. Those groups are always looking for local businesspeople to come share their stories and how they are involved in the local community. Reach out to them to get on their calendar.

How will you tell your story? Of course, speaking engagements and one-on-one conversations are great. But you probably won’t be able to talk to everyone at one time so use other methods to share your story. Share it on social media. What do you do at the feed store on a daily basis? Did you go out to a customer’s ranch and take forage samples to send in? Document that with pictures to share on Facebook, Instagram or your business web site. People are interested. They have a desire to know what you are doing and how you do it. Explain the process. If you have customer newsletter, devote part of that to your story. Or work with your local paper to have a regular column in it to talk about agriculture and animal health – another great way to share what you are doing.

No, it isn’t always easy to talk about ourselves. And we might not think what we do on a daily basis matters. But remember, as a business you are one in 28 million. You have a story. Share it with those around you. You might be amazed at the positive feedback you receive.

How Employee Personality Profiles Can Save You Turnover Loss

If you’ve ever read the book, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you will understand getting the “right people in the right seats on the bus.” Companies don’t fail because they have bad employees, employees that aren’t trained properly or employees that don’t have the right personality. Companies fail because they don’t have the right people “in the right seats.” In other words, they have great employees, but perhaps they don’t have them in positions where they were meant to succeed.

Employee turnover is costly. There is no real way to measure it; you have the time and effort it takes to promote the vacant position, another employee has to fill in, resulting in decreased productivity; if the employee that left was one that others liked and respected, other employee morale could be down, also resulting in lowered performance or even causing others to leave their jobs. By the time you replace one employee that already understood your company culture and policies, recruit, hire and train a replacement employee, you are looking at spending thousands of dollars, and potentially having lost revenue due to losses in employee performance.

In his book, Collins talks about getting people in the positions that they are best suited for. Sometimes a company will hire someone on the premise that that person thinks they know their skill strengths, but they might not always realize their personality strengths and weaknesses. Although personality assessment does take time and money, the investment is typically one that pays off in the end and is less costly than employees leaving and having to recruit, hire and train.

At BioZyme, the employees took the Prism assessment. The results revealed insights into the employees “Emotional, Relational and Team Intelligence (ERT-i). This highly relevant and transformative data will provide you with critical information to impact your personal and professional performance, productivity and success.” In other words, the report likely told each individual things he or she already knew. However, it is an opportunity to let others within the company know more about how to work with each other and for supervisors to make sure they have the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Prism is just one of many assessments that companies can utilize. There are many options available at a variety of price points. Some come with further training while others provide a report and guidance on how to use that report.

So just how important is personality? As Virgin Mobile CEO Richard Branson put it, “Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality.”

Let’s look at this example. For one Ohio-based company, taking a personality assessment helped its Human Resources and Management teams get people in the right positions. They discovered the person they had working the phones in a marketing customer support role was an extreme introvert. And while his degree was in marketing, he had a passion for graphic design. The company moved him into a design position where he could better use his talents and had no interaction with customers. He became very successful in his job. The same company discovered they had an employee who was very outgoing who hadn’t had the opportunity to talk to customers. They moved her into that customer support role, working on the phones. Not only did her career flourish, but customer satisfaction improved too.

Employee satisfaction and attrition go hand-in-hand. You can save the time and expense of employee turnover by making sure you have the right people in the right positions.

How Employee Strengths Help Serve Customers

Customers are the backbones of our businesses. They are the reasons we have a business, after all. And many customers are friends first or become good friends over time. They deserve the best when it comes to customer service, and you want to provide the best to them.

However, it might be that not every employee you have is programmed to provide the customer service your customers expect. And that is ok. Every person has some strength or strengths that make them a valuable part of your team, and it is important to evaluate those strengths, communicate those strengths to them in the form of affirmation and use those strengths to be an important part of your team.

Perhaps you have an employee that is impeccable at cleaning, stocking shelves and maintaining inventory, but finds conversation with others mundane or even uncomfortable. Keep that employee in the back to clean and stock, and only use for customer service if someone needs help loading product.

On the other hand, perhaps you’ve hired someone to load out product and stock shelves, that never can complete the assigned task because he or she is always talking to customers and making product recommendations. That person clearly needs to be in a customer service role. Typically, extroverts who enjoy helping others make great customer service reps.

But what does this have to do with overall customer satisfaction? Employees who are doing what they are good at, show up and are engaged and will provide better service. Better service leads to increased customer satisfaction.

According to an article by Stuart Hearn on www.brandquarterly.com: “A 2016 Gallup poll showed that strength-based companies enjoy more profit, better sales, and higher levels of customer engagement. In large part, this is due to the fact that when employees feel positive about their performance, and they are able to work to their strengths, they feel more engaged, and are therefore more passionate about their company and their work. They’re also more invested, meaning they go that extra mile to ensure customers have a great experience. Employee engagement has been termed the ‘wonder drug for customer satisfaction,’ so every time you emphasize strengths in your employees, you should remember the domino effect it creates.”

It all goes back to getting the right people in the right positions. Capitalize on employee strengths to make sure your customers have the best service around. Customers can go anywhere to buy feed and mineral, but make sure they are coming back to your business to get the best customer service that they deserve!

Dealer Spotlight: Share What’s On Your Heart

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” While experience is usually a good teacher, BioZyme® Inc., wants its dealer network to have resources readily available to them to help them learn along the way.

The staff at BioZyme works to offer educational tools that will fit the needs and learning styles of its diverse group of dealers. We know that everyone is busy, and everyone absorbs information differently. That is why we offer resources like printed materials, the Online Dealer Center, webinars, the Facebook group, Area Sales Managers and office staff to assist you when it comes time to learn about products.

During the recent Dealer Retreat, dealers had the opportunity to share with each other and some of the BioZyme staff what educational tools they found most helpful and how they would like to be further assisted during a “Dealers to Dealers” session led by National Sales Director Alan Lee and Outreach Support Center Director Jennifer Miller. Survey questions were answered anonymously through a texting app that let dealers respond from their own phones and led to open discussion.

A majority of dealers did indicate that they use at least one or more of the primary forms of education available to them: their ASM, printed literature, the Online Dealer Center and BioZyme Office Support. Most ASMs do cover a large geographic area or represent a great number of dealers. In an effort to provide even more support, a dedicated call center is being rolled out this month, to help the company stay in contact with its dealers and sub dealers. Regular calls and emails will be going out to the network to ensure that the dealers have all the resources they need. Miller is heading up these efforts.

One of the best ways dealers can learn from one another is through exchange on the Message Board in the Online Dealer Center. The Message Board is an outlet to post your questions, share what has worked for you, and receive input from others in the same business.

It was agreed upon that customer testimonials and results from research trials were both useful information when sharing products with potential customers. Dealers in the sessions would like to see more region-specific testimonials. If you have a customer success stories that you would like to share with the marketing department, please contact your ASM with those success stories so they can relay information to the Marketing Team. Also, if you need specific research on a topic, check with your ASM, as he or she is a great resource.

Finally, don’t be afraid to share what has worked for you as a dealer. Share your thoughts on the BioZyme Dealer Facebook page or let us feature you in the Dealer Spotlight in VISION. Share what’s on your heart. Chances are, there is another dealer in this big network looking for a solution that you’ve already discovered. Or, if you are one of those dealers facing a challenge, reach out to another dealer. We’re in this together.

Your Marketing Journey Made Simple

As you journey down the Yellow Brick Road to Success, you’ll find many curves, paths and forks in the road. But when it comes to marketing, you’ll likely take the shortcut. Time and money – two resources that many are short on – often put marketing lower on the list of priorities. But, don’t take that shorter path just yet.

In 2017, the BioZyme® Marketing Team compared web site traffic analytics to product sales and found there is a direct correlation between web traffic and product sales. Further, they discovered that getting customers to the Dealer Locator meant more business for you, our dealers. With those findings, the Marketing Team has developed a way to simplify your social media marketing journey, saving you both time and energy, and hopefully driving your sales. Let’s take a short journey down the Promoboxx path.

The Promoboxx Social Media platform is one tool that BioZyme has started using recently to offer dealers exclusive digital content for all brands to drive awareness and sales locally, at no cost to the dealer. Because of the agreement between Promoboxx and BioZyme, only a limited amount of “partners” are allowed, so BioZyme is offering this service to VIP Dealers and Master Dealers.

Promoboxx is an application that allows BioZyme to make its content readily available for its dealer partners. Once the content is created, the partner/dealer can go into Promoboxx and schedule the content onto his or her own

social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or post it to his or her web site. The social content will have a “local” feel, providing more relevancy to the audience. Anyone who clicks through, will go to a co-branded landing page, keeping your customers tied to you, but providing the look and feel of BioZyme’s national message.

One South Dakota dealer took what he learned during the hands-on session at Dealer Retreat and applied it immediately, sharing a Promoboxx post about Sure Champ Extreme. That same evening he had a call and an order from a new customer, all because he invested a small amount of time learning about this platform and its benefits.

“Our brands have a strong national message and it is important that when customers come into the store they are seeing that same message, so it is a seamless transition from online promotions to in-store knowledge,” said Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager about the relationship with the dealer network. “It is a partnership – we know that when dealers spend time with the customer, they can provide the one-of-a-kind customer service that we can never fully achieve online.”

Sometimes, the shorter path is the more direct route, especially when you have national marketing partners that have helped you save both time and money. When you have partners in marketing that have invested time and effort into creative, why would you travel down that road again? With Promoboxx, your marketing journey just got smoother. To learn more about the benefits of Promoboxx and the eligibility requirements, contact Kristi Stevens at kstevens@biozymeinc.com or (816) 596-8795.

Don’t Let Profitability Be Wicked

As business owners, you have many goals. But your number one goal should be to be profitable. Nearly 95% of all small businesses fail in their first five years because of the lack of profit – now that is a wicked statistic.

Turning a profit doesn’t have to be wicked. With proper planning, studying the past and the willingness to make changes when needed, your business can be profitable and successful. BioZyme President, Lisa Norton, shared several key strategies for profitability during a breakout session at the Dealer Retreat.

“Profitability should be the primary goal of all businesses,” Norton said. “Measuring current and past profitability and projecting future profitability is very important.”

Before reaching profitability, a business owner must first understand profitability. Profitability is more than the income or money that comes into your business. Cash can come into the business for many reasons like money due from past invoices, services, pre-payments or financing. But pure profit is a simple calculation:

Sales, Revenue OR Income – Expenses OR Costs = PROFIT.

The five “not-so-wicked” tips Norton offered include:

1. Figure out gross profit margin

Your gross profit margin can be deceiving. Remember it is the difference of all income for goods and services and the total cost of goods sold (C.O.G.S.). Be sure to include not only the cost of the products, but packaging, labor to make the products and other costs associated with the production of the product.

2. Analyze the gross profit margin on each and everything

By analyzing every profit margin for each product, you will have a deeper understanding of the products that you sell that generate the most profit, and the ones that generate little profit or even worse, lose you money. It is best for your business to stop selling anything that is losing your business money and focus your efforts in promoting and selling the products that create the highest margin.

3. Review all your prices

Do you charge all your customers the same amount? If so, why?

Some customers might not be as price sensitive as others – think government or other bigger businesses that can spread their expenses over more numbers. Don’t feel bad about increasing prices for some of those customers. Be sure to keep up with rising prices from your supplier and to raise prices as your competition does. It’s ok to increase your prices – your business survivability depends on it. Here is an example Norton shared with the group,

“It’s true that you might lose a customer if prices are raised, but if your margin is 50 percent, a 10 percent increase in prices means you can lose 17 percent of your customers and be no worse off,” she posted in one slide. Chances are a slight price increase won’t cause you to lose 17 percent of your customers if you remember to sell the value of your products and your customer service.

4. Use an inventory system

It is vital to know what you have on hand and to use some type of system to track your inventory. If you do have inventory in stock, make sure it is displayed, because if the customers can’t see it, they won’t buy it, and they likely will move on to your competitors for another product. When getting in new inventory, remember to rotate your stock and use the FIFO system – first in, first out – because no one wants to buy an old product.

5. Think about the best way to cut up money

Now, you might think tips about profitability shouldn’t mention “cutting” money, but Norton used a great visual with play money to demonstrate how to “cut” expenses from your profit equation. Each person in the room had one dollar to spend, and they had to decide how to spend their dollar on marketing, by cutting it into sections. Would you spend half your dollar on print advertising? Cut it in half, and you have half a dollar to spend on digital efforts, radio, creative design, research, boosting social media posts. How far will that half-dollar go? Because once you spent that first half, you can’t get it back, and if you are going to be profitable, you can’t ask for another dollar.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that most people in the room, “cut” their money in different ways. That’s because everyone’s businesses are different, and everyone has different strategies to meet their goals.

Being profitable doesn’t have to be wicked at all. It can be a challenge that you face with courage and resolve. Follow these five simple steps and enjoy your journey to profitability.

Have Courage to Seize Opportunity

Every one of us has a bad day from time to time. The same is true for our livestock and companion animals. Part of being in the animal nutrition business is being able to offer potential solutions for when those bad days happen for our customers’ animals.

That’s why it’s important to keep some of the most unique products BioZyme® offers top-of-mind. The Vita Charge® line and Vitalize® Recovery Paste are some of the company’s fastest growing products and offer the highest profit margins to dealers.  And, they offer a rapid response to animals’ stress, making them a great product to showcase how effective the Amaferm® advantage is.

Due to the quick response rate of the Vita Charge line and the Vitalize Recovery Paste, they build customer confidence and open the door to more conversations about other products, that ultimately lead to bigger sales. As a dealer, you must have the courage to keep these products in stock and even offer a sample to a customer who has an animal in need. That tube of Recovery Paste or bottle of Liquid Boost® might be the best investment you make in marketing, if it leads to a loyal customer who starts buying and using more products on a consistent, year-round basis.

One example of a customer that started with one of these products is Brenton Feedyard at Grimes, Iowa. The feedyard was first exposed to the Amaferm advantage with Vita Charge® Stress Tubs in its receiving pens. The feedyard has been using the Stress Tubs for five years now, and typically puts two of the 200-pound tubs in the larger pens that hold up to 120 calves, and one 200-pound tub in the smaller receiving pens that hold 40 head.

“Some cattle blow through it a little faster, and we think it’s because they need it more. Some hardly go after it at all. It works great for us,” said Devon Keller, manager at Brenton Feedyard. “The Amaferm product has worked really well for us. We started with the tubs and felt like we saw a really big response from them. And now we actually feed the Digest More pellets – we double the rate for the first 30 days when receiving cattle.”

Although the calves only get Amaferm for the first 30 days at the feedyard, Keller said it has helped the calves get started on the right foot. They are overall healthier, and he says they treat on average, 50% fewer calves – a big labor savings for an outfit that feeds 3,000 head, farms 2,000 acres and only has three employees.

“When we get more Amaferm into the gut, we are getting more health into the gut. Some of the cattle are in rough condition when we receive them and just learning to eat. Most cattle that don’t go to the bunk will still go to the tub, and that’s what we like about the Stress Tubs,” Keller said.

Keller is just one example of a customer who learned about Amaferm and keeping the gut healthy, thanks to the Vita Charge Tubs. Now, he is a believer, who keeps ordering more product.

One of the greatest things about Vita Charge, is it can be used across species. The various applications for each production scenario, along with the rapid response make it a great “starter” product or door opener.

Be courageous. Offer a solution for a stressed animal and watch your customer list grow.

Featured Dealer: W.T. Carnes

W.T. Carnes Grows His Business with Sub-dealers

In the heart of the Ozarks, there’s a BioZyme® dealer enthusiastic about the product he sells and the people he works with. W.T. Carnes said he’d been feeding the products to his dairy cattle for several years, and in the fall of 2013, decided to become a dealer.

He has taken initiative to grow his business, and says his sales have doubled every year since he started selling products. As an on-farm dealer, he embraces a basic business principle – making a sale is as much about who you know as it is the products you’re selling.

“People buy from people they know,” Carnes said. “My sub-dealers know more people than just the people I know. They can help me move more tonnage.”

Carnes currently works with five sub-dealers, friends that he said used and believed in the products, just as he did. Two of them live within 30 miles of him, but the others are quite a distance from him, expanding his network and opportunity for growth even more.

“The products really sell themselves. Once a producer hears about the products and tries them, they are usually hooked,” he said.

Carnes said he didn’t always have a network of sub-dealers, but his former ASM, and now Key Accounts Manager, Ken Gillig suggested sub-dealers would be a good way for him to grow his business after being a dealer for almost two years.

Carnes, who recently completed the Master Dealer Training Program, said another valuable tool to growing sales is hosting a producer meeting. He hosted his first meeting last fall, and sold a semi-load of mineral that night. He said that everyone that attended the meeting became a customer or has continued buying from him. The producers appreciated hearing from Mike Wadle, Director of National Sales – North, and being able to ask questions to further understand the products.

Currently, VitaFerm® HEAT®, Concept•Aid® and Gain Smart® Stocker mineral are his best-selling products. He offers two pieces of advice to newer dealers and their sub-dealers looking to grow their business, “If you can get producers to try the product, it will sell itself.” And he suggests keeping inventory low to promote freshness of the product.

A sub-dealer network has helped W.T. continue to grow his sales the past few years by multiplying his efforts and his reach all because of relationships he had with others who use and believe in the products. Are you ready to expand? Perhaps creating a sub-dealer system is the next step for you. For more information about reaching out and working with sub-dealers, contact your ASM.

Use Social Media to Boost Your Business

You’ve built your company’s Facebook page, and hopefully you found the tips in last month’s VISION useful as you begin or enhance your social media presence. But did you know for pennies a day, you can boost the amount of exposure your company gets on Facebook?

One of the most effective tools on Facebook is a button that allows you to “boost” a post or geo target specific customers with specific messages. Once you have created a post, you can click the “boost post” button, which allows you to create parameters to target a very specific audience including:

LOCATION: You can add the specific town or zip code you want to target, drop a pin or add multiple towns, say if you were hosting producer meetings in multiple locations. Once you have a location added, you can add a radius between 10-50 miles around the town or area you want to target.

AGE & GENDER: You can target only men, only women or both. You can target ranges of age groups between 13 to 65+ years old. Even though you can target 13-year-olds remember, Facebook does not allow you to target sales to anyone under 18-years-old. However, if you were hosting a youth livestock clinic, you might want to target 13-21, since that would be the group most likely to participate.

TARGET GROUP: Search by keyword to find a very specific target audience. Are you trying to promote Vitalize® to horse enthusiasts in your area? Type ‘horse’ in the keyword search, and the following will appear: horse, horse training, horse breeding and horse riding. You can click and select the groups that fit your needs, and anyone who has shown interest in those groups, who match the age, gender and location target you have selected will see your post. They don’t have to be your current customers or even like your page.

COST: Remember you set your budget, and you determine how much you want to spend. You can spend $10 for a post to show up for a month or you can spend $10 for the same post to only appear for a day.

“The more money you put toward your post, the more opportunity you have in reaching a larger percentage of the selected audience,” said Caitlin Tye, Content and Social Media.

If you are a dealer, and there is a cattle show coming to your town, you might create a post to promote you have Sure Champ® and Sure Champ Climate Control on hand. When you type ‘cattle’ in the keyword search, the following appear: Angus, Hereford, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, cattle rancher, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. You would select all of those except Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, because you would more than likely get someone who is a beef eater, and not a show participant seeing your post, which does not encourage engagement.

Boosting a post is an efficient, inexpensive way to reach a large group of potential customers who have a core group of interests. If you have more questions about how to create a targeted post, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at (816) 596-8795 or email her at kstevens@biozymeinc.com.

What Do You Need to Grow?

Companies of all types and sizes typically want to grow in one way or another—whether it’s in terms of revenues, profits, number of employees or customers, market share or number of locations. And while not every business owner has aspirations to build the next Google, almost every business wants to see progress from one year to the next, even if it’s just in the amount of money one can take home to the family. Research shows that trying to grow when the business is not ready is a leading cause of business failure. So, knowing if you and your business are ready to grow is very important to its success. The first google item that pops up for this topic makes it look so easy.  Just buy an “all-in-one platform” and it will scale business growth.

We all know this is not the way sustainable growth works and that we need to spend some major time setting the stage for growth for it to occur successfully. The below questions can help get the plan moving forward.

What is your long-term goal and how does that impact your growth decision? No goal, no glory. While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly plan for it.

Are you prepared financially? In our personal life, they say you should have six months of expenses saved “in case.” Growth is an “in case,” so that same basic rule applies to business. On top of this amount, one needs to add the estimated additional expenses from the growth plan. Don’t implement the plan without the cash.

Do you have the space and capacity to grow from a facility standpoint or will you need to expand? You must know the full capacity of your current operation before you begin this growth endeavor. You then must know what percent of that capacity you are currently operating. This is imperative to the decisions ahead.

How will you fund the potential expansion? Growth financing is every bit as hard–if not harder–to obtain than startup funding. Do regular cash-flow projections so that you know how much credit you’re going to need well before you have to start writing checks. Develop and maintain strong relationships with your funding sources and be sure to have primary and backup sources available. In today’s financial climate, it’s harder than ever to predict credit availability, so stay on top of your cash and financial needs to give yourself plenty of room to maneuver when it’s time to borrow.

How much human capital will be required to meet your growth goals? Where will you find it and how will you pay for it? The team that can successfully run a $1 million company is not the same team that can run a $50 million company. If your goal is growth, hire people who can perform in the size company you want to be–they’ll help you get there.

Will your existing customers remain loyal during the growth pains? No company can do without customers, and if you don’t stay close to them, you’ll lose them. Know what they need, but more importantly, know what they want and do everything you can to give that to them. Most important though is to communicate. Never let your customers wonder what’s going on. Tell them–whether it’s good or bad.

Will the work required to grow bring unavoidable stress into your life that could potentially deter your ability to successfully operate your business with your best foot forward? Be honest here and make sure you really think it through.

The better prepared you are for growth, the better your chances for success. Devise a plan that helps you get to where you want to go. Make sure you think of your plan as a GPS system. Don’t think once you are on the route that you know better than the GPS. And remember, the more specific your plan, the less chance you have to get lost.

Last but not least, don’t forget to focus on your core business and don’t get distracted. Stick to the business your company knows best. Be sure any diversification or product line expansion you do makes sense. If it has nothing to do with your core business don’t get into it just because it seems like a good opportunity. Otherwise, you’ll you confuse your customers and your employees–and you’ll likely find that dividing your efforts reduces the quality and profitability of everything.

Just as you plan for when things go wrong, also plan for when things go well. When you’re prepared for growth, you can better manage the changes it brings and let it take you to the goal you set when you started.