New Products Help You Grow Market Shares

Product launches are an exciting time. New products mean new ways to help current customers and grow your customer base. But use caution, don’t simply move your current customers from an existing product to a new product. Position the new products so current customers will find value in using it as part of their year-round program. Additionally, leverage the new products to grow your market share and gain new customers that you’ve never had before.

“I always tell dealers, we’re not looking to swap business, we are looking to grow business,” said Justin O’Flaherty, ASM who represents Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas. “When it’s time to grow market share with new products, it is time to think outside of the box.”

O’Flaherty likes to have a list of scenarios ready to go before she sees her dealers-in person so they can collaborate the best way to market the new products. She said being prepared saves time and assists the dealers when it comes to ways to growing market share.

Britney Creamer, ASM who serves Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, said that VitaFerm® ConserveTM will open doors for a lot of growth for producers who have seen the benefits of including Amaferm® in their herds’ diets, but didn’t always think they could afford a high-quality mineral program. She is excited about the potential growth of customers who will now be able to get Amaferm and a complete mineral program at a price point they feel comfortable with.

“Often, producers think, ‘can we feed our family, or can we feed our cows mineral?’ We are now making Amaferm available to a larger crowd of people. I think people will be surprised. There are a lot of producers who have watched the VitaFerm line and what it has done over the years and wanted to be a part of it but didn’t think they could make it work, so I think now we are going to gain a lot of new business,” she said.

Creamer said the great thing about introducing Conserve, while already having a premium product, is that progressive end-users that are proponents of A.I. and E.T. are not very likely to switch products and will continue to use VitaFerm Concept•Aid®.

Get Out of Your Zone

Another way to grow market share is to look for ways to introduce products to customers you might not have originally thought of. For instance, O’Flaherty recently visited a cow-calf operation to discuss the VitaFerm and Vita Charge® lines with the producer. While she was there, she also saw a barn full of opportunities.

“I’m not a horse person. I went and met with an Angus breeder earlier in the week, but he had a barn full of horses. I’d much rather talk about cows, but I saw an opportunity. The more you talk about things you’re uncomfortable with, the more you become familiar. The same thing with HydraBoost. We have so many pigs and chickens in our area. If you become more comfortable with the uncomfortable, you’ll be more comfortable and be able to grow market share by expanding your product offering and getting out of your comfort zone,” O’Flaherty said.

New products are a great way to grow market share.

Effective Action: Communication is Essential to Education

New product launches call for sharing information about those products long before they become available to the dealer to order and sell. BioZyme® has launched three new products in May and June, meaning much of the education needed to be disseminated while a majority of the country was sheltering in place.

Regardless of their lockdown situation, two Area Sales Managers agree that they would typically communicate about new products with their dealers prior to an in-person meeting. Britney Creamer, ASM for Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, said she likes to start with the customers who the new products will specifically impact and starts reaching out to them over the phone or through email, although she does admit she prefers face-to-face meetings. Then, she makes sure to follow up with everyone else.

“Before I talk to them about a new product, I think about how it will fit their customers they service or want to service,” Creamer said. “VISION and company e-blasts are great tools, but they don’t always get to the person that needs that information the most. Some of my dealers like text messages, some prefer email. I try to put three to four bullet points together for them to highlight products that may be coming down the pipes and how they will be useful for their customers. A face-to-face visit is always useful, but as we know the last few months that hasn’t always been feasible.”

In addition to the bulleted list, ASM Justin O’Flaherty has found that the fliers and visuals are useful resources to share with her dealers and she encourages them to share those with their end-users. O’Flaherty, who represents Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas, uses social and digital media, including texting, email and Snapchat, to communicate with her dealers and said they will always have some new product information from her prior to their in-person meetings.

“One thing I do for new products, is if I think it will fit a particular demographic, I will send those dealers an email. I like to give them a heads up, and they will usually respond. I try to keep open communication lines all the time. I try to stay in constant communication. If we are on a call or get new information, I will take a picture and send it to them. I try to stay in front of them, so they know what is coming,” O’Flaherty said.

O’Flaherty said two-way communication is vital to her because she thrives on collaboration.

“I ask for a lot of feedback, especially if we are thinking about something new or different. I will pick their brain because one of my favorite things to do is collaborate. If I have an idea, I will bounce that idea off of a lot of people,” she said.

Creamer encourages all dealers to share information about the new products with their end-users who would find benefit from the products as soon as they have the information they need. Use the bulleted list or graphic flier that your ASM provides, and if you need more information, reach out to your ASM or the Outreach Support Center.

Additionally, all content in the Master Dealer, years one and two, has been updated to reflect the new products and any discontinued product lines. Be sure to take the time to review those Master Dealer segments for more information.

Although most dealers prefer to host in-person producer meetings, O’Flaherty has conducted some Zoom online training meetings with her dealers to educate them on the new product lines. Reach out to your ASM if you are still social distancing and would like to learn more about any product via this technology.

Most importantly, when reaching out to your customers, remember to mention these new products. Creamer advises that if you do have a store, to post “new product” signage next to your new product. You can even list the key benefits on the sign so the buyer or potential customer can see them.

Promoboxx is another free and simplified tool to use to promote your business. The Marketing Team at BioZyme has created “new product” material that you can share on your own social media or take pieces of to share on your social media.

New products are exciting! Learn about them. Share them. And sell them. Reach out to your ASMs if you have questions and remember we are here to help you succeed!

The Benefits of Introducing New Products

Launching new products is an exciting time for a business. Multiply that times three and we have had big excitement at BioZyme® during the last 60-plus days. New products don’t just happen, but when they are finally ready to launch to the dealers and subsequently the end-users, we know that “care that comes full circle” has been implemented, and the benefits will be numerous.

Let’s explore some of the benefits to the customer and the business when a new product or service is introduced.

Company Growth

Introducing new products is vital to a company’s growth. Without new products, you likely won’t grow market share and your business might turn stagnant. New products demonstrate to customers that a business is not satisfied with the status quo and wants to grow. While the company grows, it often times creates a product that has been missing in the marketplace or can provide a solution to a common challenge in a particular industry segment.

Fulfill Customers’ Needs Developing and marketing new products shows that we care about our customers and are continually working to meet their needs.

VitaFerm® Conserve™ was purposefully crafted with the producer in mind as an economical line of vitamin and mineral supplements for the beef cattle herd that complements our existing products during the times of year when reproduction isn’t the primary focus,” said Jack Oattes, Area Sales Manager, during an online introductory meeting to dealers about the new product.

VitaFerm Conserve is just one example of how a product will meet the needs of a customer base that we haven’t yet reached. It will allow producers who want to give their cow herd the Amaferm® advantage during a time when they don’t need a breeding mineral.

Stay in Tune with Seasonal Demands

May seemed like an ideal time to launch two new HEAT® products as both cattle and sheep producers were planning matings and getting ready to breed females and keep them bred through the summer temperatures. Timing is everything, and customers definitely notice when companies are strategic in these launches.

Build momentum this summer with selling the new VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® HEAT® and DuraFerm® Sheep Concept•Aid® HEAT® so your customers will be asking about them again next spring and summer.

Build your Reputation

A company that creates new products or improves products is often looked upon by its peers and its customers as creative and innovative. Stand out from the crowd with your new products and be sure to share with your customers how these products will benefit their animals, and ultimately their own bottom line. We want our customers to know we care. We hear their needs and their concerns and when feasible, we create a product that we think will help them help their animals.

Part of your reputation and ours comes from the feedback we receive from satisfied customers. When possible, get testimonials from your customers that are using these new products, especially the seasonal ones and submit them to your ASM or the Marketing Team so we can use those testimonials next year when it is time to start promoting these products again. Remember, often times customers like to hear the success their peers had with a product.

New products equal big excitement! We’ve supplied the products, the resources you need to sell the products, now go share the benefits of these products to your existing and potential customers. The benefits are there for everyone!

Letters From Lisa – June/July 2020

It seems a bit awkward to be writing about NEW stuff with COVID-19 ruling our lives, but it certainly has forced us to love the word, so maybe it is appropriate. When I Googled ‘dealing with NEW stuff’ the results included these topics: the new normal, new technology, a new boss and having a new baby. Quite a list. One phrase on that list would not even have been there just three months ago. This is a perfect segway into that word NEW and how we can look at it if we choose to do so.

NEW just by its nature means change. So, for anything NEW, we have a choice. We can control it or escape it. Knowing you can’t ultimately escape, one will go through phases of a response to the NEW, which “should” end in acceptance. Acceptance that could lead you to a pot of gold. The belief in that pot of gold as the best option, has been ingrained in me since I was born. With that pot of gold picture in your head, one can embrace change and never go through the normal other responses to change which are shock, fear and forced adjustment. Instead the change embracing person goes straight to acceptance and begins building on the NEW.

It is in that vein that BioZyme® has launched the NEW product line VitaFerm® Conserve™, is investigating a NEW packaging option for mineral that is not a bag (yes you read that correctly), is moving to a larger state of the art facility for all small pack products and is looking toward partnerships that have never existed before, due to being viewed as competition, to ensure we have the best products on the market for the animal and the expectations we place on them to CHANGE all the time without giving them any time to go through the normal four stages of change.

Why is all this NEW exciting?

Because done right, it leads to a pot of gold. Not only a pot that helps grow our dealers’ business, but a most important pot that supports the animal, so they get consistent, effective nutrition allowing them to maximize their genetic potential. With all this NEW swirling around it is easy to forget those things that will always remain the same and for which we should be thankful: Our appreciation for your continued support. Support in good times and in not so good, during struggles and during victories. It means the world to us.

This quote by Henry Ward Beecher says it best, “The head learns new things, but the heart forever practices old experiences.” Thanks for your heart and how you so graciously share it with us!

Dealer Spotlight: Proven Sires Services

Provides Nutrition Needs To Bull Customers and Others

Cattle producers are often said to be the original stewards of the land. Their genuine passion for caring for their land and livestock is in their blood. They know if they take care of their cattle and the land, the cattle will take care of them. Taking care of his cattle before and after the sale is how Mark Rohr, Proven Sres Services, Hays, Kansas, became a BioZyme® dealer in 2014.

As the owner of Lazy H Ranch, where he markets between 100-150 registered Angus and Charolais bulls each spring, he wanted to be sure that those bulls continued to receive the best nutrition possible after the sale. That’s when he became a dealer and started recommending his customers use the VitaFerm® and Vita Charge® products to keep their new bulls healthy and reproductively sound.

“I wanted to offer the best of the best for my bull customers. At least 35% of my customers have started feeding VitaFerm, and that accounts for at least 50% of my bull sales,” Rohr said.

As a VIP dealer, Rohr not only offers the best products to his customers; he also offers top-notch service. He connects with them each monthly, if not more often and makes sure they have everything they need. He answers their questions promptly and relies on his ASM and National Sales Director for answers when he doesn’t know the answers, knowing they will respond quickly.

He suggests utilizing the ASM as a lead to new customer relationships. He appreciates when the ASM makes a cold call first to explain the Amaferm® advantage and ROI of the various product lines. Then, he can follow-up and share his own unique experiences with his customers. As a user of the products, Rohr can give first-hand accounts of what the products do, how they work and the benefits he has experienced in his own herd.

Building trust is the first step in any business relationship, according to Rohr. To build trust he shares his own experiences and works potential customers using other products into the VitaFerm products gradually.

“Offer them a product we have that their company doesn’t. Something like Vita Charge to help reduce stress with vaccinations and weaning. Or if I want them to try the VitaFerm products, I tell them not to go full-bore, but to try it on half or part of their cows so they can see the difference for themselves,” he said.

Rohr hosts a customer appreciation event each summer. He also makes sure to have plenty of BioZyme and Amaferm information available at his sale so his customers can leave with the information they need about a high-quality nutrition program.

As the industry becomes somewhat more volatile, Rohr said sharing key benefits that can be looked at as opportunity costs of the products will be even more important than ever. For cattle producers those include conception rates, especially for those utilizing A.I. and embryo transfer, calf vigor at birth and cows cleaning themselves at calving. Bull fertility is also key.

“I am in partnership on another set of bulls on feed at another location, under different management but the same mineral program, using a different vet service, we had 100% semen check there, and that vet wanted to know what we do to make that happen. As far as fertility in our bulls, the VitaFerm mineral and Amaferm advantage has been awesome,” Rohr said.

With results like that, it’s easy to see how Rohr can use personal experiences to build his customer base and help his bull customers at the same time. Thanks for being a part of the dealer network, Mark!

Dealer Spotlight: Jeff Cluxton & Sons

Second Generation Dealer Provides Services and Answers to Livestock Challenges

Providing a quality product to customers while delivering top-notch services are traits that come naturally for second-generation BioZyme dealer Jeff Cluxton, at Ripley, Ohio. Jeff’s dad, Tom, started using VitaFerm® products in 1974 and became a dealer. The family has appreciated the impact that the BioZyme products have had on their 175 head cow herd and have shared that with their peers.

“VitaFerm’s been good to us. It’s a product that we strongly believe in as users of it, so it helps us be able to sell it to people. We’ve always used the product here on the farm, so we know what works best for people.

If they are in the embryo world, we try to direct people to Concept•Aid® products. Even our commercial cattle producers, will use the Concept•Aid 8/S or the Concept•Aid tub,” Jeff said.

Perhaps the thing that differentiates Jeff and assists him in helping others is the relationship that his family has had with local veterinarian Brian Cowdrey. According to Jeff, Dr. Cowdrey’s parents used the VitaFerm products and now he uses them too. And when a client has a challenge that can be fixed with the help of a nutrition product, the vet sends his client Jeff’s way, which Jeff says makes for a unique situation.

“If the customer will be obedient and do what the veterinarian recommends, we get a lot of business from Dr. Cowdrey. Word of mouth from the vet drives a lot of my business. About four to five years ago we had an outbreak of anaplasmosis here in the county, and word of mouth and VitaFerm offering CTC and IGR became a very popular product around here,” he said.

But that isn’t the only relationship that has helped Jeff grow his business. He said he’s been able to market the VitaFerm Gain Smart® Stocker and Vita Charge® Stress Tubs to the Buckeye Valley Beef Cooperative. The group of local, younger beef producing families are working to raise beef for the consumer to buy from the farm or through local retail outlets, with the knowledge that this beef is locally sourced and has never been treated for sickness. This group of progressive cattle producers has used the Gain Smart Stocker to help ensure the cattle they are feeding for their ultimate customers put on healthy, efficient pounds and meet their strict criteria. He said they use the Stress Tubs at weaning.

As an on-farm dealer, Jeff says he is always available to help his customers. He does chuckle that his wife suggests he set some office hours, but he says he’s here to help. For instance, he has an old truck that he’ll leave a bag or two of mineral in if someone is in the area at a kid or grandkid’s ball game and wants to pick it up. He even tells about a customer who drove out of his way to get 20 bags because Jeff had the product he wanted on hand.

“I won’t turn down a customer. I will help someone out. People are busy, but you can gain a lot of business by being flexible,” Jeff said.

He shares a story from last Christmas. Since he’s also an Umbarger dealer, he has the chance to sell Weaver show supplies. Somebody had ordered a show box for Christmas gift. He offered to wrap and deliver to the customer’s front porch on Christmas Eve when that family was at another Christmas celebration. The customer was overjoyed by the service Jeff provided. He said by providing that type of service, he sees the potential of a return customer for show feed or breeding mineral in the long-term.

One of the most valuable lessons Jeff learned from his dad, and one he shares is to always be willing to find out the answer to a question when you don’t know the answer.

“Always be truthful and honest to your customer, and they will always come back to you. If you don’t know the answer, be willing to say you don’t know but you will find out. That goes a long way for you.”

Jeff Cluxton & Sons is a dealer that shows care that comes full circle while differentiating his business through long-time user experience and outstanding customer service. He’s sharing the knowledge from his dad with his customers in Western Ohio. Thanks for being a great dealer, Jeff!

Help Youth Succeed Through Remote Learning

Remote learning. It’s the phrase that students, parents and teachers did not expect to add to their vocabulary this spring when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. However, with each new update and each governor’s recommendation, remote learning became a part of daily lives in households across the country. School districts devised lesson plans, some delivered their students’ packets via the bus route or mailed and emailed lessons to students on a weekly basis.

Youth might have missed out on the chance for building relationships with their peers and mentors, state FFA contests and conventions, spring sports, prom and more activities, but for those in agriculture, it provided an opportunity to work more with their livestock projects, help out with calving and lambing and perhaps even help prepare for spring planting. Remote learning and sheltering-in-place has allowed many families to spend more time together, learning and working ahead on junior national contests or county fair projects – both livestock and nonlivestock related.

When schools started closing their buildings this spring, online learning and virtual tours seemed to pop up almost instantly. Farm Bureau organizations, breed associations and other ag companies shared content that ranged from simple coloring sheets and word-searches to online judging contests and virtual ag tours.

What did we do?

We were ready. Before the chaos ensued, the Sure Champ® in the Classroom program existed. This online resource offers a variety of learning ideas for educators and parents.

Sure Champ in the Classroom offers various information about cattle, pigs, goats and lambs. Educational information ranges from selection, feeding and nutrition, caring for and preparing for shows and showmanship. General nutrition information is also available as well as quizzes with answer keys for assistance to learning. Educational videos are online for cattle and pigs that detail showmanship, feeding, animal care and reading pig notches.

In addition to the Sure Champ in the Classroom resources, a regular feature of the Sure Champ digital efforts includes an online judging tool, Mark that Card, complete with judging classes and official placings with cuts and reasons. These have been very popular on the Sure Champ social platforms and are all archived at www.surechamp.com.

Local Resources

What can you as a dealer do to help provide some information and resources to your customers in this time of remote learning? Maybe you had a spring livestock clinic planned; don’t let social distancing spoil your plans. With today’s technology on phones and handheld devices like tablets and iPads, it would be efficient and effective to record something from your local store or barn to post to your website or social media to help educate your young customers.

Talk about animal nutrition and break down the various feed ingredients in a ration and describe what they do. Record your own showmanship or clipping clinic. Perhaps you can offer resources for those youth preparing a speech for their junior national or their county club days. Or, you could offer to listen to that speech over the phone or via FaceTime to give some pointers on content or delivery. Offering your time as a resource is a valuable tool to a young person; they won’t forget time that you give them.

Share with us and your fellow dealers what you are doing to serve as a resource and help your young customers #preptowin during this time of social distancing. Post your ideas and your results on the BioZyme Dealer Facebook page so others can learn from you. We are all in this time of uncertainty together. Let’s work collectively to help our young people.

Effective Action: Let’s Lend a Hand Every. Day.

Have you ever noticed how people show up in times of crises or particular times of year? Food and toy drives ensue during the holidays for those in need. Elderly and disabled were encouraged to post a red, yellow or green sheet of paper in their window during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place to indicate if they were fine or needed assistance. And blood drives are ramped up during particular seasons. All of these are great causes and worthwhile efforts, but what if we provided a helping hand year-round and really demonstrated care that comes full circle.

Be present.

During times of uncertainty, perhaps the most important thing we can do is be present. Now, maybe this doesn’t happen if you’re in isolation or separated by miles from friends or family. However, technology has made it possible to keep the lines of communication open and even “see” each other. Technologies like FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Marco Polo allow you to “chat” virtually like you’re in the same room with your friends or customers. Sometimes just a simple check-in, even via a phone call, with someone to see how they are doing will brighten their day.

Listen and watch.

Agriculture is a rocky road, and many of your friends and customers are likely struggling. When you do check in with your customers, friends and family, take time to really listen. And more importantly, watch their actions. We can all agree, agriculturalists are a humble group who don’t like to talk about themselves, so if they are having challenges, you might be able to tell that just as much by their actions and what they don’t say. And, if you sense a genuine concern for their health, reach out to them or someone else close to them to try to help them.

Offer resources.

Yes, food drives around the holidays are great. But, what about the other 10 months of the year? As summer approaches, fresh garden produce is typically bountiful, so why not share in the bounty. Maybe you have a place for a garden, but not the time, offer your garden spot to someone to use in exchange for some veggie sharing. Perhaps you’re like me and love to garden, but don’t like to can. Offer your garden goodies to friends and neighbors for the picking. And although fresh produce is nice, make sure people have other things they need year-round.

Give back to the youth.

It is nice to show appreciation to the youth who buy their feed and supplies from you. Likely, many of their parents are your customers too. Hopefully, summer shows will not be canceled like so many late winter and spring shows were. Offer a show supply credit if they buy x-amount of show feed or supplements. Or if the summer shows are canceled, offer to buy one of their animals to supply your own family (and maybe others) with some fresh protein.

Volunteer.

There are always ways to give money and resources; however, one resource that most everyone has to offer is their time. No matter how big or small your community is, there is likely a way for you to give your time. Volunteer opportunities exist through community, school, church and civic organizations. They can be short-term or long-term. Giving your time can be one of the most rewarding things you do. Be sure you are giving to something you genuinely care about and that you volunteer with a good motive and not just self-recognition.

Care that comes full circle. It’s not just a motto, but it’s a simple way we should all chose to live. You can make a difference in your neighborhood or community 365-days a year by giving of your time, talents and resources and simply being present. In many of our rural communities, people became more friendly during the “shelter-inplace” time. People waved and smiled as they met you on the road. They reached out more. School kids wrote letters to shut-ins. The world became friendly. Let’s keep these smiles going and continue to lend a hand, every day.

Communication is Key During a Crisis

In times of uncertainty, fear is a common emotion. The national and world health crisis of this spring has left everyone with several questions. Will summer events be canceled or postponed? When will we get to see elderly relatives? Will our kids ever go back to school? Why didn’t I buy more toilet paper? With so many uncertainties in the world, the routine of having a job to come to each day gives people some peace of mind. However, many businesses have changed the way they operate. With the need for essential workers in the agriculture industry, you can help your employees cope by increasing communication and ensuring them that everything will be alright.

Hinda Mitchell, president of the Inspire PR Group, shares seven ideas on how to communicate with your team during these challenging times.

Overcommunicate. But keep it simple. Your employees are on information overload right now, so keep your messages short, to the point and upbeat. Mitchell suggests using both the push strategy and pull strategy for disseminating information. Push information out via email, text messages and even a private website dedicated to the particular crisis. Provide additional information that might be useful to employees so they can pull from that information when needed. At BioZyme®, a private webpage was started for employees that discussed new safety and health protocols, how and when to report any sickness, who to ask for help when working remotely and offered updated information from the CDC and WHO that employees could look at as they wanted.

Focus on health and safety. Personal health and safety of your employees and customers should come first. Make sure you are providing the resources needed to keep your team safe: disinfectant sprays and wipes to gloves or masks. Encourage your staff to continue a healthy lifestyle with good eating habits and exercise; spring is a great time to be outside and get some fresh air.

Provide extra support. Everyone has a unique situation, and it is imperative to be understanding during these times. Identify the circumstances of each individual and offer them resources that might be helpful. This could range from needing childcare due to school closures or caring for a loved one.

Clarity is key. “Be crystal clear on your employee expectations, benefits and other personnel matters during this time. What are they supposed to do if they or a loved one falls ill? What is your PTO, sick time and absentee policy? What have you done to change or enhance benefits to address this unique time? Now is not the time for rigidity; flexibility should drive as much of human resources decision-making as possible,” Mitchell writes.

Little things matter. Show your employees you care with a catered lunch, a small note of appreciation, a gift card for gas or groceries or even a verbal thank-you. If you see or talk to a person who doesn’t seem their normal self, ask them if they are alright and offer to get them help. Sometimes being a listening ear is all a person needs. Your gesture doesn’t need to be substantial to be remembered.

Do the right thing. During any crisis it is imperative to follow the orders of all government officials – local, state and federal. It is also important to exercise patience with your employees. Reassurance about their jobs, the industry and the state of the world is always a good thing during times of chaos.

Remind them the challenges are temporary. Although every day might seem like a scene from the movie “Groundhog Day,” this is a short-term challenge, and normalcy will return. There is always a storm before a rainbow, and though the times might seem tough, brighter days are ahead.

Communicating with your employees is critical to keeping them informed, calm and feeling like part of the team during any challenge. Be sure that you stay calm and level-headed. Don’t panic or use harsh language. Be the leader they need in a time of uncertainty to show that you care, and you will be able to get the best back from them. That is what “Care that Comes Full Circle” is all about.

Letters From Lisa – May 2020

How can I be helpful in challenging times and good times?

The one thing to remember in good times is to Praise.

People always welcome praise, but it becomes far more meaningful when it is linked to concrete examples. “Great presentation, well done,” is nice feedback to receive, but “Great presentation; your explanation of how this impacts our customer base will help us improve customer loyalty,” pinpoints exactly how someone’s contribution benefits the company. Giving specific, targeted feedback tells your team that you’re paying attention.

The same goes for providing constructive feedback on areas of improvement: keep the feedback personalized and actionable. Consider the golden ratio of 5:1– if you deliver five positive takeaways to one negative piece of feedback, people won’t feel overwhelmed with criticism. The goal should be to help people grow and develop, so providing ongoing, timely praise is crucial.

The one thing to remember in challenging times is to have Faith.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

These are beautiful verses, but I believe many miss the true power of this scripture because they stop at verse 7. Check out the warning in the subsequent verses (Philippians 4:8-9):

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

Faith is hard to incorporate in life. I recently saw this story on one of our dealer’s Facebook posts. It represents faith in action in challenging times or eight straight days of not giving up when all things pointed to saying, “forget it.”

Shared from Joshua Golla’s Facebook. Edited for space.

“On Wednesday March 18th we had a 5-week-old bull calf disappear from the field. No trace of what happened. His mother bawled for him for two days to no avail. On Saturday when we checked the cows his mother ran around the field bawling and we followed her (they usually know where to look and will tip you off if you watch them) however she stopped in the field and appeared to start grazing again. We walked every fence row and checked every brush pile, no luck.

We began to assume that coyotes had carried him off. I found it hard to believe that a 40-50-pound coyote would carry off a 150-pound calf and not leave a trace. So, each time I would check the cows I would look for that calf. However, life was moving on as we came to grips with the idea that the calf was not coming back. Well, this morning when I checked on the cows I happened to drive through the area where his mother was “grazing” on Saturday and noticed what I thought was a huge groundhog hole. It was so big I backed up to see how deep the hole was and I noticed something moving in the bottom. I parked the tractor and got off to take a closer look. Well, after 8 days, I had found that calf! He was 8-feet deep in a sink hole in the middle of the pasture. His mother was not really grazing on Saturday but trying to show us where her baby was! So, I made a quick phone call for reinforcements, 20 minutes later David Witt arrived with ropes, a shovel and a ladder! I opened the hole wider and put the ladder down in it. I climbed in with the calf and slipped a rope around his chest. We had planned to tube feed him with electrolytes, but he had so much energy we decided to just get him out of the hole. As soon as the calf got to the opening of the hole he began flailing trying to climb out and kicked me in the side of my head. By the time I got out of the hole the calf had slipped out of the rope and was chasing the herd across the pasture trying to nurse any cow that would stand still! He finally found his mother who wasn’t 100% sure she wanted him to nurse. However, once he got ahold of her udder he wasn’t letting go. Her bag was swollen from 8 days without a calf nursing but in less than 10 minutes it was empty and tight up against her belly. The calf had a huge milk mustache and his mother warmed up to him quickly. She began to bawl with excitement and used her chin to hold him against her like she was hugging him. It was clear she was grateful to have him back!”

It is always hard to have faith in challenging times because things could end sadly just as easy as they could end happily. However, faith finds things worthy of praise no matter what.

No time more than the last month, and I am afraid the next month, will test us more on both praise and faith than this virus. No matter what, keep praising and have faith. It will all be fine. I promise.