Your Role In The Industry Matters

Too often we let our jobs define us. It is easy to do since we spend at least eight hours a day at our workplace. Many of us are guilty of introducing ourselves in an adult setting with our name, title and the place where we work. But you are more than just a worker. You are more than a salesperson, marketer, truck driver or person who works in a feed store. You are involved in agriculture, the occupation that ultimately feeds the world, and believe it or not, you are serving as a role model for others in our industry.

Young people naturally are attracted to people in their respective field. And those who are growing up on a farm or ranch or who show livestock undoubtedly interact with you on a somewhat regular basis. Believe it or not, there is somebody out there who is watching you, listening to you and maybe evening dreaming of the day they can be in your position. It is important to remember these things to set the best example possible.

You, yes you, are making an impact as a mentor and role model. Think about that. Your role and identity are much greater than just your occupation, but because of your occupation and your role in agriculture, you can impact someone else’s life. And because you are involved in the animal health and nutrition business, you have likely helped a young person or his or her parent get on the right track with a nutrition program.

Sure Champ® Ring Leader Whitney Walker from Prairie Grove, Ark., shared her positive experience with leadership opportunities on the Sure Champ blog in November.

“It’s been a really fun experience so far. I’ve had a lot more kids interact on my social media more curious than I expected about the Sure Champ line and the Sure Champ products. You’d think a lot of the times the parents make feeding decisions and what to buy, but these kids are actually invested and want to know about what their animals are eating. I’ve had a lot of them ask me what Amaferm is, and now I can actually explain to them what it is and back up how Sure Champ products work,” said the Ring Leader who is a freshman at Oklahoma State University.

No doubt that those young people got their first feeding information from those of you that this newsletter is targeted to.

And even when it doesn’t encompass livestock health and nutrition, you are still making a difference. You encourage young people to get involved with youth programs like 4-H, FFA or other junior breed associations. You support the youth by being a sports booster, buying their project animal at the fair or sponsoring awards. Sometimes it is even as simple as listening to reasons for a livestock judging team or a presentation for a national competition.

Catherine Stangl, a member of the Kingfisher FFA Chapter recalls how local businesses in her community help support the local chapter, on a regular basis, in addition to when they are preparing for big competitions.

“Our FFA chapter is very well-known, and we come from a really good community that is there for us,” Stangl said. “When we were preparing for nationals, we would go to several companies and organizations whether it was an oil company or Rotary, and we presented our skit, and they helped us make it better.”

Stangl was a member of the seven-person Ag Issues Forum team that won in Oklahoma and claimed the 2018 National Championship last October that presented a skit set to resemble a courtroom. The issue they presented was over the temporary water lines and the oil industry, an ongoing controversial topic in their home county. Stangl said she and her peers spent countless hours practicing and had wonderful community support.

“This industry is a really good industry to grow up in, and I think we all become better people toward other people, whether it’s being nice or just being there for them,” Stangl said.

Never forget your role is more than your job title. You are a role model, a supporter, a voice in the industry. You are an advocate, educator and a hero. Someone is watching you. Your job doesn’t define you, but how you treat others and serve your community does. Remember people want to know about you, your story and what you do on a daily basis, and not just your title.

Effective Action: Review Past Actions as You Plan Ahead

Everywhere you look, there are signs reminding us how many days there are until Christmas or how many days there are left of this year. To me, it seems like we were just stocking up on bottled water and cash getting ready to ring in the year 2000, Y2K, and now we’re counting down to 2020. As a business owner, you are likely using these last few weeks of 2019 to plan for the new year, finalizing budgets and prioritizing marketing plans. Do you know what those plans look like? How do you plan for the future if you don’t review what you’ve done in the past?

Hopefully, as you’ve made your plans for the year ahead, you have spent time reflecting on what actions you took this year. Were they all successful? Did some of the marketing strategies you implement work better than others? Are there some actions that were smart, but could have used some better implementation? Think back on each strategy, before you plan what you will do in the future.

March on with Successful Strategies
Perhaps you conducted a producer meeting this year that had tremendous turnout, introduced some producers to your products and captured some new customers. That is the definition of success. Think about what made that meeting successful. Was it the speaker? The topics discussed? The audience? Time of year? Whatever made that event successful this year, you will want to capitalize on for the future. As the adage goes, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” move forward with similar events and marketing initiatives in the new year to ensure continued growth for your business.

Fix what Needs Fixin’
As mentioned in the previous article, it is best to debrief or reflect after each event to see what worked well and what didn’t. If you conducted a marketing event during the past year that had some good things going, but didn’t really hit the target, perhaps now is a good time to review those debriefing or post-event notes to recall what didn’t work out so great so you can go back and make necessary changes. Once you review the event, make the changes and add it to your strategy for the forthcoming year, you might find it to be the biggest success of all. Sometimes a little tweak is all that needs fixed to make a good event a great event.

It’s Okay to Call it Quits
Did you conduct a marketing initiative, educational event or promotion that was an absolute flop? That is going to happen once in a while. No, it isn’t ideal, and for those of you driven business leaders, those flops hurt, but we can learn from them and move forward. Maybe it was something as simple as the timing of an event or maybe it was a promotion that just didn’t interest your customer base. Sometimes the biggest lessons come from the hardest times. Your debrief notes should indicate that this was something that your company doesn’t intend to do again. Don’t spend time dwelling on this event. Move on, learn from mistakes and don’t make them again.

Once you have reviewed what worked out well and what didn’t work out so well, you can start making some marketing plans. Try to have a rough plan in place for the next 12 months, so you can start sharing plans with your ASM and creating an outline with more concrete ideas. Remember, there are a plethora of activities and ideas listed in the back office under the Dealer Rewards Center. Or, you can always propose one of your original ideas to your ASM and the Marketing Team.

Reviewing your former marketing strategies is a great way to discover what worked, what didn’t work and what you need to continue to make work in the future.

How Reflection Can Serve as a Successful Meeting Example

Reflect, according to Dictionary.com, means to ponder, think or meditate. But according to an article on inc.com, U.S. military leaders take this definition even deeper, as they work continuously to improve everything they do. Businesses should be no different. You should want to measure performance and success, not only by sales figures, but also by marketing strategies, educational efforts, customer service and basically any action you take, or mission, as it is referred to in the military.

Military leaders use the debrief, a self-facilitated review of how the team performed on the mission, so things can improve for the next time. In other words, they gather all those involved with a project, engagement, training, promotion, and meet as soon afterward as possible to reflect, get feedback and adjust for future success. Author Gene Hammett said, “You should do a debrief when things are going well just as much as you should when things don’t go well. Using the debrief style of meeting in my work with fast-growth companies has given them a faster path to improvement and speeds a transfer of knowledge across all levels of the organization.”

Hammett offers three tips to business leaders to have a productive debrief through reflection, which should help increase sales and foster employee morale.

1. Include Everyone
Make sure at each debriefing you include every person who was involved, not just those in leadership, but also those who actively participated. They all will have input – both good and bad. As Hammett writes, “Many organizations wonder why they have experience at the top of the company yet lack it at the middle and bottom. One reason is they are not including the full team in the moments of reflection and growth.”

A sign of a good leader is being sure to include everyone. Did you recently host a producer meeting? Have a debrief to reflect on how it was received. Be sure to include those who talked to customers, took orders and even served food. They will all have feedback so you can make future events better for your customers and ultimately your business.

2. Leave Rank at the Door
When you conduct the debrief from your latest “mission” or project, be sure to treat everyone as equals. Yes, that might seem challenging, especially for leaders who like to take charge of meetings. However, it is the best way to hear everyone’s perspective that could ultimately lead to areas for new growth. When everyone is viewed as an equal it is easier to admit faults to create better solutions for the future.

Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a former Air Force Fighter pilot turned author and speaker, offers this advice on the debriefing process: “Leaders must remove their ego. When you leave your rank at the door, you allow others to be open to their mistakes.”

3. Close Effectively
There are two ways to end the meeting with purpose and clarity. First, whoever is leading the meeting should ask for questions. Questions give the opportunity to clarify any topic that wasn’t discussed and ensure that everything that was covered is understood by all. Questions also provide insight about where the leadership might want to improve to make the next project or mission clearer for the audience.

Next, conclude the meeting with a statement that outlines clear and actionable growth steps that need to be made and list who will be responsible for those duties. Once that concluding statement is made, all attendees should be on the same page, and know what to expect for the next project, and they will know their role in making improvements.

The military debriefing might just be the next best thing since Amaferm® . It is a model for you and your employees to follow to reflect and meet after a project or event, so you know how to make the next one even better. Improving your business one day and one project at a time will help you grow your customer base and will help you grow your business.

 

 

 

Take Action: Creative Thinking Helps You Grow and Earn

There are several traditional methods to grow your business. However, BioZyme® offers support to its dealer network for its marketing and outreach efforts and rewards dealers enrolled in the Dealer Rewards Program for their creativity and their efforts.

Area Sales Managers, the Outreach Support Center and the Marketing Team are all available to assist dealers in their marketing and promotion efforts. Brainstorming with these groups will help you find some creative and unique ways to grow your business. You will also find resources that are readily available for your use, like online posts using Promoboxx or mailers and print advertisements.

Some of the most inventive methods of promotion are the results of creative thinking on behalf of a dealer and his or her ASM. Digital billboards, signage at local livestock auctions and targeted producer meetings focused on specific audiences are all some “out of the box” methods to help promote your business.

Year-end Planning

As the end of the year approaches, you will want to think about ways to spur end-of-the-year sales and thank your customers. This might be with a customer open house, a newsletter to talk about calving preparedness or a producer meeting to talk about products. Remember planning these in advance is always a good idea, and the BioZyme staff is available to help.

In addition to growing your business, you can also earn dealer reward points. Dealer Reward points were created to motivate and reward dealers for their participation and efforts to educate and market the BioZyme products. Points can be accumulated through the year for many of the tasks already mentioned. They can also be earned for completing the Master Dealer Training Program, going on a sales call with your ASM, after-hours dealer trainings and much more. Once you have participated in an activity, work with the staff to make sure your points get calculated.

Use the information in the Online Dealer Center to see a complete list of activities that can earn reward points. But, don’t be afraid to propose an idea that isn’t on the list. We always love to hear your original ideas and get especially excited to share them with other dealers. Those new ideas will earn you points as well.

Once you have points, you can redeem them for a variety of items, from caps and jackets representing the various product lines to gift cards, an iPad and even a show box. Points accumulate during the year and need to be redeemed by Jan. 31 the following year or they are wiped out. The rewards make great gifts for customers, employees and even nice swag to keep for yourself to wear with pride as you promote your business.

Get creative with your promotion. Brainstorm with your staff, family members and the BioZyme team that is here to help you. Take action. Earn rewards. Watch your business grow

Thinking Like Your Customer Helps Build Business

As the year winds down and you’re examining those sales figures, trying to decide how to best get over the hump and build some new business to reach your goals, one thing should come to mind: treat your potential customers like you would want to be treated. In other words, gone are the days of the hard-sell, and here are the days of thinking like your customer would think to solve their challenges.

John Jeffrey, BioZyme® Area Sales Manager (ASM) for Oklahoma and Eastern Kansas, said there are three points to consider when talking to potential customers and trying to develop new accounts. Thinking like a customer is key so you know what his or her challenges are and how the products can help, but first, you must build a relationship with the potential customer.

Perhaps statesman Abraham Lincoln would have been a great sales trainer back in his day. He once said, “When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.”

Potential customers are just like you. They value their time, want to have a relationship built on trust and understanding, and appreciate the follow-up that isn’t too bothersome. Put yourself in their shoes to start developing business.

  1. Identify a need. Jeffrey said when a producer approaches him at a trade show, meeting or even calls him on the phone, the first thing he does is visit with the person to discover the gap in his or her program. This is the foundation for a relationship built on trust and further understanding their needs. Ask the questions: What are your goals? Are you meeting them? If not, what is missing? Discovering the challenge will help put you in that producer’s shoes and understand further what the frustrations are and what supplement can potentially fill the gap.
    “You won’t get anywhere if you just start providing them with a lot of information. First, you’ve got to make them realize they have a challenge and that they need something to fix that challenge,” Jeffrey said.
  2. Consider their time. Jeffrey reminds all salespeople, that nobody owes you time, so make the most of their time when you are visiting with potential and current customers. One way to make the most of your time and theirs is to leave your phone in the car. The one exception is if you are expecting a very important call, such as receiving word on a family emergency, and then, silence your phone and explain to your client before your meeting that the only way you will take a call is if it is of the upmost urgency and that you are expecting that type of call.
  3. Follow up. “Persistence pays, but don’t be annoying,” Jeffrey said.
    He said he likes to follow up with potential customers, and though he doesn’t have a set schedule, he does like to be persistent and available to answer further questions, especially in today’s competitive mineral market. Once again, he puts himself in his customers’ shoes, and thinks about how often he’d want the follow up or how he’d want his questions answered and makes sure he is available to answer questions.

Perhaps statesman Abraham Lincoln would have been a great sales trainer back in his day. He once said, “When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.”

Potential customers are just like you. They value their time, want to have a relationship built on trust and understanding, and appreciate the follow-up that isn’t too bothersome. Put yourself in their shoes to start developing business.

Critical Thinking Can Grow Your Business

Meetings can be one of the best ways to work collaboratively to help grow your business and work ON your business, if you structure them correctly, involve the right people and ask the right questions. As Lisa referred to in this month’s letter, the best way to advance your business is in the dining room, looking toward the future, and not necessarily dwelling on the past.

Another way to look at working ON your business is through critical thinking sessions or brainstorming meetings. According to the website, www.barefootbrainstorming.com, there are several ways to make your next strategic planning session productive and move your business forward.

  1. Have an agenda. Have a list of goals that you want to accomplish during the set time of the meeting. The agenda shouldn’t be too specific, but the end results should answer the questions of who will be responsible for achieving the assigned duties or tasks.
  2. Value time. Make sure you have a start time and end time and keep track of time throughout the meeting. Time is a valuable asset, and if the participants know the meeting will start and end on time, with plenty of short breaks to check email and return calls, they will be more focused during the actual meeting time.
  3. Put away the PowerPoint. Nothing is more boring than seeing a screen of numbers and charts flash before the attendees’ eyes, only for a brief amount of time. And, the focus is drawn away from what is being discussed and rather diverted onto copying the numbers onto a notebook. Instead, print out notes, provide colorful pens, markers and colored pencils for notetaking, as the colors are soothing, and help promote creative thinking.
  4. Play. Some of the most productive meetings will include small toys or gadgets to engage all five of the senses because according to one blog site, “when we engage both our left and right hands simultaneously, we use 80% of our brain power!” The blog recommends the following for each of the senses:
    • Sight – colorful toys, pictures, and crayons.
    • Smell – Play-Doh, and Mr. Sketch scented markers.
    • Touch – tactile toys (slinkies, legos, pipe cleaners, and Play-Doh).
    • Sound – music.• Taste – candy bags including chocolate, caramels and gummy bears.
  5. Encourage participant engagement. Invite people from various teams or departments to the meeting for a fresh perspective, but let your expectations be known. Everyone should participate. And, every idea has some merit, even ones that seem a little far-fetched, can be responded to like this, “yes, and then…” building on an idea to get a different, but positive outcome in the future.
  6. Assign a recorder for all ideas. Every idea has some good merit, and it is important to keep those ideas flowing. Assign one or two people to write the ides on a big poster so everyone can see them, and when it is time to start critiquing ideas, start with positive feedback first.

Meetings can be productive, and they can be a way to start planning for growth in the future. Critical thinking is a tool that allows various perspectives to be shared, while hearing fresh ideas from different team members. Pull up a chair, make room for creativity and start planning the steps to grow your business.

7 Secrets to Achieving Work-Life Balance as a Business Leader/Owner

As business owners and leaders in a world of connectivity it is often challenging to have a separation between work and personal life, especially when you are involved in agriculture. Your customers are likely your friends, neighbors and maybe even your relatives. Smart phones and tablets keep you connected to everyone, starting first thing in the morning until late at night. Combine all that with the last-minute needs of many people, and it truly is hard to balance personal and professional lives.

However, everyone does need some type of a break. No one performs to their highest during a season of burnout, and if you are not performing to your best potential, your sales will show. Perhaps instead of a balance, you need to decide the best way to “give-and-take” the time you need to grow your business, while still enjoying life. For instance, a start-up, young business will probably need to work harder, putting forth more effort than a well-established, highly respected company. That is part of the give-and-take or balance of being a business owner or leader.

Megan Sullivan offers seven tips on achieving some type of balance in your work and personal lives.

Set Boundaries and Keep Them. This is critical to your personal wellbeing in many different aspects. Be sure to set a time boundary. If you are typically open from 8 – 5, daily, it is acceptable to answer the phone a little early or even make a delivery. But much later than 5:30 or so, you need to call it quitting time and put up the phone and spend time doing something you enjoy.

When it comes to space boundaries, these are just as important as time boundaries. Make sure you have a space where you can leave work behind, like an office, shed or even in your pickup. Just make sure when you get you home, you don’t bring work with you.

Take Time Off. If you say you’re taking time off or time away, mean it. This is especially true on days you are sick or have medical appointments. If you have let your customers know you are going to be out, they will respect that, and not contact you.

Keep your Social Commitments. You remember what they said about all work and no play? It made Jack a dull boy. And it will make you a dull human being too. Not only are social opportunities a good way to keep up with your friends and what is happening in your community, they are also another way to promote you and your company (remember, life is all about balance).

Take Care of Yourself. Self-care is so important to being able to function properly. Be sure you eat healthy meals and snacks and take breaks throughout the day. If you are at a desk the majority of the day, get up and stretch. Walk around and get some fresh air every few hours. If you are outside in the elements most of the day, be sure to stay hydrated and take breaks when you can.

Part of taking care of yourself is also rejuvenating away from work. Take a vacation. Maybe you can’t afford the time or money for an elaborate trip. But, take time away. Take a long weekend away with your family. Go visit family or friends. Explore some part of the state or country you’ve always wanted to visit. There are several ways to get away and not spend a great deal of money, and ultimately, you will feel better for it.

Set your Own Norms. Remember, what works for your neighbor might not work for you. For instance, you know you have church on Wednesday nights. Make that a night that is set aside for family. It might be a family policy that everyone eats together either before or after church, and no cell phones are allowed. If the other stores in town are open late one night a week, you can choose to stay open or not. It is up to you to set your schedule and what works best for you.

Ask for Help. You don’t wear a cape, and you don’t have to be a superhero. Sometimes you can be more efficient if you ask for help. Or better yet, delegate some responsibility to other employees. Asking for help and delegating are ways that you can get more time back on your calendar or accomplish a task quicker with the help of others.

Know When to Say No. We live in a society of people pleasers and saying “no” to others is hard. But sometimes it is the best thing to do for your own sanity. Weigh the pros and cons. Is it worthwhile to you, your family or your business to say yes? If not, a firm no is always better than giving the asker the false hope of a “maybe.”

Work-life balance isn’t a myth. But it isn’t easy either. It takes some planning and time to achieve, but with the advice of these tips above, you can still grow your business while having a happy, healthy personal life too.

Online source for this story: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/ productivity/12secrets-to-achieving-a-good-work-life-balance-as-a-businessowner/

Bringing Balance by Investing in Youth

Getting involved. Giving back. Sharing a passion and her knowledge. These are all actions that have helped Riley Faris, Pueblo, Colo., get her business going during her first summer as a BioZyme® dealer.

Faris, who was involved in youth livestock projects growing up, has stepped up as a volunteer the past three years at the Pueblo County Fair in Southeast Colorado. She showed at this same fair as an exhibitor, and now enjoys coming back as a volunteer, assisting the swine superintendent with the hog show including duties ranging from weighing in the pigs, to breaking classes to helping manage the show on show day.

“I’m trying to help the youth with showing and to learn how to take care of their animals. Coming from an agricultural background, it is important to instill in the youth the importance of agriculture and the role it plays in our everyday life. Plus, when I was growing up, I had a lot of people help me, so now that I’m older I want to return that to the younger kids,” Faris said.

Faris is not only helping youth understand the importance of agriculture and assisting with the annual hog show, but she is also trying to teach the young exhibitors and their parents the importance of keeping their animals healthy with the use of a good nutrition program. As a newer BioZyme dealer, she takes the opportunities of being at the Pueblo County Fair and other surrounding livestock shows to discuss the Sure Champ® line of products and the Amaferm® advantage.

At this year’s Pueblo County Fair, Faris was able to sponsor showmanship awards for the Grand and Reserve Champion showman of each species, while promoting the products that help their livestock stay on feed and water and keep healthy.

“This year because of BioZyme and all of the support they offer, I was able to get showmanship banners for hogs, sheep, goats and beef.

I am also giving each of the winners a little goodie bag with some additional fun things and added information about the Sure Champ line, specifically designed for show animals,” she said. “The kids were so excited. Typically, the grand and reserve champion animals get banners, but they have to give them to the buyers, so the kids were excited they got to bring their showmanship banners home with them.”

In addition to the awards she provided at Pueblo County, she sponsored awards for the Grand and Reserve Grand Market Animal classes at the neighboring Otero County to Fair. Both sponsorships led to product awareness, and with the county fair and state fair about a month a part in Pueblo, she said she sold some additional Sure Champ between the county fairs and the Colorado State Fair.

“The most rewarding part is watching the new kids that come up through the programs or the kids that reach out to me and watching them succeed and seeing the look on their faces when they know they have accomplished something,” Faris said.

Although Faris genuinely enjoys watching the youth grow, learn and succeed, she knows that being involved in the local shows has created awareness for her business, and helped increase her sales.

“Give a little bit of yourself and your time, and people will start supporting your business,” she said.

Finding the Balance Between Leadership and Management

When it comes to running your business, would you rather have a leader or manager in charge? Seems like a trick question until you really think about it. However, it is best to have someone who can balance both the traits of a leader and a manager and work in the business while also working on the growth of the business.

A leader guides or directs. We often think of leaders setting behind large mahogany desks in big cushy chairs. They set budgets, give inspirational talks at the company’s monthly meetings and cheer on the employees who have reached milestones. Everyone wants to be an all-powerful leader.

A manager on the other hand, sets among the employees in a not so cushy chair, and lives by the budgets set forth for them. They often oversee one team or division of the company, and make sure that tasks are assigned and completed on time, team goals are met. Managing can sound dreary and sometimes like the controlling force behind the worker bees.

However, both leaders and managers are needed in successful business settings. Are you a leader or a manager? The problem with this either-or thinking is that both are needed in a well-run enterprise.

According to a post at www.inpserity.com: “Leaders focus on high-level objectives such as inspiring and motivating the team to success, which can be exciting and powerful. Managers focus on organizing, planning and overseeing daily operations and that can sound mundane.”

You might be thinking back to Lisa’s letter, and wondering, in your position, should you be working in the business or on the business. The answer is, both.

A well-balanced supervisor, regardless of title, will have some traits of both a leader and a manager. Although a manager’s first priority is to make sure employees get their job complete in an efficient order – working in the business; it is also important to the employees to hear from their manager positive feedback on how they accomplished the task – working on the business. That is a good example of how a supervisor needs to balance the roles of both manager and leader.

Here are six questions for you to ask yourself, according to Insperity. com, to help you balance your manager-leader role to make your employees and your business more efficient.

1. Is the work getting done well without my intervention? If yes, concentrate on motivating the team to keep performing well. If not, put on your manager hat and ask the team what’s getting in the way of better performance, then help them implement changes.

2. Do you focus on results or the process (how the job got done)? If you focus on results, good for you. That’s what is most important. If you tend to focus on process more than results, challenge yourself to become more comfortable with the reality that many alternatives may exist to getting the same result.

3. Do colleagues in other parts of the organization come to you for advice? If yes, you’re probably seen as a leader. If not, look at what you can change to support and inspire others. What do you spend the most time talking about? The tasks at hand, processes and deadlines, or the big picture and strategy? Managers need to discuss both but pay attention to whether you’re leaning too hard one direction or the other.

4. What do you spend the most time talking about? The tasks at hand, processes and deadlines, or the big picture and strategy? Managers need to discuss both but pay attention to whether you’re leaning too hard one direction or the other.

5. Do you ask employees to accomplish objectives without explaining the need behind the request? Employees are more likely to go the extra mile if they understand why they’re being asked to do something.

6. Who is responsible when things go wrong? Do you blame the team or yourself? A leader understands that it’s ultimately his or her responsibility for the success or failure of a team.

Remember, there is no one right to lead or manage your team, but you will need to balance your skills so that you can encourage them to get the work done while also serving as a coach and motivator. Being a manager and a leader at the same time will allow you to work in and on the business, achieving the best results for everyone.

 

Information from this article from: https://www.insperity.com/blog/leadershipvs-management-strike-right-balance-business/

How Producer Meetings Can Help Build Strategy

Producer meetings are a great communications and marketing tool. However, do you know they can serve other purposes too? They can serve as an educational resource, and also as a way to help you develop your strategic plan.

Listening Post

Communications not only involves sharing information, but just as importantly it entails gathering information that can help you grow your business. Producer meetings are a great place to gather input from customers, learn what their challenges are and hear how you can help them become more efficient in caring for their animals. There are several ways you can gather this useful material during producer meetings.

Some dealers like to have small group meetings or gather people of similar backgrounds for coffee, a meal and individual conversations. This is an excellent way to find out about the concerns about a specific industry. Perhaps you are in a predominant cow-calf area but have handful of sheep or goat producers. Why not get them together to share insight on their industry. Maybe there are specie-specific concerns about health, nutrition, reproduction or hoof care. Hearing those concerns, from firsthand producers is the best way to determine how you can best assist them during the next year.

If you don’t think you have the time or will gather enough producers for a small setting, set aside an amount of time at your next producer meeting for some good candid conversation about what your business can do in the future to set your customers up for success. Having this dialogue will help you learn more about what your business needs to do, and you can write some of those steps into you next strategic plan. It also gives other producers in the room a support system, so they know they aren’t alone in their endeavors. Anything you hear, big or small, should be written down so you can follow up. If you are unsure of something you heard, contact the producer and make sure you follow up on anything you want to add to your strategic plan.

One-on-one Convos

Perhaps you are not planning a producer meeting. You can still use a conversation to discover what is weighing on your customer. Here are a few sample questions to get your conversation started.

1. What is your number one production/management concern this year?

2. When do you feel you need the most help saving money on nutrition for your herd/livestock/animals?

3. Who determines the management plans and budgets in your operation? (Good to know if you are dealing with a multi-generation operation.)

4. What if I can show you how an investment in nutrition will help your bottom line?

Producer Meetings with a Twist

One way you might consider helping your beef producers realize more value in their calves is to make sure they are BQA certified. A recent study at Colorado State University shows “significant premiums are paid on calves and feeder cattle going through video auctions when Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is mentioned in the lot description. CSU researchers found an average premium of $16.80 per head was paid when BQA was listed.”

In late August, Wilde Angus Ranch, Shevlin, Minn., hosted a producer meeting, in cooperation with the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association, where attendees would be able to receive their BQA training. As of Aug. 6, 145 producers had already pre-registered. This is a great way to help producers stay educated on industry topics, which could lead them to premiums on their calves, all while sharing the BioZyme message with them.

Stay strategic. Use producer meetings as a two-way communications tool to help you plan your business and marketing strategy so you can help your customers succeed.