The word synergy is derived from the Greek word synergos, which means “working together.”
Most leaders feel they ought to be creating synergy inside their company. However, the pursuit of synergy pervades most companies. Meetings and retreats are held to brainstorm about ways to work together more effectively. Teams are set up to develop key customer plans, coordinate product development and share best practices. Incentives for sharing knowledge, leads and customers are built into complex compensation schemes. Processes and procedures are standardized. What emerges from all this activity????
Many times, not much that matters and certainly not synergy. However, if we take synergy over into the product side of business, it has a better chance of making a difference. Synergy happens in product sales when the collaboration of two or more stock-keeping units (SKUs) creates an outcome that is greater than their combined separate efforts. I like to make this a bit simpler and say that synergy means selling a program not a product.
A program is a set of related activities or items, managed in a coordinated fashion that allows for the delivery of outcomes and benefits allowing one to reach his or her goal.
For the past several years, BioZyme® has worked to educate our team on programs and how they can help people obtain their goals or maximize the benefits to their animal (results). No matter the brand, there is a program that optimizes the connection of daily maintenance with the occasional challenges that pop up their ugly head, no matter how hard we try to keep them at bay. This combo truly supports care that comes full circle where people and animals win!
The food an average American family wastes translates into about $2,500 per year. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), beef is one of the least wasted foods, with only 20% spoiled or not eaten. If beef waste were cut in half, the sustainability of the whole industry could be improved by 10%.
Not only is beef delicious and nutritious, but the beef industry continues to implement numerous proven sustainability practices throughout each step of the “pasture-to-plate” process. Though the path to sustainability is never complete, it is a continuous journey.
To the beef community, sustainability comprises much more than environmental considerations. Today, a sustainable food supply balances efficient production with environmental, social and economic impacts.
BioZyme’s Gain Smart ® line was developed for stockers to help them enhance what they do best; turn grass into the beef we all love to eat. Throughout the beef cycle, each sector makes efforts to improve sustainability. Stockers are no exception. So please help us by helping them and remember to include Gain Smart in your conversations with those raising sustainable beef.
A sustainable beef herd is like a sustainable company – one whose purpose and actions are equally grounded in financial, environmental and social concerns. I am not very experienced in beef sustainability but in a company, I feel like I can offer a few ideas. Below you will find five ways to help you shape a more sustainable future for your company.
Do not stand still, embrace change When you change and act fast, you can be the biggest, boldest and brightest unicorn, but if you remain still and don’t change and adapt to a situation quickly, you are closer to extinction than sustainability.
For instance, in the 80s, IBM got close to extinction. In fact, they were featured on the Forbes and Fortune magazine covers along with dinosaurs. So, the idea is there’s no standing still, or you will petrify just like the dinosaur. One may have a great idea that works, but it doesn’t matter how big the idea is, if you can’t find ways to take it to the market quickly you aren’t driving sustainability.
Focus on creating the customer’s value proposition, not yours Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day the business purpose is to drive value for the customer. Focus on creating high value, high capabilities that are useful for your customer base. This doesn’t mean that you need to be an expert at everything; it’s about creating value on the top end with existing resources.
Remember growth and comfort don’t co-exist We are no longer in the 50s, 60s, and 70s era. For example, if you are a banker, your new competitors are completely different. If you are in retail, now everybody is a retailer. Similarly, if you have been in the mobile business, then you can see that it’s no longer an industry; it’s a platform, it’s a capability. This is uncomfortable. But growth comes from businesses that focus on delivering value in innovative ways for their customers, even when it is uncomfortable.
Focus on excelling in an area It’s no longer about one company delivering value to every client at every place; it’s about being a part of an ecosystem. If you are not part of the ecosystem, then you are limiting yourself. You might have a successful start, but eventually it starts becoming difficult. Further in the bigger ecosystem, you are going to become a part of many ecosystems. In some, you might be a significant player and in others, you might be a small player. But in the end, it’s all about the contributions you are making in each of those ecosystems. So don’t try to be a big player in every ecosystem, rather look at how things work to drive incremental value in your ecosystem.
Focus on constant reinvention When you are part of a company, then it’s all about constantly reinventing what you do, it’s about reimaging how you do it and at the same time retaining your above core belief system because you want your employees, your clients, and your partners to work with you and for you.
Sustainability – believe you can make a difference and keep pushing.
Diversification is a key component of a long-lived, healthy business. Diversification is the process of a business enlarging or varying its range of products or field of operation. Personally, I don’t think of diversification as a process, I think of it as a conscious decision to prosper. Diversification is a proactive growth strategy. Adding new products and services to your business can gain you entry to an attractive new industry full of new customers and high sales potential. It can also kick-start growth again with your current customers.
At BioZyme®, sales diversification is one of our five corporate goals. As a high growth, innovative company not diversifying is not really an option for us. Of course, the tricky part is determining where and how to diversify. Adding the small ruminant brand wasn’t all that tricky, but it has been a pretty easy way to accomplish diversification.
It all started with end-users asking why their sheep and goats could not get the Concept•Aid® line like cattle people could. Being taught by Dr. Francis Fluharty that sheep and goats are not the same and that they are way different than a cow, I wanted us to create products for each of these small ruminants instead of a one-line-fits-all approach. While the population numbers make you think you would put them together, my educator taught me to realize that would not be best for the animal. As an animal lover, having both sheep and goat products in the DuraFerm line became the only way to go for me.
The population of sheep and goats in the U.S. has been stable over the last few years at around 8M head. This is just about the same number as the population of dairy cows and horses. In all cases, we should be focused on a targeted sales approach with salespeople that have time to focus on the diversification, a specific marketing strategy for the diversification effort and a thorough follow-up effort on both to keep the pipeline funnel moving correctly.
At the risk of being long winded, I can’t pass up the opportunity to expand on how diversification brings up the importance of knowing your customers’ demands. To deliver value to your customers, you must have a clear understanding of their needs. This doesn’t change if they are a sheep, goat, dog or horse customer. However, it is probably more important to acknowledge it as a business owner when one is trying to diversify.
A customer need is a problem that a person is trying to solve, which motivates them to seek a product or service to do so. Another way to understand customer needs is to think of them as jobs to be done. The jobs to be done (JTBD) theory was first introduced by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. In the online course Disruptive Strategy, Christensen asserts that customers don’t really buy products; they “hire” them to get a “job” done. In Disruptive Strategy, a JTBD is defined as “a circumstances-based description of understanding your customers’ desires, competitive set, anxieties, habits and timeline of purchase.”
Based on this definition, customers hire a product or service based on how well it fits their job description. If you understand the jobs your customers are hiring your product or service for, you can create a winning value proposition and drive innovation within your organization.
By aligning your company with JTBD, you can tailor your offerings to deliver value to your customers, achieve differentiation in the market, and avoid disruption. There are a number of ways to learn about your customers’ jobs to be done. Here are three ways to develop an understanding of your customers’ needs to better serve them with your products and services.
Reflect on Your Experiences The first method for identifying jobs to be done is to reflect on your own behaviors and experiences, identifying patterns in your decision-making process. You yourself are a customer and, in the absence of other data sources, self-reflection can be a helpful starting point.
What motivated me to make the purchase?
What other options were available to me?
Why did I choose this product over the other options available?
What goal did the product help me achieve?
Observe Behaviors Around You In addition to reflecting on your own experiences, you should observe the behaviors of those around you. If possible, look for opportunities to observe people at each stage of the buying process—from the time the job to be done arises to the final decision. Observe how people use the product or service to understand what goals it helps them achieve or challenges it helps them avoid. Look out for compensating behaviors or actions people take when a product or service doesn’t exist to fulfill their needs. Understanding the JTBD at the core of inconvenient alternatives can help you identify an underserved need in the market and inspire ideas to satisfy it.
Order some DuraFerm Force yourself to diversify and figure out how to get the job done!
I believe that a profitable, fun business needs to be kept simple and can be easily described with a triangle. How?
At the very top of the triangle and business must be its goals. Goals should not be plentiful, nor too complex. These goals must be supported with strategies that are so important that without their completion, the goals won’t be met. And then finally, these strategies must have amazing, defined tactics behind them, to ensure they are accomplished.
The triangle must be supported with investment and structure, as a well thought out set of business goals, strategies and tactics can only be completely successful if they have these behind them. Without all these features, a business will not be able to maximize its growth potential, since we need to make plans for the future to create opportunities, rather than simply wait for new business. Without an organizational structure that puts key employees together on a regular basis, it will be difficult to create effective strategies and impossible to hit the related goals.
Strategic management includes creating growth through introducing new products, using new distribution channels, expanding geographically or going after a new target market. These strategies give the path needed, while the tactics are much more concrete and are often oriented toward smaller steps and a shorter time frame. In other pages of this month’s VISION we talk about a variety of strategies and tactics to position products and hopefully help sell the BioZyme products.
Business is not simple, but it does not have to be complex either. Remember a triangle is the simplest form of a polygon and “It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” – Amelia Barr
“Upon the subject of education. . . I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.” – Abraham Lincoln
Too many companies seem to believe that ignorance makes for the best customers. Actually, the more informed and empowered customers are, the more satisfied and confident they are with their choice of you. And that kind of confidence almost always leads to loyalty. In the end, isn’t that what all of this is really about?
By only reaching people to convert them into customers, you are limiting your potential to generate new customers. So, if you want to change how people perceive you, you need to distinguish yourself as a leading educational voice.
Customer education doesn’t just boil down to one or two small benefits. Its positive effects are numerous. They’re also intertwined, and when done well, it feeds a much bigger machine, helping to fuel your business’s growth.
To begin assessing the needs of your customer education initiative you must know your customers’ pain points, then you can develop a plan to help overcome these. For this, you’ll need the right tools and resources to help.
There are a wide variety of first-class tools available through BioZyme in our Online Dealer Center. These will help you deliver efficient and effective training. The below graphic is a good visual to keep your education track on course.
Just because some beef producers think that green grass means less need for supplementation (this is totally not true), doesn’t mean your business needs to slow down in the summer. Here are some ideas to make the summer work for you instead of against you.
Find other ways to bring in revenue Your sales don’t have to grind to a complete halt during the off-season. Diversify your business offerings and see if you can sell related or complementary products and services. Determine the other needs of your customers and find ways to fulfill them even when your main business isn’t in season. May I note that most horse owners love to supplement their “pet” all year long, so please consider the Vitalize® brand. We’ve been through this diversification drill in these letters before; note, I won’t give up on helping us all remember to do this.
Build your community Social media gives you tons of opportunities to connect with people all year, so keep your blog and social accounts active. Keep publishing blog posts and posting updates on all of the channels your customers follow. Use your downtime to come up with great content that can educate your customers. Doing so helps you build authority, strengthens your community and ensures that people will remember you when it comes time to do business again in the fall.
Reach out to the media Publications usually plan their articles months in advance, so if you want to land a magazine feature just in time for the peak season, you’ll have to reach out NOW.
Attend networking and educational events Use the slow months to broaden your knowledge and network. Virtual conferences and even local business events can help you gain new partnerships and skills that you can use in your business, so don’t pass up the chance to attend them.
Get feedback The off-season could be the perfect time to get feedback and reviews from your customers. Consider getting in touch with people who purchased from you and ask them what they thought of your products.
Business may be seasonal, but your commitment to it shouldn’t be. Put these tips into action and find ways to thrive. I find summer to be one of the most inspiring times of year. It’s a great time to allow yourself to create things you might not normally create—or make progress in directions you wouldn’t otherwise prioritize. For me, summer has always been about picking goals that are less directly correlated with professional success, and more about self. It’s my way of maintaining some sort of connection to that child-like feeling of “summer vacation.”
Diversification is important for long-term success
In business, diversification means branching out into other product categories or industries. While this strategy does present some risks, diversification is often viewed as a safety net against downturns in a single industry or a way to grow your business by improving its sales and increasing its clientele.
If successful, diversification has many benefits, which is why it is considered essential for the growth of every business. There are a variety of ways in which you can diversify your products. These ways can include the following methods.
Expansion An example of expansion could be a company that produces fashionable children’s shoes and diversifies its business to incorporate children’s toys. The two products have nothing in common, but as long as they are both in demand by the same consumer market, the company is sure to earn more sales.
Ancillary Services To grow a business through diversification, companies often add additional services to existing products. For instance, a car manufacturing company can offer car maintenance and repairs. The concept of goods and services alongside one another can help create steady revenue. In our industry, the service we offer is hay testing to help properly determine the protein level that needs to be supplemented based on where the herd is in the stages of production.
Brand Extension A brand extension also becomes easier with the help of diversification. Famous brands and established businesses can extend the range of products to gain more customers. Brand expansion is often quite profitable if the same standard and quality of the goods are maintained because brands usually have many loyal customers who will buy every product they introduce into the market. If you sell VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® mineral, then brand extension is easy with the tubs and with Cattleman’s Blend™ or Conserve™ in times of lower nutritional needs.
Addition of a New Line Some businesses prefer to diversify by adding new lines. These lines may bring in a different type of customer or the same customer for another reason. The Backyard Boost™ line fits the bill by bringing in most all of the public. Apparently, when times are tough, people want chickens. Chick sales go up during stock market downturns and in presidential election years.
The Vita Charge® line also fits. Vita Charge addresses specific challenges, and usually during a challenge people are more likely to spend money so having all of the products in this line readily available provides significant diversification.
Many of your customers likely own multiple species. If they have cattle, they probably have horses. If they have horses, they could also have dogs. Have you thought about how you can introduce Vitalize® to these customers? Read further into this issue for more ideas.
Just Do It Considering the number of ways in which diversification can be used to expand and grow a business, it becomes clear that every booming business must eventually opt for diversification to survive and prosper.
My start with BioZyme® really came from being Bob’s wife. Both of these were very good decisions for me. I traveled with him to shows, and as a true animal lover became totally engaged, but as a business visionary who never stops thinking, I saw lots of opportunity. One of my favorite stories on this front occurred at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS). I was “working” the booth when a very nice lady stopped by to tell me how the Amaferm® Pellet had made a significant difference to her rabbit breeding operation. She was passionate about it, and I was so excited to tell Bob the story. When I did the response back was, “so how many rabbits does she have?” I excitedly shared the answer, 800. He replied, “how many Amaferm Pellets does a rabbit eat?” I replied 1 pellet. You know what came next, a mental evaluation to see if I had lost my mind.
I share this story because I am sure your initial response to this Backyard Boost™ idea could be the same. So please give me a minute to explain before you immediately send me to the insane asylum.
Backyard chickens are cropping up everywhere. Nearly 1% of all U.S. households surveyed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported owning backyard fowl in 2013, and 4% more planned to start in the next five years. That’s over 13 million Americans flocking to the backyard poultry scene. A 2015 review of 150 of the most-populated U.S. cities found that nearly all (93%) allowed backyard poultry flocks.
The coronavirus pandemic is heightening interest in raising young chickens for a reliable supply of eggs, with hatcheries saying they’re seeing a flood of new customers.
“We are swamped with orders,” says Nancy Smith, owner of the Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Missouri. “We can’t answer all the phone calls, and we are booked out several weeks on most breeds.”
“We’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve been here since 1964,” Smith says, describing the spike in her business.
For families adapting to disruptions brought on by COVID-19, raising hens is seen as an answer to vexing questions about the availability of staple items at grocery stores. Starting a backyard flock could also be a rewarding project for Americans who now face the prospect of spending weeks or months at home with schools closed and workers laid off, furloughed or working remotely. Folks who are feeling cooped up, in other words, may want to start a coop of their own.
Where do I see this product line growing/going? Through the roof.
Just one hatchery, Cackle Hatchery, supplies chicks to some 1,600 feed, farm and home stores across the country. Chickens are the hottest new backyard “pet”! It seems that every Tom, Dick and Susan wants to raise chickens in his or her backyard, whether that yard is one square foot or one hundred.
Part of the customer experience includes product education, and it’s up to you to provide it. An educated customer is more likely to be a customer in the future. A customer desiring to use knowledge to learn about a product is entirely dependent upon how effectively knowledge is delivered to them by you, yes you.
Barring the rare customer who will dedicate significant time and effort to teaching themselves a product, most customers need guidance to help them gain confidence in using a product. Therefore, the effectiveness of the learning content provided is crucial.
Once you accept the fact that helping people get to know how to use products is a key to sales, it’s easy to see why customer education influences customer experience. Few things or products are so intuitive that they require zero instruction. All customer education efforts must remember four key points to be effective.
Don’t compromise access to learning your product because the content isn’t accessible enough for people without advanced computer skills. When product learning requires lots of effort and skills to access, one deprives scores of people of the ability to learn how to use the product offering. And if they can’t figure out how to use it well, they’ll simply go find another product that does provide the learning they desire.
This is the part of the customer education process that will either cause excitement or indifference. Focused, concise bits of content that breaks the learning down into smaller pieces, makes the content much easier to follow so learners are more easily able to engage. This also helps you as you’re equally able to assess what works and what needs improvement in your learning content. People rarely stick around if they’re not engaged in what they’re learning. They’re already interested in your product (why they’re trying to learn), now it’s your responsibility to teach them in a manner that attracts their attention, engages them and delivers useful instruction in an easily digestible manner.
Even with accessibility and engagement, the recipe for customer education isn’t complete. You must also deliver content that is unintimidating. Every bit of care you put into your learning content and customer education is telling your customers how much you care about their success.
Learning should be fun. Even if the learners are lacking motivation, lessons fused with laughter can be highly effective. Not only are they entertaining, but humor has actually been seen to boost retention significantly! By sandwiching humor between instruction and repetition, one can learn incredibly fast while still having a laugh. You have an obligation to your customers to be a good teacher.
You have an obligation to your own company’s success to be a good teacher. Because it’s not only about putting together a few presentations so people can get the gist of your products. It needs to be your goal to build learning content that works so well that your customers are excited about how good they are at using your products. When people are good at something, they talk about it. That team that buys your products and is excited about how great they are at using it will become product evangelists.
At one second past midnight on January 1, 2021, the day will change from Thursday to Friday, usually a transition of no special significance. But this specific change, ending one year and beginning the next, is different. This unique tick of the clock prompts us to celebrate and to reflect.
The end of the year is a good time to celebrate.
If you skip the celebration, you’ll be hard pressed to realize your success, notice the progress you’re making and pivot on challenges in the future. You may always “woohoo” at your own discretion, but do not miss the opportunity to do so at the end of the year.
The end of the year is a good time to reflect.
Reflect on your personal progress AND your business’ progress. “Reflection is looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer.” – Unknown
After reflecting on the past year, it’s time to plan how you want to develop in the year ahead. Think of the planning as your “business” resolutions. I know, sadly, only about 8% of the 60% of us who make resolutions, achieve them. Let’s be stat stoppers. Let’s achieve the following business resolutions together so we beat those odds:
Promote Your Business Regularly and Consistently Too often the task of promoting our business slips to the bottom of the to-do list, crowded out by urgent tasks. But if you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority.
Make Business Planning a Weekly Event Planning is vital if you want a healthy, growing business. Planning lets you assess what worked and what didn’t work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. So why plan just once a year? Set aside time each week to review, adjust and look ahead.
Learn Something New What you choose to learn may be directly related or completely unrelated to your business. Learning something new will add to your skills and add a new dimension to your life. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may meet new and interesting people, who may become customers, colleagues or friends.
Set Realistic Goals Goal setting is a valuable habit—if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Resolve that the goals you set will be achievable and not so far out of reach that they only lead to frustration.
Don’t Just Make Do Is there a piece of equipment in your office that’s interfering with your success? Is there something that you lack that’s making your work life harder? Whether it’s an old computer that’s a pain to use or the need for a new employee to lighten your workload, stop putting off getting what you need.
To a Great Year
If we apply these resolutions throughout the year, we’ll have more energy to put into our business and make it the success we’ve always dreamed it to be. Here’s to a great 2021!