Letters From Lisa – September 2020

Good Times.
Tough Times.
Animals Need Amaferm®.
Animals Need You!

Nature teaches us that tough times pave the way for good times. In my life, I have observed that tough times usually prepare me for good times because they make me see things differently and inspire me to go after what truly matters. Things that may have been right in front of me, but I could not see. It is in that vein that I write this month. Please note, I was asked to write about how the best thing you can do in both good and tough times is to make Amaferm accessible to EVERY producer. While that is very true (seriously) what is more relevant in this “interesting” time is how we can use these tough times to see the good that’s ahead of us if we can figure out how to see it. Here are a few things to think about:

Beliefs Filter Our Communication
Beliefs are powerful; they limit what we can see or don’t see. They filter our perceptions, and they are always in motion. That’s why sometimes suspending our disbelief can help us see new possibilities.

If You Don’t Believe It, You Won’t See It
They say, “seeing is believing,” but in a lot of cases, it’s actually the believing that enables the seeing. That’s why trust and rapport, or giving somebody the benefit of the doubt, or stepping into their shoes, or looking at it from their perspective, can help get over communication humps and reduce friction, rather than talking past each other.

If You Don’t Ask, You May Not See It
Sometimes the best way to break out of the loop, is to ask a question, or a different question, or to interrupt a pattern of questions.

You may note that in every sentence there is a common word. You. You are the only one that can truly use these tough times for the good. Enjoy the process. I know this type of decision-making might not be the most fun thing to do, but it is a game of opportunity. Enjoy that. Never forget animals need you in good times and tough times as do people. Take advantage of this opportunity.

And just for the fun of it read this.

There has been some good out of COVID-19. People are sleeping better. Data from Fitbit users in six U.S. cities shows that people are getting an average of 17 minutes more sleep each night during the coronavirus lockdown than they were before the pandemic hit. The health tracking tech company also shows that sleep quality has improved with users getting more REM and Deep Sleep. See, there is good in all tough times. Go Get ‘Em, and then go get 17 more minutes of sleep!

Letters From Lisa – August 2020

Simple Selling Methods Boost Sales

Want to know a simple method to increase your sales and boost your bottom line? If you’re not cross-selling and upselling to your customers, you’re missing out on a LOT of revenue. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. And since product recommendations can drive between 10-30% of revenue, putting the right offers in front of people at the right time is an important sales growth tactic.

First, it’s important to understand the difference between upselling and cross-selling. Both are tactics used to boost sales revenue, but they work slightly differently.

Cross-selling is suggesting other relevant products people can try. What is an example of cross-selling? When you buy a cell phone online, and the online store suggests screen protectors for that model. That’s cross-selling.

Upselling is persuading the customer to upgrade their product or buy a more expensive version of it. How do you upsell? Let’s stick with the cell phone example. If you’re about to buy the model with 32GB of storage space, the online store can suggest you get the one with 64GB or 128GB.

How does this apply to our partnership? BioZyme has many products that provide opportunities to do both. See the chart below to capitalize on some of these great ideas.

All of these products quickly demonstrate the way Amaferm works so when people buy these products and see results, they will buy other products too. I have been asked point-blank on many occasions, “will what I see with the liquid products repeat itself with the mineral?” Amaferm makes that easy to answer. The answer is yes; obviously each product focuses on what it was designed to do so there will be differences, but the bottom line is Amaferm opens the door to easy cross-selling.

When focused on cross-selling, don’t forget the dog products. Sixty-eight percent of all households own a dog. So that means almost all of your customers can be cross-sold on these products.

Last but not least, remember you cannot sell what you don’t have.

I encourage you to keep these quick response products in stock so you can drive more revenue to your bottom line. Revenue that is very profitable, with products that are very effective. Now that’s care that comes full circle.

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!

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.

Letters From Lisa – April 2020

Differentiate Product Lines, Lower Risk

Sales diversification is one of BioZyme®’s five goals for the next three years. Why? No matter how you dissect it, BioZyme is very dependent on the U.S. cattle market. It represents about 60% of every dollar of revenue we have.

You can look at that two ways. Way to go team! Or, what are all the ways we can change that will allow us to have more revenue from different things? That thought means looking at how to grow international sales, equine sales, small pack (treatment for a challenge) sales and even pet sales such as dogs and backyard chickens. (Did you know 8% of the 10 million households in the USA have chickens in their backyard?)

Why would anyone want to add all that to their plate if you can be successful just doing one thing for one species? Here’s why:

Sales can dry up, so keep investing in them

It should go without saying that businesses can’t rely on a single sales source to keep them afloat (never mind grow the company). It doesn’t matter how great your client or customer is, or how well your relationship might be working right now. Anything could happen to change that. Continually be on the lookout for new sales in order to build a solid portfolio of customers. No matter how well things might seem to be going, you can’t afford to be complacent. Set aside some time every day to capture and chase leads, even if it’s just one hour. You’ll be surprised by how much you can achieve in that time.

Competition will be tough, so make the most of your resources

The benefit of diversification is that it enables businesses to maximize their use of resources and fully realize their potential. You might only be able to diversify horizontally, by adding a new product or service to appeal to your current customer base. Or you could jump into an entirely new market segment, with a new customer base, to take advantage of high growth potential. But, either way, you will be making the most of your resources and ensuring you aim for the best return on your investment.

Finding out what your business does well (and better than your competitors) is a good way to see if your resources are being used to support these strengths. It can also help you identify where you might be wasting time, money and skills. This will allow you to see where you can potentially add value for current customers with new products or services, or how you could use your resources better to add value to an entirely new market.

It’s easy for one revenue stream to drain your energy and distract from growth

I’ve seen this happen too many times. One main revenue stream starts demanding increasing focus until it takes over everything. It might be your first cherished customer, or it could be the income source that has been the most lucrative. Regardless, it can quickly become an obstacle to success by taking up too much of your energy and resources, leaving you little for taking advantage of new opportunities. Learning to avoid this from happening up front is way better than trying to untangle yourself afterward.

It is widely acknowledged that while business diversification is appealing for a number of reasons, it is a ‘high-stakes game.’ In other words, both the rewards and the risks are potentially extraordinary. Yet one of the reasons diversification strategies can fail is because they are often undertaken when the company is under pressure and there isn’t time for well thought out options. Think about diversification of your revenue streams ahead of time, when you’re not under pressure and you can give the proper authority to make a good decision. This will allow you to more likely find success– and protect the future of your business.

Letters From Lisa – March 2020

Use new methods to create something new… Innovation

Cultures of innovation are naturally dynamic. Employees think of new ideas and try them on the fly. Processes and procedures are fluid. There often is not one right answer to a problem, but rather experimentation drives many projects, efforts, assignments and ultimately opportunities for improvement. When all that is documented and discussed by the team, real innovation starts happening.

Fundamentally, innovation means introducing something new into your business. This could be:

  • improving or replacing business processes to increase efficiency and productivity, or to enable the business to extend the range or quality of existing products and/or services
  • developing entirely new and improved products and services often to meet rapidly changing customer or consumer demands or needs.

Innovation can mean a single major breakthrough – e.g. a totally new product or service. However, it can also be a series of small, incremental changes. In any case, innovation is not tweaking. Innovation is doing something totally different.

In addition, innovation does not mean acquiring new technology. We always think that new software, new equipment, new inventory scanners, new walkie talkie technology or a Smart TV will make us innovative. That’s just not true. What makes you innovative is HOW you use that technology, or actually not just how you use all your resources, but how you approach everything you do.

Can you use technology in an innovative way? Absolutely, but the innovation occurs after the acquisition, not by the acquisition.

Think through what needs to be fixed, and what could be improved, to prime yourself to recognize opportunities as they are revealed. Some good examples are below:

  • Want to offer more producer meetings statewide, but don’t have the resources to pay for all the travel that would entail? Use Skype for training, a possible solution to the opportunity.
  • Use text messages to communicate when it seems only a few of your contacts answer phone calls or emails.
  • Design a system that helps pool shared data to better understand how each customer is served across the different types of providers they use, maybe there is a way for both of you to grow business by seeing crossover opportunities or holes neither of you is filling.

Technology is a powerful driver of both the evolution and proliferation of innovation, but don’t think you can’t innovate until you can afford a 3D printer. You can innovate every minute or every day by how you think, change and treat people.

Letters From Lisa – February 2020

Consumers are a confident bunch. If a business doesn’t know what a customer’s likes or dislikes, he or she will be more than willing to jump ship to another option to gain a sense of personalized connection. Therefore, the importance of building relationships in growing a successful business cannot be overlooked. No matter how obvious this seems, we need to stay focused on what it really means day in and day out. Some ways are easy and some not so much, but in any case, they are all worth considering when it comes to finding new customers.

1. Don’t blow off your current customers in search of new customers.

You always want to stay true to the people who have helped you get to where you are. And, those people can help you get even further. Your current customers have a lot of clout. Their engagement and loyalty can make or break your ability to attract prospective customers.

2. Build a solid foundation with your current customers to get free publicity.

That’s right, reviews and referrals will flow freely if you treat your customers well. Positive reviews can attract new customers to your business. One survey found that 92% of consumers read reviews. That means that the majority of prospects are judging your business based on your current customers’ opinions. If your current customers have good things to say about your business, they can bring in a number of referrals.

3. To add to your customer base, work on your first impressions.

If a potential customer contacts you with questions, make a good impression. Otherwise, you might be sending him or her in the opposite direction. Provide value and establish yourself as having an in-depth understanding of the problems they are looking to solve.

4. Build partnerships that have value to current and new customers.

Teaming up with businesses that offer complementary services offers you the opportunity to take advantage of synergy, which can be very effective in building a business. For instance, if you have a company that specializes in search engine optimization, consider teaming up with a business that builds websites.

When all is said and done, nurturing relationships, either with other business owners or customers, helps you expand your customer base. Focus on building human relationships. The stronger your relationships are, the more likely your customers will be to tell their friends about you. And, the more likely they’ll be to become repeat customers.

Letters From Lisa – January 2020

Today one of the greatest challenges we face in business is staying relevant. Consumers have far more distractions, cautions, choices, opportunities and ways to study and communicate than ever before.

I was recently presenting at the GMDC, a big conference where all the big box store retailers come to find new products. One of the key speakers was the head of Microsoft’s Business Innovation Department. Learning how they “track” consumers to get relevant intelligence about them was fascinating, actually a bit scary. However, the one thing he said that I found most amazing was that today, “data that is more than two weeks old is not relevant, so don’t study it.” With this new two week parameter, most of us will not be good at being relevant.

That definition of relevance is difficult to implement, but with an open mind, I think we can do it! Of course, the question is how. I think if we focus on the below and then have the open mind needed to change appropriately, we will get there. Yes, WE MIGHT HAVE to CHANGE. Yes, WE CAN DO IT!

  1. Spend time where your customer spends time every day.  To stay relevant, we need to make sure we are getting the right information about needs, wants, expectations etc. from our targeted audience. This means spending time with them face-to-face, spending time with them virtually, spending time with them however we can. As soon as we are disconnected from our customer in any way, our relevance starts to diminish.
  2. Connect how your customer wants to connect. There are tons of ways to communicate, the challenge when it comes to staying relevant is ensuring that we are communicating in a fashion that is relevant to our customers. If they are embracing a new social media platform and we are not, clearly there are issues ahead. We need to be nimble and flexible and connect how our customers want to connect, not how it suits us or is easy for our business’s current staff.
  3. Two way = more effective communication. If you want to be relevant, communication needs to be much more about engagement as opposed to a one-sided stream of information. We need to find a way to communicate that builds a meaningful flow of information, and that means a two-way flow. At BioZyme® we call this type of communication crosstalk. The term came to us from a 16-year-old German customer within the context of improving our social media strategies globally.
  4. Welcome critical thinking. We all know that resisting change is deadly. A culture that embraces and encourages innovative thinking to keep the business relevant is a must. We need to be aware of the signs that might suggest our culture is not as welcoming of critical thinking as we need it to be (resistance to change, lack of creative problem solving, negativity toward anything new, etc.).
  5. Embrace industry innovation. All too often we look for innovation within our own business or own industry. From my experience, we are far more likely to find innovative ideas that we can adapt and use in our own business from outside our industry. We need to become students of other industries and innovative communities (online and offline). With Google this is possible from your home late at night, so we have no excuse to not getting it done.

In simple terms, relevance provides meaning in our lives. Relevance is the full experience of a product, brand or cause that we can relate to; it’s an experience that not only changes minds, but, more importantly, changes behavior – and sustains that change.

Staying relevant has got to be one of the hardest tasks in business. Relevance focuses on results. Relevance is about the ultimate goal – triggering the desired behavior. People are awash in choices about where to spend their money and place their loyalty. If you aren’t relevant, they will go somewhere else. Please don’t let that happen.

 

Letters From Lisa – December 2019

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, who will stick a penny in the sweet blonde’s hat (figured it was worth a try)? This time of year, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday hustle and bustle and spend the entire month of December running around like a crazy Kris Kringle. Add getting all your 2020 budgets and business planning done along with December’s tasks, and one can tend to forget the real reason for the season.

In short, the Messiah’s reasons should become our motivators always, but especially in the month of December. If we listen to John the Baptist carefully, we will hear that there’s never one reason that defines Jesus’ arrival. The Good News is more than just a headline. The Good News and the God who brings this message is everything between you and the infinite.

According to Simon Sinek (whose voice carries much weight as the third most-watched Ted Talk of all time with 46 million views), “the minute we’re born, we’re players in the infinite game, and that means we get one choice in life: how we want to play. We can choose to live our lives with a finite mindset, which means trying to get richer, more powerful than all of our friends, to get more, have more – but what is the point?

“Rather, we want to live a life of service, and that’s what we write on our tombstones – what we did for others. ‘Devoted mother,’ ‘loving husband,’ ‘she inspired us.’ To live an infinite life means to live our lives so that others may benefit from the work that we do – so we will literally live on forever, because we will look at ourselves and say, ‘I am who I am today partly because I carry with me the spirit of someone who’s no longer here, and I will pass their lessons on to my children and my colleagues and my friends.’ In an infinite-minded life, just like in business, trust is better, cooperation is better, ideas are stronger and remarkably those ideals live on beyond us. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Most days, it’s too easy to stay focused on our own lives – our work, our problems, what we have to accomplish and what is stressing us out. But it’s easy to forget that everyone else in the world has just as much on their plate as we do – sometimes even more. During the holiday season especially, it’s important to remember that every person you come in contact with has his or her own story and sometimes all it takes is a simple gift – a sturdy pair of shoes, a warm winter coat, a blanket, a cherry limeade or just a hug. These things may seem small, but they may be the gift that helps to get someone else up on their feet.

This year, after you’ve opened your gifts and shared a few laughs with family and friends, think back on the true meaning of the season and what Christmas means to you. As the always wise Doogie Howser, M.D. said, “Getting is good. Giving is better. Once you understand that, it’s always Christmas.”

Merry Christmas, from all of us here at BioZyme.

Letters From Lisa – November 2019

Last month we talked about working on your business instead of in it. We are going to continue that discussion by focusing on some thought processes that might help you stay focused on just that.

The ways we think about past experiences can help or hinder the development of insight that makes working on the business more difficult than it is just by its nature. When we make decisions based on habits of the past, we lose out on some of the great changes possible in our lives. Working on the business means not forgetting the past but leaving it in the kitchen while sitting at the dining room table.

Working on the business should allow one to achieve performance breakthroughs, or in other words, create impact in the areas that drive the improvement we all desire. I like to use the term A to the 4th power (A4) to help me stay true to working on instead of in business. The four terms come from Scott Snell and Ken Carrig’s forthcoming book, “Strategic Execution: Driving Breakthrough Performance in Business”, and are Alignment, Ability, Architecture and Agility.

ALIGNMENT

Alignment conveys the deceptively simple notion that execution depends on everyone working together toward the same goal. Alignment is the “sine qua non” of execution; without it, nothing else much matters.

It provides clarity of purpose and direction, momentum to overcome inertia, a focus for decisions and actions, and resilience in the face of change or disruption.

Today, misalignment has become the norm, not the exception. There’s often a substantial gap between understanding the requirements of strategy and each person’s work. Disengagement can create this misalignment, which unfortunately leads right into working all day in the business instead of on it.

It is, therefore, a constant challenge to emphasize the mission-critical elements that unite the organization toward its strategic purpose and work to achieve those outcomes. An important part of alignment is clarifying with others how work that they are accountable for leads to those strategic outcomes, or in other words, how overall success is attributable to them.

ABILITY

In any endeavor, whether it’s business or sports, great execution requires great skill.

Usually, what begins with a discussion of alignment often evolves to a deeper discussion of ability. This isn’t just a focus on productivity, but on attracting and developing; raising skill levels; all while keeping aligned accountability.

ARCHITECTURE

The design of your organization, as well as its underlying infrastructure, processes, technologies and controls constitutes the domain of organizational architecture. Your organization’s design makes a big difference in terms of reliability, alignment and continuity of performance.

In terms of working on the business, ensuring a valid organizational architecture is critical for resource flows, information availability, decision-making and processes that propel the organization forward.

Try to focus on ways to streamline your organization’s architecture, simplify structures, improve processes, and clarify roles, responsibilities, accountability and communication flow. This includes building connections and opportunities (meetings AND one-on-one conversations) to improve joint decision-making.

AGILITY

The ability to respond and adapt is critical for achieving organizational goals. Ironically, one of the most common inhibitors of agility is our approach to execution. In an attempt to drive better performance and maximize efficiency, many organizations create a situation in which change is difficult. The harder they work in the business instead of on it, the more challenging it is for them to see the need for change, or to flex, adapt and adjust appropriately. People hate change, but in reality, if you are not constantly changing you are not working on your business but in it.

There’s a great book (see picture) that summarizes these concepts way better than I have. Take the time to read it and then get to work ON your business at the dining room table, not in the kitchen.