Renowned analyst of global trends and inventor of the “Megatrends” concept John Naisbitt once said, “Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”
That observation is applicable for those of us attending the California Spring Trials (CAST) next month. (See preview on page 25.)
Noah Schwartz, director of growing, Neal Mast & Son Greenhouse, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., attends a lot of ‘parades.’ He says he sees new varieties at events in Europe but that CAST shows what is actually coming to the United States. To “get in front of it,” Schwartz prepares reports on trends for buyers in hopes that they extract some of his ideas, leading to business this year or next.
Doug Cole, president of DS Cole Growers in Loudon, N.H., a CAST regular for 14 years, says he benefits from seeing the new varieties as well as the marketing displays and value-added features at many of the stops. Examples include the American Takii site where OHP experts will be on hand to discuss best management practices for weed control and pest management, and PGR trial responses on American Takii canna, petunia, and zinnia. Another example: Suntory, which will have new apps and digital tools available for “test drives,” along with its new varieties.
Such value-added efforts aren’t just for ‘parades.’ Growers need to ‘get in front’ by embracing the high-tech and high-touch approach to business management, says industry expert Merle Jensen In “Diversify and Prosper” (page 38). Jensen recommends using high-tech tools such as Skype, videos, and touchscreen apps to stay connected with buyers. As for the high-touch, he recommends weekly face-to-face meetings made possible by strategic growing practices (explained in the article).
If all this leaves you asking why bother? Perhaps that’s best answered with yet another question posed by author and strategist John Kennedy. In his Business Minds “Hooking Customers” article on page 60, Kennedy asks: Are you offering products and services so unique and so innovative that your customers are addicted to your business?
Are you? Or do you need to go to a parade?