Learning something new fires me up like nothing else does. I stockpile bits of knowledge and curious facts with the zeal of a compulsive hoarder cramming paraphernalia into a too-small room. No amount of knowledge is too much. I know I’ll need it eventually.
Tantamount to a knowledge-lover’s candy store, shelves jam-packed with nuggets of wisdom, Cultivate’16 stood out for me this year. I returned with heaps of new ideas and thoughts to mull over in the next few months. For the sake of brevity, I picked five sweet pieces of Cultivate wisdom I brought home with me to share with you.
1. Consumers search plant attributes over plant names. Seth Reed and Mason Day shared information on consumer behavior mined from their popular GrowIt! app during their “What Consumers are Telling Us About Plants” presentation. They discovered that 1,768,683 consumers searched the app by plant attributes, compared to 183,388 searches by plant name. Their pro tip — grouping plants A to Z makes no sense; group by use or feature.
2. It’s a good time to invest, if . . . Growers and suppliers received the green light to invest — with a caveat.
“Start by making your operation more efficient,” Charlie Hall, economist by training and a Professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University, said during his State of the Industry talk. “Increase margins by 10%, then replicate that model.”
3. We make our businesses better when we are in the business of making people better. This treasure was just one of many from keynote speaker and leadership expert Jeremy Kingsley’s talk “Inspired People Produce Inspired Results.”
”Inspiring your people is the key to unlocking your team’s potential,” Kingsley said. “Your ability to inspire makes you more than a manager, it makes you a leader.”
4. If you only stay at your place of business, you’ll always think your ideas are the best. Art Van Wingerden urged growers to visit other grower operations and see what other industries are doing at Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers Breakfast. The CEO and co-owner of Metrolina Greenhouses said he always learns something new when he travels, and it opens his mind to new ideas and possibilities.
5. We are not selling plants, we are selling a lifestyle. Albert Grimm loves his job — not only because of what he does every day, but because of what it means to other people. During Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence, the 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, who oversees Jeffery’s Greenhouses, said that by selling a lifestyle, we make a difference in people’s lives and improve their days.