Several years ago my good friend Norm Brown suggested that I join the American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC) and attend their annual conference. I always admired Norm’s professionalism and appreciated the success and impact of his business. Because I am a sole-proprietor, one-person Management and Executive Coaching practice it was difficult for me to justify setting aside 3 or 4 days during a busy time of the year that would take me away from my clients. As a matter of ethics, character and core values, those clients always come first in my business.
Last year I decided to reprioritize those few days and attend the conference. It was apparent during the very first speaker’s presentation that I had made a colossal mistake. I should have never missed one of these! That one presentation provided a complete return on investment for the entire conference, increased my value to clients and broadened my knowledge of an area of agriculture into which my business was rapidly expanding.
The speaker not only shared the facts and figure’s revealing the trends in that particular industry but I also heard about the challenges they are facing now and into the future, the demographics of these professionals, the opportunities that innovative service providers in that industry can implement to differentiate themselves, and a profile of the successful business of the future. It was essential that I immediately share this information with my clients as well as key associates who help me develop long-term strategies for their businesses. The other speakers provided similar information on a variety of topics, and it was a privilege to have discussions with other professionals whom I have admired for many years. Though this year’s conference will be virtual, causing us to miss the opportunity for face to face interactions, the variety and quality of speakers will certainly compensate.
There are some advantages as well. We can view the presentations without having to travel, saving time and allowing us to choose the setting that gives us the best learning environment. For many, this will be the office, kitchen table or that one spot that gives you solace from the other activities around you. But for others, this may be a deer stand or a duck blind, or perhaps poolside or on the beach. You have choices. Be creative!
Don’t make my mistake. Never miss an ASAC Conference.