What's Standing in Your Way?

Published on: 10:17AM Oct 20, 2009
Do you ever feel you could accomplish more if it weren’t for just one or two things getting in the way? Maybe you’d finally start tweeting on Twitter if you had more time. Maybe you would have gotten into the field earlier if it hadn’t been for the rain. Maybe you would restore that old tractor if you had the expertise.
These are constraints, and we all have them.
Do you realize that there may be only one or two constraints that limit what you want to accomplish in your marketing? I’m sure many of you already recognize your strengths. You might even know what is limiting you. We work with many farmers in identifying their strengths and constraints. Through a specific series of questions, we seek to uncover a producer’s true constraints that are holding them back from achieving the marketing results they desire.
For example: You may have superior knowledge of all the marketing tools that are so crucial to marketing today, yet lack the time to employ those tools or the discipline to make decisions and pull the trigger at the right moment. Conversely, you might have time to do your own marketing well, yet lack the knowledge necessary to strategically implement advanced strategies. These are just two examples of constraints.
What are the top constraints in farm marketing? In our firm’s 25 years of experience consulting with farmers, constraints fall into one of these five main categories:
  1. Knowledge
  2. Risk Ability/Tolerance
  3. Time
  4. Discipline
  5. Experience/Control
In our experience, most producers are held back by only one or two constraints. I don’t mean to imply that it’s easy to overcome them. (How do you make more time when there isn’t any?) However, I do believe it’s vitally important for you to truly recognize them. Only by seriously assessing where you’re at can you begin to effectively move forward.
If you’re frustrated by marketing, I recommend you have someone help you take stock of your current approach so that you reach the point of truly understanding your strengths as well as what you need to do to take your marketing to the next level. We do this all the time for producers as a free service, before we ever talk with them about becoming clients. We’ve found that it gives the client-advisor relationship a better chance for success from the start.
Producers whose marketing skills we have assessed—even those who felt confident in their marketing abilities—have appreciated the assessment. They say it helps them be more honest about themselves, and that having someone else put their analysis down on paper makes a big difference.
Despite the time constraint harvest causes, you may find a few minutes in the cab to reflect on what might be holding you back in your marketing. I am curious to know which of the five constraints you think apply to you.
Scott Stewart is president and CEO of Stewart-Peterson, a commodity marketing consulting firm based in West Bend, Wis.

Visit www.stewart-peterson.com to learn more about the Marketing Assessment Profile® (MAP), a free, no-obligation service for producers. You may reach Scott at 800-334-9779, email him at [email protected].