There’s no doubt that agribusiness is a critical contributor to the Australian economy. Latest figures indicate that it generates 1.6 million jobs and is responsible for $50 billion worth of agri-food exports.
Smart business people form the backbone of rural and regional Australia. In landholdings that extend to over 10,000 hectares, our farmers produce high-quality food and fibre in one of the world’s most unforgiving environments. Out here, ag-business is a home, a livelihood and a legacy. It is also where market volatility meets climate volatility.
As an Australian organisation that has operated in the sector and collaborated with business owners in the bush for generations, we understand, better than many, an environment that’s worlds away from the seaboards that 85% of Australians call home.*
Today, in the lead-up to AgQuip 2019 - Australia’s biggest agricultural showcase of 3,000+ companies - we share 3 tips for doing business and fuelling business growth in the bush:
1. Soft skills are needed in hard conditions.
We’ve learned that true partnerships emerge from careful listening. It’s about seeing the business, crop, livestock and market through the producer’s lens.
Taking a walk in your clients’ boots means appreciating seasonal shifts and staying ahead of how the harvest or herd is coming along.
In practice for Caltex, that can mean ensuring that the oil or lubricant recommended is the one that will drive efficiency and reduce downtime. That’s critical when livestock needs to be trucked today or getting the harvest to market is particularly time-sensitive. And, one less job draining the farm equipment is appreciated at other times of the year.
It also means that our local staff will turn up before sun up in the tanker and that they already know where to find the right paddock…in a place without a street sign in sight. It’s all part of the job.
2. Being local matters.
In towns small and large, the Australian spirit of co-operation counts a lot more than in the city. We’ve found that nothing trumps being 'in the field'. As locals ourselves, we recognise genuine connections beyond business meetings. We see it in a smile in the supermarket, or outside a StarMart, a timely wave from the driver delivering diesel, or the enquiry about how a sick relative is coming along.
Making a genuine contribution to community prosperity extends to backing rural events, an enduring commitment to local community fundraisers, and partnering with larger charities like Rural Aid. Caltex’s commitment to keeping jobs local through Australian based phone support here at home (and not offshore) is also appreciated by customers.
3. There’s a right time and place for everything.
There’s real value in the bush in knowing the vagaries of the season. Some years we’re celebrating the bumper crop or record prices in the yard. Other years, we’re watching the clouds together.
It takes time to build the observation skills and experience necessary to weave an appreciation for seasonal volatility with how to best do business.
At Caltex Australia, we appreciate that in some seasons it’s more valuable to support and listen to customers, or even to down tools. At other times recommending the benefits of a particular product over another is what will help the most.
Knowing the difference between the two goes a long way to demonstrating that you are there for customers for the long haul - and that your business has a genuine commitment to their livelihood and their legacy.
Caltex Australia will again have a stand at AgQuip 2019 (Thursday 20 August to Saturday 22 August) in Gunnedah, NSW. Broadscale producers, small farmers, agribusiness owners and retail customers are invited to drop in at the Caltex stand, H/11 for a catch up or a conversation about how we can help fuel their success.
Caltex Australia is a proudly Australian company. With over a century in business, our commitment to playing a leading part in driving the future of the agricultural sector is steadfast. As one of Australia’s largest companies, we’re passionate about job creation, increasing productivity and creating more opportunities for Australians.