Thursday has been a blur. During my third day of EuroTier 2018 in Hanover, Germany, I met with more people than I can remember, but I am really happy because I achieved my goal finding three new projects for the near future (that is, until next EuroTier).

I also did more networking than I hoped for, strengthened the relationships that matter for the core of my business and decided that some of my previous ideas are not worth pursuing; lamentably, I will have to let some projects die. This means I will not be renewing some existing contracts. I also met with an old colleague, and we decided to get back to working together. If Tuesday is where things begin at EuroTier, Wednesday is when everyone warms up to it — and suddenly Thursday is when all the business happens. It is like magic!

Thankfully, most visitors call it a day by Thursday night, so I expect a light day tomorrow. But what did I see today at EuroTier that I can share here with you? Let’s focus on the usual three-point list, like the days before.

Old, loyal customers always deserve the royal treatment.

1. Business is not guaranteed. As I like to say, the day you gain a customer is the day you lose a customer. It is surprising how many suppliers, consultants (including me) and resellers take their existing business for granted. As a result, they tend to sideline existing customers in search of new opportunities (the primitive thrill of hunting?), and I think that is a bad practice. Old, loyal customers always deserve the royal treatment. And, if you must “hunt” for new business, have some people in your group focus on existing customers while others look for new business. And, by the way, do not forget to let your old trusty customers know about your new exciting (or less expensive) products. Be assured, your competitors will do it for you!

2. Additives are tools. There are no good or bad additives. There are several degrees of quality for all additives, and this year's EuroTier specifically abounds with copies of all kinds. But it appears many would like us to consider additives as normal ingredients, like corn or soya. I disagree. Additives either fix problems or prevent problems. Good luck finding additives that improve things over good nutrition, management, health and genetics. But, as almost invariably as we have problems in animal production, we need additives, and when used properly and on purpose, additives can become a profitable proposition. It pays to know when to use each additive.

Additives either fix problems or prevent problems.

3. Leverage, but never sell your network. Having a great network is a tremendous asset. Trying to sell it away is the last thing you should be doing. I will speak of consultants only, because I am one. I consider it unprofessional to recommend (sell) products to paying consulting customers expecting to get a back-door commission from the supplier. That is not business. Instead, I believe strongly on giving good advice for the benefit of the customer who pays on interconnecting your network without expecting any direct profit. And when it comes time for business, I prefer to be open about who does what. Above all, I am a strong proponent of treating one's network as an inner circle of friends that must be helped in their time of need without expecting anything more than to be helped in your time of need. It needs to be a two-way collaboration, or it will not work at all.