The Indoor Ag Conference in Las Vegas this week was a great way to leverage time and expand our context at Laura Lee Farms. We met several of the largest indoor agriculture growers in one place and mined their brains for information, mistakes they have made, and shortcuts they have found. Mistakes are not failure. Mistakes are how we learn. Failure only occurs if we do not learn from the mistakes that inevitably happen. We learn from other people’s mistakes; a form of leverage.
Prevalent at the conference were LED lighting experts who used to be engineers at NASA, greenhouse builders, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning companies, entrepreneurs with established businesses looking to stay up on the industry trends and players, young entrepreneurs introducing their new businesses trying to claim their stake in this relatively new space, and investors or venture capitalists looking for the company that will be the breakthrough of the industry. Will that breakthrough be Laura Lee Farms? It’s up to our team at Laura Lee Farms to make that happen.
Cashflow is king. The question we asked everyone at the conference was, “how is your cashflow, are you profitable, and how and when do you plan to return your investors’ dollars? Investors are looking to deploy their dollars with the intention of those dollars being returned with friends. Entrepreneurs better have a plan to make that happen before they accept investors’ dollars! Ken McElroy has a cashflow and return of investment plan; do you?
Ceasar Layton, founder of Cultivate Ventures, was on a speaking panel and talked about business models, systems that actually work (9 out of 10 business systems do not work for what they say they do), responsibility for your dollars and investors’ dollars. After the panel, we sat down with Ceasar and discussed the “healthy fast casual” food business industry and he confirmed that McDonald’s profits are declining and that the corporation is losing control of markets such as Washington D.C. with health conscious companies like Sweet Green stealing more than their fair share of the market. Some people call that a CLUE. Thanks Ceasar.
We also met another panel speaker, Marc Oshima, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of AeroFarms. His extensive knowledge and experience with business and marketing was obvious. We took advantage of the opportunity to get around someone smarter than us to expand our context. It worked. This conversation was priceless bonus time. Thanks Marc.
And we met many entrepreneurs who were not speakers at the conference who were there for the same reason that we were; to network and learn. Those conversations are very valuable and we are excited to follow and support their businesses.