I am starting with the premise that starting and growing a business is analogous to growing vegetables.
I am a novice gardener; I only started growing vegetables about 4 years ago and It’s had its trials and tribulations like any business!
We start with a seed of an idea.
Research: soil, weather conditions right for growing, when to sow etc.
Business: we research the market and write out business and marketing plans based on what we know at the time. In our business we do a SWOT analysis, and do our market research. Do people want our product/service?
I love the fact that I can grow a vegetable from seed and after a few weeks if its lettuce or months if it’s other vegetables. I can eat the fruits/vegetables of my labour, home grown sweetcorn is amazing and actually the best things to grow as the sugar turns to starch once harvested so freshly harvested sweetcorn is the sweetest. Garden to table in half an hour!
Tomatoes freshly picked delicious! The trick is to grow what you like what you can’t buy easily in the shops and try to grow something different each year that you haven’t tried as it may surprise you in many ways: easiness of growing, taste etc… Learn along the way what works and doesn’t.
In business you will need to try different things until you find the optimum price, process strategy that works. You will not find it at the first attempt . I encourage the PDCA cycle. Plan Do Check Act especially if you’re going to be promoting a new service. Using this is a great way to make continuous improvements in your business this way of working means that you are always improving what you do, but because you do it consistently it is not overwhelming.
I always ask for feedback from my clients, or I learn from something they have said. For instance, one of my services means sending forms for them to complete and also policies. It can be hard to keep up with what’s been sent . So, after a customer told me this, I created a checklist so they can keep track of what I have sent to them and what they have returned , it’s a simple solution that works.
Your business will evolve. My business is not where I thought it would be. It has evolved. I now do more business mentoring in my niche and I love it. It’s satisfying to see how much I have supported a client.
I enjoy eating lemon cucumber, the first year they did OK, but last year they were a disaster. This year they are growing and I have learnt that if I put a cane, they can grow against it so the cucumbers are growing up rather than spreading out along the soil. Why do I keep trying with the lemon cucumber? Because the taste is so different from the shop bought that it is worth it! I know I will learn how to get the best out of them by being patient; monitoring what works and changing things.
Sometimes in business we get things wrong. It’s not failure; it is learning so you don’t make the same mistake again.
I potted my seeds waiting for them to germinate. Nothing happened. When I investigated why, I realised I had used topsoil instead of compost. So I planted more seeds with enriched compost. Guess what? They germinated!
Just as important to keep an eye on your business: what strategies are working well which aren’t. Change is inevitable. How we manage the change will determine the journey we make. Different streams in our business need to be managed in different ways to get the best out of them.
Vegetables have to be constantly monitored like a business otherwise there are consequences. You have to change what you do according to what is happening with the plant, not always plain sailing!
My business has developed slowly I have had a point in my business when I thought I was going to have to close it. I persevered and now my business is in a good place. Has it been easy? No. Being an entrepreneur is not easy; it’s hard but, it’s rewarding.
My plants are growing slowly; this may not be a bad thing, but frustrating when others already have harvests. In business a steady growth is probably better than a fast growth which then plummets.
My tomato plants flowered but no fruit. I researched and found out tomatoes are self pollinating so if I simply give them a gentle shake they will fruit. Guess what I did that and now the fruit is growing! Whether you’re growing vegetables or tending your garden, things do go wrong or not as expected but have a look and see what can be changed, try it.
Small changes often give us the most benefits!
Roses: dead heading them gives me more flowers. Keep doing the things that work, review strategies/processes make changes. Find new ways of doing things to get the results you want. I always get mildew on my roses. I always use a spray. It keeps it at bay but never gets rid of it. I have bought a new product which should get rid of it as its systemic. It’s worth a try. What I found is the product you need to use is Rose Sulfur; I asked a person who sells roses as they are the expert!
Always learning something that can help you to make improvements is important.
Charles Darwin wrote: “ It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”
At the end of the growing season I cut back the plants that need to be, like my clematis. Clear away my makeshift greenhouse. Cover my raised bad with plastic to stop weeds growing! Then in February, I start again! But I spend the winter deciding what I want to grow.
Towards my end of year, I plan what I want to achieve next year. What turnover do I want; what do I want to learn. I plan my year decide on my themes.
Weeding must be done consistently otherwise it becomes a chore!
If things aren’t working in your business, change it or remove it. I tried a monthly package; it never had any interest. What I thought my clients wanted was not right.
I hope this has given you food for thought.
A bare patch of garden tries some flowers and now its great. Trial and error has been the story here. I have had so many plants die and not thrive in this area, finally found what works. PDCA
This was a bare area and it’s clay, so I asked my friend what to grow and its starting to thrive. These are aliums and started life as bulbs. You never know what’s going to happen to an idea.