Some people collect antiques. Some practice yoga. Others go rock climbing. I spend my free time in the garden with raspberry and blueberry bushes, tomatoes, strawberries, basil, onions, and an assortment of flowers. Digging in the dirt helps to center me, and though gardening can be difficult and time consuming, it never feels like work. Just the other day while I was adding coffee grounds to my compost bin, it struck me that growing a successful garden is a lot like growing and managing a business.
Start With a Plan
The Small Business Administration suggests all business owner should devise a well thought out business plan, one that will guide them through each stage of starting and managing their business. Think of your business plan as a road map for how you want to structure, run, and grow your business. This runs parallel to the early days of gardening. A competent gardener surveys their yard to see where the sun hits in order to maximize garden fertility. They’ll devise a plan to enrich the soil and build a general strategy as to where and how each garden bed will be arranged. As a business owner you’ll need to perform market analysis and research the business climate, just as any good gardener spends hours researching what grows best in their area. Hard work early on will help your plants, and your business, flourish.
Outline Your Short and Long Term Goals
Like a garden, building a business is labor and time intensive. With my garden I tend to keep it simple. I plant flowers for bees and butterflies, and I grow vegetables and fruit that I enjoy eating. I plant a mix of annuals and perennials. Think of annual plants as your short term business goals. Annuals flower early and give you a feeling of success. Perennials are longer term investments. They return year after year, and require more care, but once established they can pay dividends for the lifetime of the garden. Establishing goals can help improve your overall effectiveness as a business owner, whether you want to increase your share of the market, or improve your customer service. The more carefully you define your goals, the more likely you are to be successful.
Gardens grow best when you care for them on a consistent basis. Pulling weeds, adding fertilizer, mulching, watering, and pruning are all weekly if not daily activities necessary for building a productive and beautiful garden. Consistency in business ownership operates the same way. If your business isn’t dependable, how can you expect your customers to be? This means you have to open when you say you’ll be open, and call back when you say you will. You can’t establish a track record of customer service if you are constantly shifting gears and not adhering to your company’s stated objectives. Staying up to date with your company’s website and social media is a pretty easy way to connect with your customers, and consistent posts remind them that you offer products or skills they may need or want.
All good things take time. Most vegetables require months and months of care before they’re ready for harvest. Nothing of value comes easy, whether it’s a matter of developing a skill, building a relationship, or launching a business initiative. Success is rarely achieved overnight. Stay the course. Follow the plans you laid out, and let your business, and garden grow.
If you’d like more information on how to start a business, we can help make your dream a reality.