Apr 11, 2016 | Posted by etc
Part 1- Cultivating Growth
The planting season in Iowa is nearly in full swing. I live and work in the breadbasket State, and I am convinced that Iowa soil can grow just about anything. I have never tried it, but I am pretty sure I could stick a tin can in the ground, and something would come up.
Iowa is a beautiful agrarian State. Think Grant Wood. Think rolling fields of rich brown earth dotted with shoots of chartreuse green, all reaching up to catch the first splinters of the morning sun. Picturesque, yes. But though I enjoy the beauty, I am glad that I am not a farmer. Why? Because farming is a crap shoot. You only get about 40-50 rolls of the dice to get it right. And even if you do your very best, the odds are stacked against you. There are perils–hail, floods, and good ole’ Iowa tornados– that can wipe out all your hard work in a manner of minutes, right before your very eyes.
Small business is a lot like farming. With half of all start-ups failing in the first five years, and half of those that remain failing in the next five years, we are left with only 25% of the original number. That means even if you do your very best, the odds are stacked against you. There are many obstacles to hinder, handicap, and paralyze your progress, both inside and outside your business.
I am in graphic design. I spend many hours helping my clients with the art of business, helping them to visually express their hopes and dreams. We pour ourselves into our work and with it, invest in their success. Whenever you make any kind of investment like this, you care about the return. We are grieved to see any one of them meet their demise.
That is why all this month we are going to talk about growth, and more specifically, hindrances to growth. We will talk about a few big rocks in your own field that you may not have noticed in before. If we can dislodge even a few of them, we will have accomplished our goal.
Imagine a farmer waiting until April to decide what she is going to plant. Imagine wasting the winter, leaving the equipment in the barn unserviced, unsharpened, and unprepared for the next planting season. Imagine a tiller of soil not caring to prepare the soil before planting. Imagine leaving the soil untested, or neglecting to work in the nutrients to ensure the harvest will be plentiful. Imagine not spending the time to choose the best seeds. Imagine missing the optimum planting window, because you were unprepared. Imagine planting the seeds haphazardly, in glops, here and there across the field.
You would think the farmer less than serious.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for us to meet entrepreneurs who work their business in the same way. They have nothing down on paper. They plan on the fly. They market haphazardly. They are unprepared for opportunity. They perceive daily planning as unnecessary. Somehow, despite the odds against them, they think they will succeed without it. It should come as no surprise that their equipment breaks down, that they do not get the crops they had hoped for, or that they spend all their time fighting off pests and varmints!
No matter what business you are in, planning and cultivating come before planting.Becoming an entrepreneur, like farming, is a huge risk. But if you want to take your work seriously, you can mitigate much of the risk ahead of you. Sure, growth happens all by itself in Iowa. But left to itself, and Iowa would be covered with weeds. You cannot defy the laws of nature. You cannot cut any one step of planting and think that somehow you will harvest a bumper crop. In business, as in farming, we will reap what we sow, according to how we sow it.
Bumper crops of sellable anything will never be achieved without planning, preparation, and cultivation. Plan to plan. It will help you cultivate your own growth, and create a business around your goals and dreams, instead of settling for whatever grows up through the weeds.
What are you going to plant today?
Need help with the Art of Business? Etc! Graphics, Inc has been doing business by design since 1988. Give us a call.
Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies? Because no matter how beautiful your graphics, they will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your vision, the more lucid your marketing will be, and the better connection you will make with your target customer. We want to help you find the gold in your business. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.