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How Does Your Business Grow?

By Karen Booy
 As published in  CRAFTLINK Newsletter


If you would plant for days,
Plant flowers.
If you would plant for years,
Plant trees.
If you would plan for eternity,
Plant ideas.

I have always thought starting a business was very much like farming. I love to garden and since I am married to a dairy farmer, it made sense that when I first began to teach other crafters about starting their business, I compared growing a garden to growing a business. 

Recently, while doing some spring cleaning, I came across my notes from one of my very first lectures I gave at the In Stitches Sewing show in Vancouver, BC. Since I seem to have come full circle in so many areas of my life, I thought it would be fun to write an article on these same ideas. (The following six principles were taken from a book I read and enjoyed many years ago.) 

To grow a garden there are several steps that you have to take in order to have a successful harvest. However, if you follow these few simple steps your efforts will be rewarded.

1. Select your dream seed.
2. Prepare the soil.
3. Plant the seed.
4. Provide nourishment to the seed.
5. Be patient.
6. Enjoy the harvest.

What kind of gardener would you be if you planted cucumber seeds, expecting to grow radishes? This seems so outrageous when we think of it in terms of gardening, but how closely do your thoughts reflect your intentions and goals?

You must decide clearly what you want - and then stop focusing on what you don't want. If you want carrots, then stop thinking about onions. Start to think of your mind as fertile soil, every thought a seed. What are you planting with your dream seeds?

Get a clear vision of your business. Ask yourself "What do I want?" Take inventory. Think about your resources. Make a list of your skills, your talents, and take inventory of your materials and equipment.

Focus. Decide how you are going to specialize your business. Concentrate your time, talent and resources and create a unique product. Don't try to be all things to all people. Create a business image that is different. Think about the style of your business, will it be country, Victorian, hi-tech, funky, cute? Incorporate that feeling into your business. Name your business. Create a logo. Build a business image.

Good gardeners know that the better the soil is prepared before the planting of the seed, the better the crop! You must feel confident about the goals you have set and must feel like you can achieve your goals. How do you make the ground more fertile? You add nutrients, of course. Read, network, read over your goals and visualize your success. The clearer the image you can hold in your mind, the more enthusiastic about it you become, the better the chance it will come true. In the words of Henry Ford, "If you think you can, or if you think you can't - you're right!" Prepare quality-printed materials like business cards and letterhead to help prepare your business to grow.

A tomato seed can grow 25 pounds of wonderful fruit. That one little seed can easily produce one million times its weight in food. However, that little seed with all its promise won't grow any tomatoes until it is planted. You must take action if your dreams are to grow. Just thinking about starting a business isn't going to get you anywhere until you finally take action. Start now. DON'T WAIT FOR THE PERFECT CONDITIONS TO PLANT YOUR DREAM! When you are married to a farmer, you learn very quickly, planting conditions are never perfect.

Once your seed is planted in the well-tilled soil, it is in need of nourishment, sunlight, fertilizer and water. What else does your dream seed need? It needs imagination and creativity. Ask yourself "What makes my product different?" Express yourself. Develop your own sense of style in your craft business. Crafters who achieve the largest successes, have a distinct and unique quality about their products, they are not imitators. Remember: You are an original - just like everyone else! So reach deep inside and express your art and your craft like no one but you can.

Your dream seed will need encouragement from positive people. Surround yourself with a cheering section of people who want you to succeed; to achieve your goals and make all your dreams come true. Positive people want to make a contribution to others. Negative people, on the other hand, want you to settle for less and to be content with mediocrity.

Why do so many businesses fail each year? Neglect. They forgot to keep out the weeds and bugs! Your mind is fertile ground for SEEDS and WEEDS. Take a look at the people you spend time with, do they bring you up? Or pull you down? Are they the bugs or the sunshine? Start to watch who and what you listen to, what you read and especially what you think and say to yourself. You may find out that the person who is your most negative influence greets you in the mirror every morning!

Can you imagine spending all the time and hard work to prepare a garden, only to stand back and say, "with my luck, nothing will grow"! If you prepare the soil, plant a healthy seed and then provide the proper nourishment, a plant will grow in time. It is the law of nature. You need to have the faith and patience to believe that your business is just like the seed, and in time it will grow. Success, wealth and happiness are all accomplished in small steps, never all at once.

You must learn to find balance in all areas of your life, family, financial, physical, mental and spiritual. Stop and smell the roses. So, what's holding you back? There comes a time when you have to stop thinking about it and start doing something! Remember that when you try new things you are pushing the limits and there is no gain without some degree of risk, yet with each new lesson learned, each new skill acquired you increase your confidence. The time to start is NOW! So plant your dream seed and watch your life grow and change.

Ask yourself: "Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?"
(saying from Ray Kroc founder of McDonalds)


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