The S.L.O.W. Garden of Success Manifesto
Entrepreneurship is just like growing a garden.
The large majority of wantrepreneurs believe that if they plant seeds on Monday, they’ll have a bushel of tomatoes by Friday. Sounds ridiculous right?
Well a lot of new business owners think they can have that bushel that quickly. Unfortunately for them this entrepreneur shit takes patience and *gasp* a lot of hard work.
It’s not like you need to be an expert in any particular thing (because I sure as hell am not) but you need to have an overall understanding of how things work. A green thumb in business isn’t as magical as it looks from the outside.
The S. L. O. W. Theory
Your business ideas are seeds that you’re ready to plant within your niche. Growing these seeds into a thriving plant that provides fruit, lumber, shade, ambience, or whatever you’re looking for requires four basic ingredients.
To build a solid foundation for your business, you need to figure out how to turn dirt into soil. That dirt is your work environment, and tools are required to get the job done.
A computer, white board, pen and a notebook allow you to cultivate that dry dirt into healthy, mineral-rich soil. It gives you different media to activate different parts of your brain to stay productive at all times wearing the many hats of an entrepreneur.
Your office can be a small 200 sq. ft. office space or that corner of your bedroom where you dedicate time to putting in the work. Either way, your workspace needs to be positive and inspiring. Comfortable furniture, temperature control and great lighting are definitely a good start.
Whatever it takes to get you excited to work is what needs to be done to fully enrich your soil. This environment is where your ideas sprout and begin to take root, and it’s the foundation of a healthy business at any stage of its growth.
The light of your business is the relationships you form with people, both internally and externally. Great relationships with great people are going to help your business grow stronger. Light creates the buzz and energy of a healthy business.
Remember, light always needs something to shine on. Make sure you value these positive relationships because when times get dark; those who reciprocate will always help you shine.
Pay employees, vendors, and contractors before yourself. Put customers’ needs above your own. No matter how large your business grows, this light needs to reach every inch of every branch to keep everyone going.
When a plant doesn’t get enough light, it produces smaller fruit and some parts may wither. Your business works the same way.
Oxygen is the knowledge of how to run the business. They say that talking to your plants is always good, right?
Supposedly, the carbon dioxide produced by human speech can stimulate a plant’s growth. It’s forced to convert the carbon dioxide to oxygen, giving it a plant workout.
Learning how to use applications, managing your website or reading books is the oxygen of your business. Continuous learning and improvement is always necessary to grow, which is why we’re always breathing.
The more you know, the faster you can get things done. It can even save you money. The more oxygen you have, the bigger your idea can grow, the further it can spread, and the longer it can survive.
Water is the means of funding your project, though it doesn’t have to necessarily be liquid. It can be money, loans, lines of credit, credit cards, and other assets.
Don’t get too discouraged if you don’t have all the ‘means’ in the beginning. Just remember water can be found everywhere, and plenty of entrepreneurs have made it with little to nothing, like cacti.
But please don’t forget that it doesn’t always matter how much money you have. If you overwater a plant, you can kill it before it starts to bloom. On the other end of the spectrum, even the smallest amount of money can make your idea sprout to new heights.
However much water you have available, spend it wisely and make sure it counts. If you don’t have enough water to keep up with your bills, parts of your business will wither, brown, and die, possibly taking the whole thing down.
Protecting Your Garden
Once you start building a thriving garden, you need to protect it. Everyone will see what you have, and you’ll need to fend off pests, competitors, and more. The threats come not just from outsiders, but from the inside as well.
Sometimes the people we love can offset our ability to concentrate on the prize. Some people just want to hear themselves talk because it makes them feel good or it makes them think they are helping you when they are actually slowing you down.
The ‘crabs in the bucket’ theory is and will always be real. The ability to fend off constant criticism is energy draining but it can also make you stronger. Take use of your ‘oxygen’ and educate the doubters and they won’t have a way to come back at you.
Keep digital security in mind when running any business. Your website could be compromised, your customer information stolen, or worse. Strong E2E encryption and keeping software updated helps protect you from these threats.
There are a lot of liability issues in business, so make sure you have the right contacts for insurance, legal, accounting, and other services as needed.
Some businesses flourish during the holidays, while some corporations experience a slow down. Whatever the case may be with your business, you need to know how to weather the storm during slow times.
Revisit the elements of the S.L.O.W. theory.
Educate yourself, read books, listen to podcasts, attend conferences and trade shows, find your celebrity mentors. Maybe its time to start expanding on your idea?
Even if you aren’t ready for expansion, plan like you will and set a deadline. Never become stagnant. Comfort is a business killer. Plan ahead and get ready for the next harvest.
Are you ready to kill it? Did you prepare yourself during the ‘off season’ to be ready for this moment? Be ready to strike. Opportunities may not always come but when they do, make sure you are prepared. If you have mastered all the above then your 60-second elevator sales pitch will make the difference to you getting what you want.
The basics of growing your success garden lies within the S.L.O.W. theory.
You don’t have to be a skilled farmer with heavy machinery to grow your crop. To be the successful gardener to your success, it takes passion, planning and the willingness to get your hands dirty.
Remember, your bushel of tomatoes won’t grow in a week. Neither does your business. Set realistic expectations, and then exceed them.