Will Your Small Business Grow Into a Weak Plant or a Mighty Forest?
Starting a new business is exciting, so much so that it consumes your thoughts, energy, and efforts like nothing else. It’s like planting a seed and watching it grow. It’s an idea that gets fed and blossoms into something from which you can harvest a variety of life enhancing fruits. However, for some, the beautiful plant struggles and just can’t get to where it flourishes and begins to produce. Then there are those ideas that grow into big, energy sucking bullies like the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors screaming “Feed me, feed me.”
If you think of your business venture as a plant that could someday offer you the ability to harvest from it not just one type of fruit to enhance your life, but an endless variety of fulfilling, life feeding items, then you’ve got the right image in your head.
Yet, in the beginning, it’s just a tiny seed. It will need attention and protection from a variety of forces that could trample it, consume it, or blow it down. You will need to watch over it in times of drought and you might even need to shelter it when it rains down, for too much water all at once can be bad for a plant. You might not think that feeding your plant too much, or allowing it to be over watered so that it will grow could ever be bad, but actually that can happen. Some businesses can be hampered and even die with too much, too soon.
Beware also that the little seed you plant doesn’t grow up to be like Audrey II in The Little Shop of Horrors, as I referred to earlier. If you haven’t seen the movie, or the play, then you might want to, it’s really good, and though it wasn’t meant to be a metaphor for a small business owner, I think it does so beautifully. Seymour cares for the plant and as it grows he gets a lot of attention because of it, in fact he becomes famous, really famous for his unique and beautiful plant. He lives a lifestyle that everyone envies. Everyone wants to be Seymour, everyone wants to be around him, and everyone wants their own Audrey II. However, Seymour is hiding a little secret — the plant is eating him alive, drop by drop, demanding life’s blood from him. Screaming night and day for attention and to be fed.
I won’t spoil the end for you, but as Audrey grows bigger his demands do as well. The worse part, Seymour doesn’t get the same pleasure anymore in taking care of him, and the rewards become fewer and fewer. In fact, the rewards he does get aren’t what he had hoped for anyway.
This little journey was to help you get a clear image in your head of what it’s like to start a small business. You are a planter, with one seed, and what it will grow up to be can’t be determined by just looking at it. You are going to have to plant it and care for it to see what it becomes. It’s going to need a lot of attention, a whole lot of attention, and maybe more than you can give it alone. Don’t worry though, because you can find skilled workers that can help you feed it, care for it, prune it to be strong, and give you advice when something comes up that you don’t know how to handle.
The important thing is that you don’t take your eye off what is growing in front of you. Don’t be careless and think because your business has good roots and is growing that it doesn’t need you like it did when it was small. It could quickly wilt away and die, or break and become weak. You don’t want anyone coming along and cutting branches off of your strong mighty plant either.
If it turns out that it starts to demand too much from you, or fails to take root and grow, perhaps this is a plant you can’t properly care for, and it may be that you need to hand it off, or let it die, because you can always plant again. Next time, it might be exactly what you wanted it to be and better than before.
Just realize your business is a living entity and with enough care it will produce everything you need to have the life you want, including fulfilling a desire to do good, to help others, enhance lives, and/or fulfill a need, big or small. If you take care of it, give it what it needs for strong roots and to grow, you’ll one day be able to sit and rest in its shade. It might even be able to produce season after season, year after year, for not only you, but generations after you.
Go ahead, that little seed, that little idea in your head, if you care for it the way it requires, could not only produce what you need, but what your community needs, or the world. So if you’re ready, go ahead, plant it, and care for it. It might become big and strong like a mighty oak, and it just might drop seeds and grow to become a forest in front of your very eyes.