Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Have you ever had the feeling you were sitting on a gold mine but no one wanted gold?

Or that you had a $1 million home but no one could afford to buy it from you? Or that you owned a business but no one wanted to invest in it? Or that you stockpiled fuel at $4.00 a gallon and now it could be purchased for $2.50?

If only we knew what was going to happen next year, our decisions would be simple, and we would always choose the right course of action. We must realize everything changes, and we must be prepared for change.

Today, you can get a rate of 5-5.25 percent on a home mortgage. When I got my first home loan 40 years ago, the rate was 6.75 percent. However, there were times over the years when you couldn’t get a mortgage loan for less than 12 to 15 percent.

Since no one can predict what will happen, it is important to be smart. Take the best information you have and do a lot of talking with other people – not only your friends in the business, but also legal experts, accountants and people from other types of businesses. You have to decide if you will stay with your core business or if you need to make changes to stay viable.

Considerations

Here are five major points to consider:

1. Technology. Evaluate how all the new technology that is available can help your business and how you can capitalize on it. If you aren’t flexible and willing to change, you may end up like Eastman Kodak. His company fought the film versus digital battle and tried to stay in the print-only business. But Kodak lost a tremendous amount of money before recognizing it had to make the move into the digital world in addition to print.

2. Financials. Remember sound financial management is a must. Employ a great accountant and make certain any decisions you make are financially sound. Today, it is important to be liquid, to have cash available.

If you have to borrow money, it will be difficult. The lines of credit given by banks today are lower than they were two years ago. The businesses that will survive are the ones that are solvent. Those carrying a large amount of debt will have a hard time.

3. Core business. Know your core business. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Who are your customers? How can you best serve them and attract new ones? If you want to change the focus of your business, do it slowly and make sure you have the expertise and experience to succeed with this new direction.

4. Think ahead. Recognize that you can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and still be in business tomorrow. The use and meaning of the word “organic” has to be well defined. We must have sufficient data to prove that there is a significant difference between organic products and those grown under general production practices.

The term “organic” should not be used as a marketing tool just for the purpose of increasing sales. Our industry grew plants organically from 1900 to the 1930s with very low yields and a great deal of insect and disease damage. Many people went out of business using this method.

While the methods for organic production may have improved over the years, we still need to have data to show that the product is equal to or better than that grown using today’s best-practices method. I hope researchers will be able to prove the “organic” product is of higher quality and better for the public.

I’ll always remember what my father told me about playing poker. If you look around the table and don’t see a patsy, you are the patsy. Be smart. Know the players and what they can and will do. If they bluff too often, they will lose.

When you grow plants, there is little room to bluff, so you had better grow them just right and make certain you are providing the best quality and value. That is how you win!

5. Balance. Strive for balance in your business and your life. My gardener had a friend who had his own trucking business. He and his wife both worked every day to keep the business going. They had little capital, but they had two trucks. He was 44 years old, and they had three children, ages 10, 12 and 16.

In late April this year, he was found dead in his truck by the loading dock where he was to deliver a shipment. He died of a heart attack attributed to the stress involved with his business.

I know many people in our business who work so hard and long they don’t know how not to worry, especially in April, May and June.

Don’t Worry

Recently, I asked one of my grower friends if he would be able to go to a casino with me. He said he didn’t gamble. I smiled and asked, “Then why do you have 10 acres of plants that may or may not be sold this spring?”

He smiled and replied that he wouldn’t go gambling because I don’t gamble as much in one year’s time as he does every day.

Later, he told me not to worry. “I know what I’m doing,” he said. “I know what the odds are and I know I can win 80 to 90 percent of the time. Those are better odds than you can get at the casino.”

He taught me that business is a gamble. You have to have the right product, the right people to produce it and the right people to transport and sell it. If you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, business is a big gamble and the odds are you will fail. Put them all together and you will win.

Be Happy!

There is an old story about three bricklayers who were building a church. A newspaper reporter interviewed each of them and asked what they were doing.

The first bricklayer said, “I am laying bricks. I can lay 100 bricks every hour and that is what I do.”

The second bricklayer said, “I am laying bricks for a wall of this church, and it will be the finest wall in the building.”

Finally, the third bricklayer was interviewed. He said, “I am laying bricks for a cathedral that will be here for 1,000 years. Thousands of people will come here to find peace and joy. My work will provide them with solace here on earth.”

Three bricklayers, doing the same job, all with a purpose in their work. The third bricklayer was obviously the happiest with his work.

We can translate the type of bricklayer in the story to greenhouse growers. Do you just grow plants? Do you grow plants and sell them to customers? Do you grow plants with a vision of helping people not only by adding beauty to their lives, but also by providing peace, hope and joy?

Please be happy with the great good you provide people and know that your good work and long hours are well received and appreciated by the customers who buy and use your product.

Look at the big picture. You are an important part of it!

Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means For Greenhouse Growers

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort - Feature image

October 25, 2016

Contribute To HRI To Help Honor Industry Advocate Craig Regelbrugge

In honor of Craig Regelbrugge's extraordinary contributions to the horticultural industry, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Initiative created a special HRI endowment fund in his name: "The Craig Regelbrugge - Advocates for Horticulture Fund."

Read More
Lucas Greenhouses Shipping

October 6, 2016

Greenhouse Shipping Costs Down, But Concerns Remain

Lower gas prices have led to lower shipping costs for some growers, but many continue to seek out ways to become more efficient.

Read More
Latest Stories
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort - Feature image

October 25, 2016

Contribute To HRI To Help Honor Industry Advocate Craig…

In honor of Craig Regelbrugge's extraordinary contributions to the horticultural industry, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Initiative created a special HRI endowment fund in his name: "The Craig Regelbrugge - Advocates for Horticulture Fund."

Read More
Lucas Greenhouses Shipping

October 6, 2016

Greenhouse Shipping Costs Down, But Concerns Remain

Lower gas prices have led to lower shipping costs for some growers, but many continue to seek out ways to become more efficient.

Read More
Pansy ‘Cool Wave Blue Skies’ (Wave)

September 20, 2016

PanAmerican Seed Settles Alleged Trade Sanction Violati…

PanAmerican Seed, a division of Ball Horticultural Co., has been charged with violating trade sanctions to Iran over a number of years. According to a release from the U.S. Treasury department, PanAmerican Seed made 48 indirect sales of seeds to two Iranian distributors. The company shipped the seed to consignees based in countries in Europe and the Middle East. PanAmerican Seed’s customers then arranged for the re-exportation of the seeds to Iran. The release states that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined PanAmerican Seed did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations to OFAC, constituting an egregious case. “We believe that the settlement was extreme; however the alternative was to litigate with the U.S. government, which would take months, if not years,” says Todd Billings, Chief Financial Officer for Ball Horticultural Co. When asked what Ball Horticultural Co. has done to ensure that violations to trade sanctions do not […]

Read More
young-plants

September 20, 2016

The Top Young Plant Growers, And Four Critical Challeng…

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Young Plant Growers Survey, growers discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in fulfillment, shipping, labor, and crop protection.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

September 6, 2016

10 Insights From Charlie Hall’s Green Industry Economic…

With the uncertain current economic climate, Texas A&M economist Charlie Hall says now may be the perfect time to invest — as long as you do it smartly.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 23, 2016

AmericanHort Is Helping Plant Importers Adjust To New R…

A report from Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort says the government is implementing a streamlined system for imports, in which all required data will be submitted electronically through a single window.

Read More
Plug Connection Assortment

August 9, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Will Feature…

This year’s conference, which takes place Sept. 19-21 in Carlsbad, CA, features discussions on water, pest and disease control, and production inputs, as well as a biocontrols workshop and tour of local cuttings facilities.

Read More
Cannabis In Greenhouse

July 27, 2016

The Top 5 Myths About Cannabis Production Cleared Up

There is a lot of misleading information going around about growing cannabis. Industry insider James Lowe makes sure you know the truth about cannabis production.

Read More
Joe Bischoff

July 26, 2016

SAF Partners With Cornerstone Government Affairs To Adv…

A new partnership between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Cornerstone Government Affairs ensures that SAF will continue its highly effective work advocating for issues that affect the floriculture industry. “SAF and Cornerstone together provide experienced voices on Capitol Hill to protect our growers’ interests,” says SAF CEO Peter Moran. “We’ll continue to move major policy priorities forward on behalf of small business and agriculture.” Cornerstone is a public affairs firm specializing in government relations, strategic consulting, and advocacy. Its team of more than 50 senior professionals includes former senior professional staff from both authorization and appropriations committees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as veterans of the horticulture industry. Agricultural and horticultural issues of primary concern to SAF members include access to labor, immigration, crop protection, international trade and other matters related to the day-to-day operations of growers. Before she retired this year, SAF lobbyist Lin […]

Read More

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
Cannabis states 2016

July 1, 2016

Adult Use Of Cannabis On The Ballot In 2016

25 states have legalized cannabis and public opinion is increasingly positive. Here’s where things may be headed as we move toward the fall elections.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Battlefield Farms Company shot

June 14, 2016

Battlefield Farms Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation Of T…

Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, VA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Innovation award for 2016.

Read More

June 7, 2016

Ball Seed Offers Full Mobile Ordering Capabilities With…

The latest update for Ball Seed’s WebTrack To Go mobile app now includes full ordering capabilities for the industry’s largest assortment of seeds and plants. App users can also complete order fulfillment via seed count or package size, find product substitutions, get personalized “contact us” information, request plant tags, and more. “Upgrading WebTrack To Go to the full suite of ordering and management tools is where we’ve always wanted to be,” says Mark Morris, Director of IT for Ball Seed. “With this new roll-out, we’re keeping up with our customers on-the-go and providing them the information and access they need –- even while away from their desks.” The Ball Seed WebTrack To Go app lets customers: Check order status and shipment tracking 24-7 Access up-to-the-minute product inventory from hundreds of suppliers Place orders by seed count, packet size, and more Find product info, culture and photos when and where they […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]