Stuff got real in 2017, and it caused many of us to stop and reflect on the current state of the world, and how we can impact change — or at least improve our own situations. Life is too short, and we work too hard, to not use the annual renewal as an opportunity to take stock of our own personal lives, businesses, and careers, and make the necessary adjustments that will allow us to work smarter and live better.
Even if you have already given up on your resolutions, perhaps you can think of January as a trial month and make February the month when you really get to work on your goals. And while I know it’s a difficult month to start on some of these changes, since you’re already immersed in the busy spring season, I promise that if you take some time to evaluate your reality every day, week, and month, you’ll have a much happier year. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Shed. Fine-tune your list of products and projects, so you can minimize those that are less profitable while increasing the prices of those that provide unique value in the marketplace. It’s not an easy process, but when you consider how hard you and your team work and the time it takes, oftentimes away from your families, it’s important to put a higher value on your time and efforts.
Empower. For business owners and managers, you may often feel like there are things that only you can do, or there may be functions that you feel are easier to do yourself than to explain to someone else. But let’s be honest — there’s a lot more that you can delegate that will not only improve your workload and allow you to be more strategic, but will also empower your team members to feel more ownership in your operation. Evaluate your to-do list and let go of the things that are weighing you down but will lift others up.
Invest. Labor is an issue for everyone, and due to ongoing climbing expenses like periodic minimum wage hikes in some states, more growers are looking to automate every process they can, including rethinking the layout of their facilities. Consider where you can invest in technology to redistribute your labor. Pencil out how you can afford it, and how it can make your life and the lives of your employees easier. Even if buying a piece of equipment means a slower return on investment, but will allow you to make it to your kid’s soccer game — or your team members can improve their work-life balance — pull the trigger. It will be worth it.
Recognize. Chances are, your committed team members have also been logging long hours that have been valuable to your operation. Their drive, determination, and passion fuel your operation and the industry. Throughout the year, and especially during the busy spring season, don’t let this work go unnoticed. Find some ways, big or small, to reward their hard work to let them know you see what they’re doing and thank them for their efforts.
Enjoy. Nothing is worth doing if you don’t enjoy the process. Find some moments in every day that will remind you why you’re in this business, whether that means visiting a retail store and talking to customers about plants, or simply stopping to literally enjoy the sight and scent of your product. Build in some time throughout the year to have some fun with your coworkers, and balance the busy season with some extra time off when things slow down, and spend time with your families — the purpose for why you work so hard.