My wife is a keen gardener, and I am the beneficiary of her creativity in the small garden at our home. I had to chuckle when she pronounced that as it was September 1, it was officially spring.
The reason for my mirth was that there was still snow on the mountains and we were using heaters and jerseys!
In spite of the cold, though, there are still signs of spring which lead to certain actions to maximise on the season of growth. I couldn’t help applying this within the world of entrepreneurship and small business. For many, the past months and years have been a long winter. Yet are there signs of growth and opportunity? Are there actions we can take to prepare for this growth?
Signs of spring
We have a yellow pincushion protea in front of our house. As spring has started, this bush has exploded with flowers, attracting bees, birds and admiring glances. It all seemed to happen just over the past two weeks and is our sign that spring is here.
People and businesses were massively impacted by the “winter” of Covid and the subsequent lockdowns. The hospitality and tourism industry was particularly hard hit. As example, the Restaurant Association of South Africa says its list of restaurant closures exceeds 1 000.
Yet, we appear to have passed the third peak and therefore the reduction of the lockdown levels.
In the Western Cape, there seems to be a quietly optimistic view of tourism increasing in summer.
In addition, the South African economy recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of growth, expanding by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2021 (April to June). As we move into the last month of this quarter, is this a sign of pending growth?
Actions to take
Work to a plan. I am aware that my wife works to the vision that is in her head. She sees things not as they are but as they could be. She works to an overarching plan.
This is a clear why you are in the business you are in. It is having a clear and compelling purpose in mind. It is something that picks you up, rather than you “picking it up”. Perhaps it is time to pause and remind yourself of your WHY.
One of our graduates refers to her why as having her heart in her business, and her business in her heart. She is living her why.
As plants come out of winter where they have been largely dormant, they require feeding to bring out the best growth, flowers and fruit. What are some areas of dormancy that need focus, “feeding of attention and action” to add sustainable growth to your business? Remember the adage, what you measure grows. Are there areas that need clearer metrics of measurement?
I have noticed that the entrepreneur’s growth is anything but linear, with periods of seemingly little happening.
Sometimes they move out of “winter into spring” simply because they are looking for new opportunities.
My wife will see bare patches and areas in the garden that look bland. Recalling her “big picture”, she will prepare these areas for new plants. It is so good to see these areas morph into colorful pockets of growth.
Are there some new products or services you want to launch? Is this the right time for it?
There has been a long holding pattern while we have waited for a season of normality.
Is this the season to consider introducing those new entrants to your business? Is this the time when opportunity outweighs risk?
It is quite significant that in the quaint Valyland shopping centre in Fish Hoek, there are three new ventures that have started… as spring begins.
Removing pests and weeding:
Most gardeners know that overlooking the effects of weeds and pests can be disastrous. New buds and growth are particularly susceptible, so the diligent gardener pays attention to them.
This has been a long winter and it is my observation that entrepreneurs may be subject to the attack and impact of “weeds and pests”. These can come through shaky beliefs, faulty attitudes and stinking thinking!
As a season of growth and opportunity beckons, let us be diligent to guard our thinking, beliefs and attitudes. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) concluded, “We become what
we think about”. Psychologists say that your life gravitates in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. We’re not powerless to change that direction and therefore, influence the growth of our businesses. We can change things by changing our thinking.
In doing so we will be less impacted by “pests and weeds” and create a more fertile environment for… growth!