Starting a business is much like working an allotment. You have a seed of an idea; you nurture it in a little clay pot until it struggles into the daylight; you stress about providing it with enough manure in the form of funding so that you can eventually transplant it into the wicked, wider world of the adult vegetable patch with all its attendant predators, parasites and pitfalls. With any luck your seed of an idea makes the journey from an innocuous looking seed into a strapping begonia which flowers annually with the minimum attention from you, allowing you to tend to other seeds or sit back and bask in the glory of your potato crop.
Often though, that process of business incubation is all too fraught and too many seeds of business ideas fall on the rough ground of customer disinterest or are devoured by the foxes of enterprises which are faster and more cunning than you when it comes to protecting the febrile business that is struggling into the daylight.
This series of posts introduces various tips and tricks which are designed to help you start and protect that business of yours. It’s an allotment because your business – anyone’s business – cannot survive alone but needs other businesses of different shapes, types and flavours to flourish. An allotment allows for cross trading, cross fertilisation, mutual collaboration and the sharing of ideas in ways which might sound misplaced in the context of a cut and thrust, capitalist market place: but one thing all entrepreneurs know deep down is that they can’t do what they do alone.
They need the input of others, whether this be in the form of shovelling up the shite, digging protective trenches against the voracious slug or simply holding an umbrella over you as the sun burns down on your life long desires. They need manure – obviously – but also need a collection of sharp and blunt tools, good quality soil, an absence of wasps nests and a good supply of that magical ingredient, water. So simple, so obvious and yet so mysterious – water is to the allotment what vision is to the business.
There’s no guarantee these tips and tricks will work; but if at the very least you can see your business start up as your very own allotment – and not your own private back garden – there is every chance your business will make it through the winter and be around next summer for you to sit in and admire your burgeoning brassicas.
Of course, starting up your business is also very much like trying to steer your life, irrespective of whether you’re in business or not. So, I hope these posts help you navigate your life as much as they are intended to help you tend your beautiful business idea.