Articles

The Time to Get Ready for Tomorrow is Today

With all the economic challenges we face right now it would be very easy for the average business person to sit still in fear and do nothing. Uncertainty tends to do that to us. We hear about the condition of the housing market, continued job losses and the chaos on Wall Street and it makes us want to hold onto our money and maintain the status quo with our business. It is sort of a defense mechanism that seems to kick in these kinds of times so I understand this reaction. In fact, I have to admit that as a consumer, I have reacted the same way on some level. But, the more thought I have given to this mind set from a business perspective, the more I have come to realize the flaw in it. The fact is this is not the time to sit tight or “hunker down” as some might say. Just the opposite is true. This is the time for all of us to look forward to next spring and next year and begin to think about what needs to be done now so that we can be ready when the economy turns around, and it will turn around. Already, economists are beginning to slowly find consensus on the idea that we have hit the bottom or close to it. Most of them caution that it will be a slow recovery, but a recovery nonetheless.

Greenhouse Maintenance: Why It Matters

Spring is always a hectic time around any greenhouse operation whether you’re a retailer dealing with a steady flow of customers or a commercial grower trying to ship every plant possible before the heat dries up demand. What you are probably not doing is thinking about your greenhouses and what kind of condition they are in. As a matter of fact, the mere mention of this line of thought may make you think I have either lost my mind or have never walked through the doors of a greenhouse business of any kind in the spring. But before you write me off as being out of touch or out of my mind, please let me explain. Whether you’re a wholesale grower or retailer, the condition of your greenhouses and related equipment can have huge implications for your business. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the importance of greenhouse maintenance.

Short Term Pain vs. Long Term Gain

So much of life, in one form or another, is affected by this idea of short term versus long term thinking. Are we willing to tolerate some “pain” in the short term to make some “gains” in the long run? For example, are we willing to endure the short term pain of exercise for 30 minutes a day 3-4 days a week to gain a healthier body and possibly a longer more productive life? Are we willing to tolerate the short term pain of following a budget and doing without some of the things we want today to gain a more secure financial position in the future with less anxiety and more freedom? Finally, are we willing to tighten our belt and pay a little bit extra right now to make sure the job is done right the first time so that we are able to enjoy the end product later without problems or complications that inevitably would have come with the cutting of corners? Over and over we are faced with decisions that can be boiled down to this tension between short term versus long term thinking.

Pain Points

One of the most interesting aspects of my job is that I get the opportunity to visit a lot of different customers and see their operations in person. It allows me to see how they run their business and better understand what things are like in their world. The better I understand their business, the more likely I will be able to help them in some way because I have been exposed to the issues first hand that causes them pain. Some of these pain points are unique to a particular customer due to geography, climate, logistics or any number of other variables. However, there are many pain points that are common ground for most greenhouse and nursery customers. The most consistent ones are related to water, labor or energy.