Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Business is a Houseplant

I knew a shop owner once who had a bricks and mortar store, which she opened because she saw a need in her community, and because she wanted to own a business she could work around her family.  I can relate to that, and you probably can too.

The problem she had was that she changed her mind a lot.

Now, I'm the queen of changing my mind, and I've got a dozen half-finished projects around my house to prove it: half-made crocheted scarves, a part-painted dining room table, and a sewing machine I bought with the best of intentions...still in its box.

But what happened with this lady, was that every time she didn't see results quickly, she changed tack.  It's an understandable reaction: "This doesn't seem to be working; let's try something else."

But what ended up happening was that her customers got so confused about her opening hours/what she was selling/what she could offer them, that, in the end, I think a lot of them just threw their hands up and gave up trying to suss out her business.

The consequence?  She closed up shop.

I don't think every decision she made was wrong and, honestly, I even respect her willingness to adapt. But I sometimes wonder if things would've turned out differently if she'd just continued on for a while with one idea or another.  If she'd just practiced a little patience.

My aunt owns her own business, and I remember my grandmother saying to her once:

"A new business is like an ivy plant: the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, and the third year it leaps."

Now, I'm not saying that's what happens with everyone's business, but I think there's a little bit of wisdom for us all in that old wives' tale.

Patience is a virtue.  And if you can afford to be patient – to keep plugging along, being obedient, cultivating your business, perfecting your craft – you may see your consistency pay off in the long run.

No comments:

Post a Comment