Business Implementation: Dormant Seeds (Part 1)

When should I shelve and when should I implement a business model? That is the question. Shelving and dumping are not synonimous, but if you are not carefull, the line inbetween can become very blurred.

There is no single universal business strategy that works for each and every applicable project that you set out to do. Methodology, conditions and external influence are continually dynamic and even people grow, mature and have a change of heart.

In the plant kingdom, seeds vary in their nature, operation and characteristics. Some seeds live a relatively comfortable lifestyle, they are designed in such a way that they easily break down and grow into plants in a very short time period.

They are not very resistant to harsh conditions and any deviation from their richly nourished lifestyle will cause them to wilt and die.

There are some businesses that are heavily reputation and relationship based, for example, a doctor’s surgery, banking, lawyer’s firms and consultants amongst many others.

A lot of the business this segment depend less on the actual physical value of the business as much as the perception that people have of the owner/manager. 

That is why it is possible for a firm to be branded in the name of a person and prosper even though the actual person handles less than even five percent of the actual business of the firm.

People rely on the firm and the brand that covers it and will trust in it so long as the reputaation of the brand owner remains consistant.

However, if management, particularly the actual brand name owner is involved in any scandal wether business, personal or other, the firm will be dealt with a deadly blow that may at times even prove fatal.

Those who are in Zimbabwe are very familiar with the scandals surrounding various organisations such as The ANG and several banks and financial institutions.

The relationship that exists is that of trust, and if the clientelle feel that the brand is not trust worthy or likely to deviate from the expectations, they will abandon the firm for other “more trustworthy” firms.

So care always has to be taken on how the owners/managers handle themselves in and outside of their work/business practice. Implementation and growth in this case depends far less on actual physical resources but on the repuatation that the owners/managers have amassed over time.

Tune in for our next segment, featuring mainly on shelved business.


The Seed of Influence: Advertising

In order to be able to influence anyone or the course of events, you need to have a certain level of influence. It doesnt necessarily have to be written down rules and procedures or cast in stone for it to be effective. Even a simple maid or gardener may change the course of events of a large conglomerate by a few simple correctly placed seeds.

Plants have an amazing strategy of ensuring their survival and spread. They do not all do it in the same way, some package it in an attractive casing known as fruit and various birds and mammals transport them to other locatins where there is less competition for nutrients and a higher potential for survival. Some have pods designed in such a way that the pods explode casting their seeds as far as possible, some seeds are designed in such a way that the very wind itself carries them on its back the minute they are exposed to its influence. Some latch onto passing traffics in the form of man and animals and are eventually dropped of at some other destination point.

These are not the exhaustive options or full proof methods of spread, but they all have one thing in common, they find a means of carrying their seeds long distances from their point of origin.

A mentor, teacher, business man, developmental worker are various examples of vocations which have the interest of spreading the gospel of reformation as far and as effectively as they possibly can. Various marketing and distribution tools are available at their disposal to ensure that what they preach or practice is not simply concentrated in a very small area but is widely distributed and viewed by people from all walks of life.

Various corporates run campaigns and activities of corporate social responsibility were they carry out several community outreach programmes were they “spread their seed” packaged as fruit in the form of clean up campaigns, bursaries, donations e.t.c.

The community loves such things, but who wouldn’t, they are free, usually very essential, widely accepted, biblical and socially encouraged. Naturally, people want to know who is responsible for such “kindness” and this gives corporates an opportunity to spread their brand and plant seeds of loyalty in as many appreciative hearts as they possibly can.

Subsequently, a method of below the line advertising, (a common name in marketing, whereby the reputation of the company is enhanced through spreading awareness of its existence and activities indirectly through other unrelated activities and media).

The advernt of the internet and social networking boom has made the internet an extremely powerful marketing tool for the experienced and informed user. A lot of companies have seen an overnight explosion of revenue into the billions through the use of social media.
In this regard, “the seeds are carried on the very wings” of the internet.

Various internet sites, users and software programmes relay informatio about new product offers and releases to billions of people in a matter of hours. Methods that could not be employed as easily a meer five years ago.

Chain letters and emails have been taken to a whole new level, with selective advertising even being placed in the very hands of the final consumer who now has choice on the advertising that they wish to see in some instances.

Companies such as apple have employed the use of online marketing extremely successfully often creating a very big hype about products months before their release date, often resulting in them being sold out even before they actually enter into the market.

There is so much to say about this topic, I think I will have to do a few more segments in the next few days, but for now I will let you ponder a bit more on “The Seed of Influence.”

Dig Deep: Lay Your Foundation

An interesting aspect about building is that when laying a foundation you have to first begin with digging in the opposite direction to that which you intend on the building to rise towards.

The moment you decide to directly begin the process of building a building you expect to hug the very sky, your pick up your tools and start digging in the complete opposite direction.

Even the bible says it in Prov 11:24 “there is that scattereth, yet increaseth…”. There is always a time, and usually that time is at the very commencement of a project, where people might not quite grasp what it is that you are doing. It seems to the untrained eye as if you are quickly digging yourself into a ditch from which you cannot escape.

The funny thing about the foundation is that, the bigger the building, the deeper and more solid the foundation has to be.

So the bigger the project, the more time, effort and resources have to be committed towards ensuring that the project sets of from a solid base.

It is not an easy task and most people who observe humungous buildings take little to no regard at all to the foundation upon which the building is built.

As in the parable of the house built on sand, shoddy workmanship and preperation for business implementation will be made manifest once the waves of market forces begin to play havoc on the business model.

In other words, a solid business has to be built on a sound moral, ethical and business values because the higher the building, the mightier the fall and the more people that will feel the crush and even the more law suites involved.

Just to slip back to my favourite past time… plants. Trees and shrubs are very fascinating life forms. For the purpose of this discussion, we can consider the desert shrubs. Some appear to be very tiny above the surface, with only a branch or two visible with a few small leaves.

An uninformed person can actually assume that they can easily uproot the entire plant by pulling it out with a single hand.
An attempt at this would prove them extremly wrong as the ernomous size of the underground root network would at some cases even constitute more than 99% of the actual plant size. So what is in reality visible to the casual observer is nothing more than the tip of the iceburg.

The key to some of the most successful businesses, is to look tiny and insignificant from the top, but have a vast network of resources at play just below the surface, capturing every single drop of opportunity that comes your way and anchoring the business so heavily, that you would nees a complete industrial meltdown to cause it to break a sweat.

The Root (Part 3): Support System

The most essential thing that you have to understand about one of the most essential parts of a plant, “the root” is to understand that it has the massive backing of the plant.

In business, you have to realise that you need to take care of your business in order for it to take care of you. If you are to reap any fruits from the investment input into your business you have to ensure that its internal clockwork and functions are at their optimal point.

Some plants can easily be reproduced by making cuttings from the parent plant. The new plant/cutting, continues to survive for a short while without some of the most essential elements as the roots and leaves.

It would not be a wise thing for a plant to assume that it can continue to operate in such a way for a long time.

There comes a point in the new plant’s “reasoning” that the plant realises that it has been separated from its source of nutrition and the time has come to develop an independant system.

If the plant fails to produce the necessary organs such as the leaves and roots because it thinks it is still alive, it will suddenly wake up one day and the internal storage would have been exhausted subsequently leading to its wilting and death.

If you neglect the most essential drivers of your business as it reaches its maturity, it may suddenly whilt and die on you. And you wonder what happened.

The business would have been operating very well for the last 12-15 months and because the systems in place appear to be operating very well. There is need to continualy review the systems in place and assess the functions, viability and overall feasibility going forward.

There is a need to continually review each and every function to make sure that it is well catered for and is able to perform its function to the best of its capability.

Some things that were efficient whilst you were serving five or ten clients may no longer be as feasible when there are now 25 to thirty clients.

New equipment may need to be purchased, vehicles acquired, software upgraded, buildings upgraded and refurbished. There are so many intricate details depending on the type of business that you have to look out for as you progress in business.

The bible says “do not restrict the horse that treads the corn.” There are certain “perks” that are derived from working in certain industries, at times these appear to be irrelevant to the operations of the business.

However they offer a certain level of satisfaction and quality of life to the employee.
These need to be regulated in order to ensure that the company suffers minimal loss from these activities but gains in improved perfomance from the employee. They can be used as moral boosters and perfomance enhancers ensuring that the core objectives of the business are achieved.

They say a hungry man is an angry man, this is obvious in many day to day business activities in a lot of our companies. We have seen industries being brought to their knees because the employees have been neglected.

The key unit of any business are its employees and if they are mistreated or given a package that is below the standard that a normal being can operate under, then the business owner is simply sitting on a ticking time bomb.

It is only a matter of time before the employee bomb explodes on it.
I am continually amazed at employers who choose to neglect and abuse their employees through poor pay packages as compared to the actual business net revenue and poor working conditions.

Whilst a dollar here and there is saved in the short run by employing strategies that disadvantage the employee, an employer should be wary because watering down the wine is a dangerous strategy.

Shortcuts in business are the quickest way to failure.

A strong, secure, solid employee root base ensures that the business system is founded on a solid rock.

The Root (Part2): Discovery

One thing I love about roots, their ingenuity. We are all endowed with different talents and capabilities depending on the size of the destiny that we are meant to fulfill.

I can just imagine if roots could talk and a tiny oak tree growing through a small crack in the wall telling the older “wiser” creeping weed that it (the oak tree) would at some future date break the wall down.

The creeper would look at the tiny little oak and probably say, “are you crazy? I’ve been growing for 10 years and my life’s ambition is to cover this wall because I know I will NEVER be able to break it down and you are telling me that you will break it down in five years? I think you need to get real about your dreams.”

The truth of the matter is, the oaks’ dream is just a dream for the creeper, but for the oak, it is inevitable.

It is very easy for most people to judge their own capabilities based on what their predecesors managed to achieve within the same time span. Some people may even feel as if they have failed and the everjudging community may even look at them with a critical eye as failures because they judge them based on other people’s capability.

Nobody except God can truly know what you are capable of, and it is my prayer today that you may have fellowship with Him and He may reveal to you the extent to which you are capable of achieving your dreams. Or even unlock hidden potential that you did not even know that you had.

I am preety sure that most of us would be blown away in shock if we knew God’s plans for us, or saw ourselves in the manner that God sees us.

God’s spirit lives within us and it is just bubbling with life giving power to increase and multiply whatever we put our hands to.

The tiny little root will grow a tiny unnoticeable fraction every day and keep spreading, sniffing and searching out sources of nutrients.

When it finds a solid, good enough source, it plugs in and embeds itself deep inside and focuses all of the energy of the plant towards establishment on that new primary root.

When doing Bonsai, you are encouraged to train your plant by restricting the growth of the root. This just goes to show the immense power that the root has in shaping the growth of the entire organism.

Roots constrained in combination with a few other tricks can keep a massive tree that was meant to cover a huge area no higher than a toddler’s knee caps.

Your roots are what feed your business, social, spiritual or other intellect. They are found in the form of your senses and your mind. Keeping them couped up and constrained will result in exactly the same result as our 400 hundred year old bonsai tree.

Im sure it asks itself daily if there ever is such a thing, “what on earth is the matter.” Every other tree that is anywhere near as old as it is has grown to massive heights and has amassed quite some massive fruit.

You have to not only free your mind to endless possibility, but also feed it with new material, it may surprise you what it begins to attract you to.