By Preston Wilson
Growing up, I spent a great deal of time with my grandfathers. One of my great grandfathers that I visited with every day was a farmer, J.R. Ludlum. He lived a very simple life for 98 years. He had a reputation for always having a beautiful harvest. For years, I enjoyed dinner with him five days a week. Dinner was always two or three freshly picked vegetables.
To my knowledge, he only had one bad crop in the early 1920’s. He would refer to it on occasion. This one bad crop caused him to change his course in life and actually brought my family here to new soil from the coast of North Carolina. My grandfather had a book that he would refer to as a secret to his success. This book was The Farmer’s Almanac. If you’re not familiar with The Farmer’s Almanac, it’s an annual publication that suggests when a farmer should sow particular seed that year for a strong harvest. It basically makes a prediction considering the perfect time, environment, seed, and application to accomplish just the right results. If he were to miscalculate any of these four key contributors, it would affect the outcome of the harvest.
Although I love food, my interest in life is not agriculture. However, I learned one of the most valuable principles as an entrepreneur from my grandfather and his almanac. For any endeavor to succeed, four key elements must be taken into equal consideration. Those elements, again, are proper timing, environment, seed, and application.
When I set out to plant a new business endeavor, one of the first things I consider is the timing. Am I certain that the timing is right in the lives of my family, partners, targeted customers, and country for me to pursue my idea? Timing is crucial. The right idea at the wrong time will surely fail.
The right environment is equally important. The likelihood of success selling snow skis in the Bahamas is slim to none. For your endeavor to survive, it must be planted in soil that is suitable for it to flourish.
As always, you must have the right seed, or investment to make for your idea to succeed. This goes hand in hand with the other three elements. Without the proper resources to begin your endeavor, it is destined to starve. This investment must not only include what it takes to start, but must also include what it’s going to take to see its full potential.
Without sufficient invested effort in the process, planting the right idea in the right place at the right time will still fail. This is an element that most eager entrepreneurs struggle with. We think it through, make the investment in just the perfect market, but we just don’t calculate the sweat equity that it will involve. The period from planting to harvest doesn’t happen overnight; someone has to work the field from start to finish.
I encourage you to pursue your dreams and ideas, but to consider these four key points. Maybe you have failed at a past endeavor as my grandfather did. It is never too late to consider which of these four elements that you were missing, calculate, and balance your thoughts and resources. And, in the right time, plant your endeavor. More than likely, the harvest of your seed will satisfy a market and brighten and influence the future, as my grandfather’s harvest did for me.