Biz Lessons from the Garden

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bones Biz

Happy Springtime!  Time to get the beds cleaned out and the seeds in the ground.  Ah, the promise of success and the certainty of failures.  All you need to know about business, and life, you can learn in the garden.

1. 15 minutes a day beats 2 hours once a week.  Do a little bit everyday.  In fact, just walk out there and look at the garden.  It will make its needs known, if you just pay attention. You can’t hold off until August to plant your tomatoes.  You can’t neglect the garden for weeks, and then hope to catch up by pulling an all-nighter.  Take a few minutes everyday to touch base with your employees, and your customers.  Look over the numbers.  Pay attention.

2. There will be weeds, but there will be unexpected heroes as well.  Weeds are inevitable, and no big deal if you stay after them.   It’s easy to pluck the little suckers.  Find and handle problems when they are little, before they choke the life out of your business.  And appreciate the serendipitous appearance of an unexpected hero.   Isn’t it wonderful to discover a patch of sunflowers, volunteering from last years scattered seeds?  How about hiring Suzy to be your receptionist and discovering she has excellent communication skills, and can analyze financial reports?

3. 12 weeks goes by quickly, but is plenty of time to create something incredible.  Seems like you can blink, and the summer is over.  However, 12 weeks is enough time to grow three rounds of lettuce, potatoes as big as softballs and a pumpkin the size of your Uncle Sherman.  A lot can happen, if you do your part.  12 weeks is one quarter in your fiscal year.  It is enough time to hire and train several employees, and find dozens…hundreds? …of new customers, and get very profitable.

4. Use the off-season to plan the next season.  As the cold weather sets in and the garden comes to rest, jot down your observations and reflections.  Set yourself up for next summer.  All businesses have a slow time.  For some, it’s all winter long.  For others, it is from midnight to 4 am.  Take time during the pause to assess recent experiences, and plan for the next go around.

5. The work is never done.  Your garden, and your business, is always in flux.  Picture a rose…budding, growing, blooming, fading.  It’s either growing or dying.  It is never static.  But, the overall effect of many roses living through their life cycles can be stunningly beautiful.  So it is with your business.  Some projects will take off; others will stall out and fade away.  Keep pruning, weeding and nurturing.

6. Abundance is essential to success.  Split open a watermelon.  How many seeds will you find?  In its efforts to survive, nature knows abundance is the key.   Some seeds will fall on hard ground, and birds will eat others.  Only one is necessary for the watermelon’s continued existence.  But, the watermelon puts out thousands of seeds to ensure that one makes it.  In your business, go for abundant profits.  If you try to squeak by, you will not make it.  Stuff happens, that eats up profits.  Think abundance and price accordingly.


Ellen’s UN-conventional approach to business makes it easy to be more successful and profitable. Download free biz tips at, find her blog at HuffPost Small Business and connect @ellenrohr on twitter


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