Growing a Small Business is Like Gardening

We were curious about the timing to make the most of our backyard vegetable garden, and it got us thinking about the similarity between a successful backyard garden and a successful small business. Success in the garden has as much to do with “when” you plant as it does with “what” you plant. Timing is everything. Good timing requires a plan and every plan has steps.

How to Grow Your Small Business

STEP 1. Build a firm foundation. 

Raised beds work better because they sit atop the ground, are filled with the correct soil, drain better, and maintain a warmer soil. Because of the smart foundation, plants growing in raised beds have a better chance at success from seed to the table. Is your small business built on as firm a foundation? Is each component of success — product, market, money, and people — contributing to a firm foundation?

STEP 2. Timing is everything.

To make the most of the growing season, we learn which plants can tolerate early spring’s cooler soils (broccoli and cabbage) and which prefer warmer temps (beans and cucumbers). A new employee that appears at first to be a slow learner, may turn into a superstar given nourishment at the right time.

STEP 3. Wait for it.

Growing a garden doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s also no such thing as an “overnight success” in business. Living things have a mind of their own. Employees and customers both refuse to be forced, but are open to persuasion. Stay flexible and willing to make changes. Like in the garden, plants can be dug up and moved around until sunlight or bedding soil inspires them to blossom.

STEP 4. Pull the weeds.

Gardens get weeds because of a) too many spaces unfilled, b) too much mulch, c) too much space between plants, or d) too much water or fertilizer. Those pesky weeds steal nutrients from the soil and block out life-giving sunshine, not unlike an unreliable employee or an irrationally dissatisfied or overly needy customer. Weeds keep the rest of the garden from thriving and spread their complaining or poor attitudes to others. 

Gardening requires that we get our hands dirty. It creates an awareness of the present moment and what is happening around us. It’s been said that when we learn to deal with plants, we put ourselves in a better position to deal with people, no matter what we’re growing.

Doing Business in Cincinnati

Owning a small business in Cincinnati is a great decision! We enjoy a consistent growing economy while maintaining a relatively low cost of living. This stable business environment enables startups to focus on their mission, customers, and workers. 

Cincinnati Night Sky

Did you know that in the U.S. nearly 1 in 5 business startups fail within the first year, and about 50% after five years? But Cincinnati’s rate of success for startups after 5 years is a remarkable 74%. Some of that success comes from the meteoric rise of tech and medical startups in the Queen City, as well as the Cincinnati business culture coupled with a commitment to venture development firms like CincyTech

In 2022, Ohio’s minimum wage rose $.50/hour to $9.30 (the federal minimum wage is $7.25). The District of Columbia tops the list at $15.20 while Wyoming takes the bottom slot at $5.15.

Only 18 states have a lower rate than Ohio. See the chart »

Local colleges and universities contribute by turning out well-educated potential employees who choose to stay in Cincinnati because of its family-friendly neighborhoods, outstanding schools, parks and cultural amenities, food and dining, major sports teams, and down-home midwestern values.

Small businesses contribute by supporting other small businesses with similar dreams, values, and goals.

If you are a loyal customer of DLMoney Matters, thank you! If you are still on the fence about whether to offload the anxiety, fears, and burdens of the time you spend on financial, tax, and accounting matters, get to know us. And please, refer us to your friends.

Russia vs. American Small Business

The world economy depends on global energy supplies. We were exposed to supply-chain snags during the Covid pandemic, but with the outbreak of war in Ukraine, sanction and export controls against Russia could make things even worse in terms of inflation.

Our reality check is that today a gallon of gas averages $4.10— a whopping 49% more than the $2.75 in March 2021. If your small business has a fleet of cars or trucks, inflation at the pump can tear into profits.

With commodity prices rising, the cost of services will also rise. Businesses often have no choice but to pass along their increased cost of products and services to their customers. A rising tide raises all boats!


So how can a small business protect itself?

According to the Bureau of Labor, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices paid by consumer for goods and services, had it largest 12-month increase since 1982. If you can, it may be wise to stock up on inventory, invest in property and update equipment before the CPI rises higher.

Now that the Federal Reserve Board has decided to increase the federal funds rate, those who anticipated higher rates and place their cash into interest-bearing CDs, money markets, bonds and savings accounts may benefit. The Fed today signaled multiple incremental increases during the coming year.

If you have access to capital, it may be a good time to purchase inventory and the core materials needed for your business. Examine your technology needs. You may be able to do more with fewer people using state-of-the-art automation that requires less human interaction. 

If eligible, look into a fixed-rate loan from the SBA (Small Business Administration) for working capital and to refinance any existing debt on your business.

Talk to your suppliers about long-term agreements and if you rent business space, consider negotiating a longer-term lease. 

Finally, talk to us as well as your financial advisor. Whatever the nature of your small business, the worldwide pandemic followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are reasons to prepare. 

FOOTNOTE

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, people here in the Tri-State offer help to those who need to leave their homes. Read about the Matthew 25: Ministry program and consider a generous donation for drop off at their location at 11083 Kenwood Road, 45242.