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Why you don’t (necessarily) need marketing

sweetcornAt the end of our village (or at the beginning of our village, depending on which way you drive in) is a field, currently full of sweetcorn plants.  That’s it in the photo over on the left!

In the Autumn, our nearest small market town is awash with this sweetcorn that they practically give away! We get huge piles of them sold for a pittance from stalls in the market square.  Other than keeping the locals in fruit and veg, our farmers supply the supermarket chain.  It’s the supermarkets that keep them in business, providing the farmers the income to pay him and herself a salary (yes, we have lady farmers round here too), fund their farms and invest in their businesses.

Now, without getting into the politics of what the supermarkets pay farmers (otherwise we’d all be here till next week), the farmers know that in order to supply the supermarkets’ requirements, they have to have a big field.  Well, propably a few big fields.

I too am growing sweetcorn in my veg patch, but can only lay claim to eight plants. These eight plants are currently the subject of warfare between me and the chickens: they have decided that young, tender sweetcorn plants make very tasty snacks for roaming chickens, and busily help themselves, and I don’t necessarily subscribe to this point of view.

If my eight plants manage to grow past the killer chickens and manage to produce cobs, then I shall have enough corn on the cobs to feed my family for a few days at best.  My remit has never been to supply to the supermarkets, nor indeed the local village, with sweetcorn or any other vegetable for that matter.  And so, I keep my veggie patch sized accordingly.

If I wanted to start supplying the locals, I would need a lot more than eight plants.  But I don’t have room for more than that in my current veg patch, so I’d have to dig over more of the garden.  Maybe I don’t want to do that, but if we thought it was worth it, then yes, I would requisition some of the garden to produce more sweetcorn plants, and then maybe I would have enough for the locals.

But what if I decided that this sweetcorn growing malarkey was taking off?  What if I’d finally won my battle against the chickens, and Mr R and I decided that growing sweetcorn for all the local supermarkets was going to be our new venture?

Well, for starters, I would need a field.  The garden would no longer be big enough.  Then I’d need to ditch the fork and spade and get a tractor with all sorts of exciting sowing attachments.  I’d need to think about a different watering system: my hose pipe attached to the outside tap is not going to water a whole field.

And what about pest control?  Keeping three chickens away from eight plants is one thing, particularly as there are four of us available for guard duty.  But I can’t keep such a close eye on a big field.  What about all those birds that fly in to steal corn, unnoticed?  What about all the insects and slugs that I’d need to somehow keep under control?

And how many sweetcorn seeds would I need to buy so that I knew I would end up with enough sweetcorn to fulfil the supermarkets’ demands?  What if they didn’t all grow?

Once I start thinking about all of those things, the thing that comes to mind is fear.  Fear at the amount that I would need to think about, let alone do.  And what if it didn’t work?  What if I couldn’t sell my sweetcorn to the supermarkets, or even to the locals at a giveaway price?  Would getting my field, and tractor, and new watering system, and new pest controls be a huge risk?  Is it a risk that I’m prepared to take?  Particularly as sweetcorn takes a few months to grow!  Lots of immediate costs but no returns straight away!


Do you know….I think I’ll stick to my eight plants.

It’s far safer, and more comfortable.

Or is that defeatist?

If I really want to supply sweetcorn to the supermarkets, then eight plants isn’t going to cut it.

I need LOTS of plants, a whole field of them in fact.

Scary that may be, yes, but if I want to be the supermarkets’ supplier of fresh, local sweetcorn, then I’m going to have to make the leap and get the field, the tractor and a bigger hose!

Which brings me neatly onto your business?  Do you want to grow – or stay where you are?  I get asked all the time what marketing strategy will grow a business, and whilst marketing will undoubtedly help, it’s not the only thing that matters.  In fact, maybe it’s not something you need to consider right now at all.

Maybe it’s your systems you need to look at – is your computer network, or your phone network or your broadband connection big enough and substantial enough to cope with a leap to the next stage of your business’ growth?  Do you have enough staff to deal with your new future clients?  If not, where are you going to put your new staff?  Do you need to move into an office?  Or into a bigger office?  Do you have someone to trouble shoot problems and issues?

With your marketing, do you need a sharper, clearer message?  A better typeface?  An updated and stronger brand identity?  Are you clear on the clients you want to attract – the ‘locals’ or the supermarkets?

But more importantly, what about your mindset?  Are you thinking “veggie planter extraordinaire…and I’ll single handedly deal with those chickens” – or are you thinking like a farmer?

More than anything, it’s your mindset and where you’re ‘at’ in your head that will hold you back.

Tackle that, and no amount of chickens, pests, watering systems or fields will get in the way of the growth of your business.

If you would like to see the growth of your business propelled forward, call me now for a no obligation chat on 01452 223306 about my consultancy and business growth programmes and find out how I can make a unique difference to your business.

Dedicated to your success as always,
See you next week,

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