I visited a garden nursery in Bloemfontein, Free State, during the time of drought and water restrictions. The nursery was in good condition, meaning that the plants and flowers looked lovely but that was because the nursery has a borehole. But the bad news was that the water restrictions on residents in the town because of the drought had damaged turnover severely.
The impact on the garden nursery was huge. It was not possible to order the usual large intake of flowers for Spring. With the water restrictions customers were just not buying as they did during previous Springs. This meant that its plant stocks had to be kept low and their borehole water had to be used sparingly.
All that the nursery could do was to sell small amounts of plant stock to those residents and homeowners who had borehole water. The other thing that they were trying to do was to sell more succulents, which require very little watering because they get their moisture mainly from the air and are adapted to harsh, water-stressed conditions.
But there was a rainbow in the cloud. The business just had to sit tight and hope for the rains. Something gave them confidence and I’ll come back to that in a moment.
What would you do if your turnover was in a crisis?
Business doesn’t always run smoothly. Change occurs internally and externally. Here we have a garden nursery that is being hit by the change in the local environment. Experiencing a crisis like this tests your strength as a business person. You have to think unemotionally and rationally and try to predict what will happen. You are sitting with huge sums invested in stock, customer demand has been cut drastically in your best selling season and you still have the same staff and other overheads.
Business people in these times need to have a cool heads. Unexpected events can occur in this volatile economy that can set you back. The hungry, rapid jaws of competitors snapping at your business all the time. The gargoyle takers with their voracious, daemonic appetites are trying to gobble up anything they can for free. The takers don’t create or produce – they steal, confiscate and destroy. In such harsh conditions, a business person has to have a steady hand, calm head and strong heart.
Small business owners are givers – they give value to customers. They create, they produce, they deliver value. Ultimately, it’s all about creating value. If you can stay the course and keep creating value, things will eventually improve. The garden nursery I spoke about earlier knows that once the rains come and the water restrictions are lifted customers will come in their droves to buy replacement plants and flowers to rebuild their gardens.