Three Reasons Most New Businesses Fail

Reasons for Failing How About Cash Gardening?

1 Money: Starting costs too high; Starting costs as low as $50. not enough money coming in.

  1. Lack of experience or ability. Square foot gardening is so easy a beginner becomes an expert in no time at all.
  2. Lack of business the first year. This method assures a continuous profit before you start; your customer will buy everything that you can raise.

Most people say at first, "But I've never run a business. I wouldn't know the first thing about how to go about getting started, how to set it up, or even how to keep it going."

Not true. All of us already run businesses — our own personal businesses, our personal lives. You buy things every day, paying in cash or by check, you charge things and pay when you get the bill, you sit down once a month to look over all those bills and decide which ones to pay now and which ones to hold off on, you mailorder clothing or gifts, you plan meals in advance, you even make big decisions about vacations, make the reservations and then carry them out. And whether you're on a vacation or a quick jaunt to the local shopping mall, you're continually making decisions on where to go, whom to buy from, who can give you the best service or products for your money. Every time you eat out, you decide on where to go, what to order, whether the bill is correct, how much to tip. Don't tell me you can't handle a small part-time business. You're doing it right now.

What's Involved

Now thatyou're no longer worried about being qualified, let's go on to the next question: what's really involved in a part-time busi-answer is there are a lot of things, just as in daily living. If you look at each one separately, one at a time, they're just a lot of simple steps. When you put them all together, they become the daily functioning of a business. Even initial establishment is nothing more than a step-by-step process of recognizing, evaluating, deciding, and then acting. I'm going to take you through each step of the cash gardening business. By the time you finish this book, you'll know all there is to know about it. You'll just have to make slight adjustments for your area, your situation, and your desires.

Ask yourself these questions:

" Do I really want to earn extra cash?"

"Do I enjoy gardening?"

If your answers are "yes," the rest is easy. You have to be serious and willing to apply your full talent, interest, and enthusiasm. Of course, there are bound to be some slow or discouraging times when you feel like giving up, and for these you'll need that "stick-to-itiveness," some determination to get over the rough spots.

Any business requires time, too, and you must be willing to give it that time, especially at first. There will be times when everyone else is off playing and you have to tend to business. At these times, try to remember it's not really business, it's just your old hobby, gardening. You will want to keep adequate records, invest the necessary time on a fairly regular schedule, and be determined to do a good job.

Good Boss Needed

Whether you can be a good boss, much less your own boss, is a question you'll soon be able to answer. As the boss (that's you), you'll want to insist your employee (you again) is on time, productive, knowledgeable, honest, diligent, friendly, and trustworthy. If your employee isn't, it's your job as boss to point them out and to help train that person to do better. Of course, the first step is to recognize that there's something lacking before you can point it out or help correct it, and sometimes that's very hard when you're dealing with yourself. We don't often recognize our own flaws. They just don't seem to show up in a mirror. You have to be constantly on the alert. One rule of thumb is to ask yourself, "If I hired someone and this is what he did, would I be satisfied?"

WHEN TO START

A good thing about the cash garden business is that you can start at any season of the year.

If it's winter, you should plan, organize, buy supplies, and sign up your buyers.

If it's spring, you should do all of the winter steps and start planting.

If it's summer, you should gradually convert your garden to a cash garden, and plan on going bigger next year.

Fall is the best time to get your soil and new garden layout ready. It's also the best time to sign up buyers.

Now is the time to decide how much time and energy you want to devote to this new business, and how much space you have available.

Is It Worthwhile?

Are you asking yourself, "Will it all be worthwhile?" The answer, without question is going to be "yes." Just think of the pride and self-satisfaction you'll have in becoming your own boss—something everyone desires but few actually accomplish. The rewards in self-esteem alone just can't be measured. It's a chance that doesn't come along often; for some people, not once in a lifetime. And the best part is that you don't have to quit your job. No big financial risks, no moving to another state, none of the headaches normally associated with a career or job change. Yes, it will all be worthwhile—if you want to gain control over your financial life by producing some extra income, if you're willing to be your own boss, be independent, and shape your own future. And you'll also be helping others by providing freshly grown, succulent vegetables—a direct link to a better and healthier way of life.

People will even live longer because of you. That's really a worthwhile accomplishment. Regardless of your present situation or circumstances, if you want to have your own business. you will succeed. In fact, you can't miss.

Making Decisions

In starting any home business, certain factors must be considered. The most basic is choosing a type of business you think you'll enjoy, as well as one you're going to be good at.

Next, you must consider how much free time you have, whether there is a market for your product, how much competition you will have, and what you need to get started. Will you have to rent a store front to sell your product or will an ad in the paper suffice? Can you work at home or will you have to travel? How much money will be needed to get started, and will you lose it all if the business isn't successful? Will you need help, special services, permits, supplies? Is it a year-round or a seasonal business, and how does that tie in with your schedules and preferences? You wouldn't want to start a wreath business if you like your December holidays free for family activities, or a pool-cleaning business if you like to travel during the summer.

The perfect business would be one that is inexpensive to start, has few government regulations or involvements, is easy to run, and brings top dollar for your product (which, in turn, should have little or no waste or leftovers, and be easy to sell). The most convenient location is at or near your home. This new business should not require lots of special or expensive equipment, staff, or personnel, but should be something you can operate out of your own home. If it is suitable for a majority of the population and will work just as well in any location or state, all the better.

The Perfect Business

I can't think of any home business better qualified than the cash garden idea. Let me tell you why. First, you can start right in your own backyard. Even the smallest of yards will do. Next, it requires little equipment and materials. You probably already have most of them, or can borrow or rent them very cheaply. You can even get such items as harvest baskets and equipment for free if you know where to ask (see chapter fifteen). You'll have the ideal product to sell, as fresh produce is in big demand and will command top dollar. I'll even explain how you can charge full retail price while others are getting wholesale or half price, and I'll show you how to avoid waste.

Backyards like this one offer ample space for cash gardening.

The cash garden is a business almost anyone who loves to garden can run. No special skills or talents are required, and since you're working at home, you don't need to buy extra clothes, travel, hire a babysitter, or worry about your pets. You can hear the phone ring (if you want to) or catch the mailman when he comes. You'll even be home when that plumber finally arrives, but now you can get something done while you wait for him.

Little Red Tape

Persons who start businesses dread looking into the federal, state, county, and local government regulations. You'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there will be little, if any, red tape, rules, regulations, or government interference connected with a cash garden. You'd think that because you're raising food, that all the authorities would try to get into the act. But unless you've got a really big business, or are shipping across state lines, or are involved in the processing, freezing, or product-making aspects of food, no one will probably bother you.

Just to make sure, call your local county agricultural agent or the county Extension Service. Be right up front with them. Tell them exactly what you plan to do, and ask if there are any regulations you should know about, or permits that might be required. While you're

8/Cash from Square Foot Gardening

talking, ask for a list of varieties of vegetables that do well in your area. The county agents are there to help you grow vegetables successfully. They spend most of their time with farmers, but should be happy to give you all the advice they can. Take down the name of the person you speak with and ask if you can get back to him if you have any questions.

This was a lawn until we established eight 4 X 12-foot beds

Your Customers

You may have the greatest idea going, but it won't succeed unless someone buys your product. The bottom line is this: do you have a market for your fresh produce? Your next step must be to think about customers and markets.

There are many ways to sell your produce, from selling to your neighbors who stop by (they could phone in an order ahead of time, but then they don't get tosqueeze the tomatoes) tosetting up a table at the weekly farmers' market. However, I'm not going to recommend either of these ideas. Your market is so important; it can easily mean the difference between success and failure. I've devoted a chapter to this subject, and when you read it, several ideas will probably appeal to you. My advice is to consider the choices very carefully and to select a market only after a great deal of study. You want to be successful, and your market will be the single most important factor in reaching that goal.

Backup Needed

Consider your support system before you start your business. What happens when you can't be there because of work, vacation, illness, or some other emergency? Can you count on a neighbor, friend, or family member to help out? There will always be a few people looking over your fence, at first wondering what you're up to, and later telling you how you could do it better. Why not press them into action when the need arises? Ask them if they'd come over to water or cover the plants should you need help, and show them how to do it so they'll be prepared. You may never need their services, but better safe than sorry.

Talk It Over

I would suggest that you talk over your ideas with a spouse or gardening or business friend and see what he or she thinks. You'll probably hear a lot of reasons why you shouldn't start such a business, or why it won't work. Don't let that discourage you. Think through the ideas and objections, determine whether they have any validity-then go ahead and start your business. If you're truly determined to work hard and if you follow my advice carefully, you can't miss. Your business will be a success.

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