If you planted a backyard garden, you’re likely benefiting from the seeds you once sowed. The harvest is plenty if you spent the last several months digging up the weeds, fertilizing the soil, and caring for your seedlings. You likely have enough tomatoes to make pasta sauce and shucked corn to freeze for winter months ahead. And, if gardening isn’t your thing, farmers (both professional and the backyard kind) are reaping the fruits of their labor.
For many farmers, August is harvesting season, and there’s no better analogy than farming to show how hard work, the right tools, and a bit of faith can help create something as magical and wondrous as in-season produce. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of toiling day in and out, of putting your nose to the proverbial grindstone, certain that one day all your labors will come to fruition. But this month, and the year’s harvest, reminds us to celebrate our successes and learn from what we’ve accomplished. It’s a chance to enjoy the fruits of your hard labor knowing that the product is all the sweeter for the hard work put into it.
Farmers are likely family business owners, too.
Supporting locally sourced food and farmers allows you to make an impact directly at home by celebrating and buying from members of your community. And isn’t that one of the beautiful benefits of supporting family businesses, too? Our communities are shaped by them, and it’s likely that you come across multiple family businesses daily that you could support.
As you drive by the local farmer’s market, consider the following ways that you could support a family business in your area:
- Evaluate where you purchase your goods. Are there local alternatives in your area that you could pivot your spending to support instead?
- Do you see a local family business working to promote their products or services on social media? Could you share their post to your network?
- Who do you know who could benefit from the value-adds that a family business in your area offers? Connections matter and word-of-mouth marketing is gold for family businesses.
Harvest time brings families together.
As we dip our toes into the harvest season and breathe in the last of the summer air, embrace the opportunity to come together as a family. Family and business are united in family businesses, so neglecting one only hurts the other. Family businesses should set aside time to enjoy a meal together, whether it’s a holiday-specific occasion or not.
As you celebrate your family by sharing a meal, consider the following ways that you could see parallels to your family business efforts together:
- Farm-to-table meals are reminders of honoring the process and the seeds that were once planted. A meal isn’t grown already packaged (even HelloFresh meals come from somewhere). Never forget the hard work your family has done to achieve the business success you celebrate today.
- Sometimes, you have to get your hands dirty and make something for yourself if you want to reap the benefits later. Like a farmer planting seeds, family businesses must do the same if they want to one day celebrate a plentiful harvest.
- Creating a meal is something families can be proud of putting together and eager to devour. The same can ring true for a family business. Collaboration can be invigorating as opportunities abound. Celebrate those moments and create opportunities for innovative discussions and solutions to be sown as well.
Caring for a family business and farming aren’t too dissimilar.
The tools used and the products you decide on all make an impact on the final result. Farmers meticulously tend to their crops, and similarly a business must cultivate ideas, products, and their employees in order to see success bloom.
In business having a plan is a crucial stepping stone to the entrepreneurial process; it’s difficult to know what to expect at the end of the season if you went into the process without one. How can you map your successes and your room for growth if you haven’t marked where you started, and where you want to end up? When you begin a family business, you start with a seed of an idea that you plant with hopes, dreams, and plans for what it can grow into. You research market tactics and strategies, seeking the most fertile soil that will promise the best yield, painstakingly tending to your seedling, careful not to hover too close in your determination to see it succeed.
As you’ve learned, a family business isn’t something you can do alone, and working together is the name of the game in both business and in farming. In each venture, nurturing growth is the first step to success, requiring an investment of time, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions. As you watch your seed take root and start to flower, you recognize the importance of fostering collaboration and that encouraging personal growth in a family business is key to bringing out the very best in a team. Successful growth not only looks like building a reliable network of loyal employees, but also loyal customers through continued success and the development of trust that makes up the foundation of any promising relationship.
Just as farming is contingent on the ebb and flow of the seasons, family businesses often face patterns and market fluctuations that, while they may not be predictable, often come and go in cycles. Embracing the need to pivot and learning how to adapt strategies to the changing “seasons” of the market helps you appreciate the positives while you have them, and to never take anything for granted. Family businesses can dig deep, pulling out the roots of the weeds and smaller plants that don’t serve them to fine tune their offerings and provide their customers with products and services that embrace their needs and their families with the support they deserve.