Week 4

IMG_2575Tonight was week 4 of our business class...another great learning experience.Class tonight spurred some deeper thinking about the future of the nursery.  Since week 1,  this class has been forcing us to consider our dreams and hopes for the business, and actually put them into writing.We started the class by reading our elevator pitch.  The feedback on that was very helpful. We are not supposed to be selling our products, we are supposed to be leaving the customer wanting more.  After we read ours, someone said, "I'm sold! I want to know more!"  Comments like those help make us a little more confident that we are doing the right thing.The guest speakers were a young couple who own a lumberyard in a small town nearby.  They talked about purchasing their lumberyard 7 years ago, and how they have worked to improve their sales and business. They expanded into real estate and now have investments in apartment buildings in several towns in Iowa.  A few things I picked up from their little presentation:1.  It was inspiring to have a young (our age or younger) couple who were in a similar boat years ago.  They were a business succession, and they bought an existing business from an owner who was retirement age.  They wanted to expand the business and improve sales, and they did it. Made me think we can do it too.2. Their growth has made us think about what we want our growth to be.  We have no idea what the nursery will morph into in the following years.  Would we want to get into something like real estate, or expand into other areas of the nursery industry?  At this point, I think we are both focused on keeping it family oriented and small.  We don't want to be millionaires. We just want to be comfortable and happy.  Pretty exciting that we both have the same feelings about this.3.  We related to them because they were a couple doing this together.  It sounded like she did most of the accounting and he did most of the business ordering and business growth.  I think we will have a similar operation, our strengths and weaknesses seem to balance well.4.  Your contacts help you grow.  Most of their growth opportunities came out of meeting with their contacts for other business deals. We got 2 contacts tonight: one of our class mates does retirement investing and gave us his card after class, and another of our classmate's dad is a CPA in town.  A great place to start for building our "team."Just being in the class has exposed us to many things.  We are slowly learning the business "lingo" such as "top-down sales", "in the black" or "red," and talk about "the bottom line."  Business is a whole new world for both Dave and I.  And the nursery business is foreign to me.  Looks like the next few years are going to be a foreign trip into a whole new world.