Manage Your Business Like You Would a Tomato Plant

Anyone who has grown tomatoes successfully has learned a principle all business owners would benefit from applying. If you want the largest, sweetest tomatoes you gotta’ pluck off the suckers. Only by doing that will you direct the plants limited energy to where it can produce the best fruit. Business is no different.

Last week my blog was titled “The Cost of Opportunity.” In it I chronicled the dilemma I see so many contractors, and retailers, have with allocating their limited resources. Retailers can’t be all things to all people with minimum inventory dollars, and contractors who take on every opportunity never get ahead. The key for businesses, and tomato growers alike, is to pluck off the suckers, and focus, your resources. I promised to give you the top three principles on how we, as contractors and retailers ourselves, do just that.

Keep it Simple Stupid: There’s a million ways to skin a cat, or build a pond, but we focus on our 20/20 rule. 20 products, in 20 steps is the methodology we use to design, and install, water features. Everything from training our crews, to estimating jobs, is made easier with better results by keeping K.I.S.S. at the forefront of all we do!

Do Not give customers what they ask for…Give them what they want! When customers ask you for something, what they are really asking for is your professional opinion. If you don’t stick to your guns because you are worried about losing a sale (as most people are) you very often will regret doing the funky stuff people ask for! Remember, when you’re done, not only is this a “Joneses” water feature, but also an “ABC companies” one as well. Don’t experiment with your customers, but instead stick to your guns of doing what you know will work.

If you want to be successful in life, find someone doing what you want to do AND DO WHAT THEY DID. If you find someone out there who builds water features differently every time and is successful please let me know. And, if a retailer wants to make their lives easier they will find a brand whose philosophies they agree with and who supports them with their policies.

Designing your business instead of having your business design you is the most important business decision you can make. To do that, you gotta’ prune the suckers! Keep It Simple, stick to your guns, and follow the business plan of someone who’s doing what you want to do.


That’s what we’ve done with Aquascape. Hope this helps you do it with your business too.