Is everything blooming and growing or do you have dead wood?

I was in my factory for almost 20 years and there had always been a cherry tree on the corner. In the spring it would burst into full blossom and over the next couple of months we would hang old CDs on it to keep the birds off the abundant supply of juicy, sublime, tastiness.

But last year something had changed; only a quarter of the tree had blossom, the rest was dead.

It got me thinking… My business had also reached a crossroads, and like the cherry tree, I needed to shed some dead wood to get back on track and bring the whole thing back to abundance.

We had also been evicted and had to find new premises.

Don’t get me wrong, things had never been better, well, apart from the impending move, but the cherry tree had made me question what the dead wood in my business was and what needed to be done to bring more abundance.

The move at first filled me with dread; 20 years is a lot of stuff to move. As such I’ve had to toss out a lot of dead wood. Believe me this has not been easy, lots of blood, sweat and tears were invested in the 100’s of 1000’s of pounds and time in R&D over the last 20 years.

But I guess that’s the key thing, it’s exactly that: research and development. The whole thing about it is just that: it’s risk for reward.

If you are not continually developing and trying new things then you will never grow. With that in mind I’ve just invested a huge amount of money in new equipment to grow the business into a new direction, but to do that I’ve had to cut the dead wood to get all the new stuff in.

But boy is it exciting!

But I guess that’s the key thing, it’s exactly that: research and development. The whole thing about it is just that: it’s risk for reward

Here’s the thing: if I didn’t cut the dead wood, even though the business was doing well, then just like the cherry tree, the dead wood would soon start to rot and in a year’s time the tree would fail.

Constant pruning of the cherry tree probably would have been the way to handle this, and I should have been more ruthless in my own business in cleaning out stuff that did not work earlier. If it had been my cherry tree, I would have climbed up and cut the dead wood as sections died. But alas it was not, and just like if you had a manager running your business, if things are not right then prune the bad stuff before the rot sets in.

So who is in control of your business?

Who is in charge of trimming the dead wood or pruning to keep the whole thing in check; moving forward and growing?

I know that developing new products or taking on new lines is scary, but believe me that unless you have an active R and D program, you are in regression.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to be filmed for television several times, but the common theme of those interviews was innovation; trying new things to find the winner.

But having one winner does not mean that it’s a winner for life.

As always, where a good idea exists the competition will soon jump on the bandwagon and prices will come down.

Most people worry about competition eroding the market, but in my opinion competition is the best thing you can hope for, not the worst; competition increases market awareness through advertising spend, thereby increasing demand. So instead of having the whole piece of a small pie, you end up with a smaller slice of a much bigger pie.

Over the years I’ve heard from loads of business owners who have not developed products because the competition would just copy the idea. One thing I can guarantee is that if it’s a good idea it will be copied, but if the market for that idea gets big enough then so too will the value of the business you build around it, irrespective of the competition.

I have always spent money developing new products when times were hard, and during the factory move, this was no different. With the excess trimmed, the factory move now complete, we are just about to launch the new product

Exciting times indeed!