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The Power of NO

“I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.”
–Albert Einstein

The word “no” is considered to be a negative word. But the context in which it’s used is important. I have found “no” to be a stepping stone on my journey, not an obstacle. I use that word to carry me over the obstacles I encounter.

In sales, you always expect to hear a certain number of “no’s” before you hear a “yes”. Every time that “no” is heard, you have the opportunity to refine your sales approach. During a sales call, a “no” is simply a chance to learn more about your customer.

All of the times I heard “No, you can’t” from a supervisor was a time I was really asking myself, “Why don’t I do that myself?” The budget cutters and tight-fisted lenders have helped me be more creative in funding my businesses. The naysayers have been allies on my journey. They are the provocateurs that have prodded me to take the next step. So I express My Gratitude to them for their timely assistance, for without their help, I wouldn’t be getting “smarter & wilder & kinder & trickier”.

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The Gratitude Practice, Part 2

Last week I told you about my Gratitude Practice. I make a list every day about the things I’m thankful for that happened during the day. I really enjoy it, and it’s changing the way I look at things, too. As so often happens, just as soon as I started to get serious about this practice, something came up to challenge it. That type of thing used to make me very angry. I’ve come to see it as a sign of progress, though. It shows me that my thinking and/or my behavior patterns are changing to the extent that this irritating thing has popped up into my face because I’m different. The irritating thing doesn’t fit me anymore; that’s why it’s so irritating.
In this case, a friend of mine wrote a piece on Gratitude that said while it’s all well and good to make lists of what you’re Thankful for, how good are you at receiving Gratitude? If you can’t accept Gratitude from another soul, how can you be truly Grateful for your own Blessings? Receiving is as much a part of giving as the act of giving itself. In fact, some people have said that the act of receiving is an act of giving to the original giver. It’s really easy to say “Thank you” to someone and really mean it. Can you say “You’re welcome” with as much sincerity? What’s harder for me is when someone expresses their Thanks with effusive praise for what I’ve done. In the past (and sometimes still), I’m uncomfortable with the Thanks. But it’s important to accept and acknowledge the Gratitude that others have for your work. For the other person, they’ve expressed a gift of praise to you. Everyone likes their gifts acknowledged. And it’s important for us as the receiver, too. Aside from the good feeling, for an entrepreneur, it’s positive feedback on your product or service.
And just how Thankful are you? Do you say “Thanks” and then go on to the next project? Or do you take the time to savor that response, to let yourself simmer in the good feelings? If you can’t take the time to do that immediately, do it sometime during the day. Doing that isn’t an ego thing. It’s an appreciation. As Rob Brezsny, author of Pronoia is the Antidote to Paranoia says, “Don’t just count your Blessings. Name them, speak them, savor them, revel in them, and give Thanks for them.”
That appreciation is important. You see, Gratitude, in its true form, is Unconditional Love’s Pleasure. Being Grateful allows you to take Pleasure in all the random ways that Life is Good. AND you can enjoy the Blessings that others receive. I’m not sticking my head in the ground, ignoring tragedy. I’m simply giving the Good in Life the attention it deserves. And it deserves a lot more than it gets!

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The Gratitude Practice

A recent phenomenon on the internet is the Gratitude challenge. Essentially, someone challenges you to post 3 things you’re grateful for every day for 5 days. You’re also supposed to challenge 3 other people to also express Gratitude for 5 days. I got the challenge from a friend of mine on September 4. So I’ve started the challenge, and there are several things I’ve noticed.

The first is I don’t like the term “challenge” when asking someone to be Grateful. That just doesn’t sound right to me. I first “invited” people to share Gratitude. Since then, I refer to it as a Gratitude practice. Which set me to thinking about what a practice actually is. The definition that makes the most sense to me is “anything done repeatedly and with a clear intention”. That’s exactly what I set out to do; to express my Gratitude for the things that happen in MY LIFE. This leads to a second thing I’ve noticed about this practice.

If I’m only Grateful for the “Good” things that happen, I miss out on a lot of “Good” things. Many times, “bad” things have brought much ‘Good” into MY LIFE. So if you visit my Facebook page, you may see me refer to some things that don’t seem so good. For example, I recently got very frustrated with a Yoga teacher training I’m participating in. Even the smallest thing set me off. It finally dawned on me that while I’d been a teacher for 20+ years, I hadn’t been a student in a rigorous learning environment in over 30 years. I simply had to re-learn how to be a student! To say this was a revelation to me is putting it mildly. So the “bad” frustration brought me to the “Good” realization of my changing roles. And that’s another thing I noticed from this practice.

My ego is really tied up in the roles I play. Being a teacher has been a calling for me; it still is. So when I realized have to step back from that major role, it really pissed me off. That’s where the aforementioned frustration came from. I’ve never really thought of myself as a person with a big ego. Letting go of the attachment to being a teacher has been a bit of a challenge. It’s forced me to look at my tendencies to be a workaholic. Identifying with the role of what I do has been costly to me in a lot of ways, especially when I’ve been self-employed. That’s why trying to create a life, not just a business has been so important to me.

I’ve also discovered something else. I’ve had a very transactional approach to Life. In other words, if I do this, I expect that. Life is all about cause and effect, sure. But I approached everything that way. I suppose that’s my entrepreneurial leanings coming out. But to treat everything as a transaction makes for a very pissed off Life. Ask me how I know that…

As for the Gratitude practice, I continued on after the initial 5 days of the “invitation”. Only then did the things I’ve mentioned start to come out. I started out trying to retrain my mind to see more of the Good things in MY LIFE. But as happens to me so often, something else really cool occurred. I found out more about myself. That’s never a bad thing.

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An Exercise in Creativity

I believe I create my life. One of the points of this blog is to share what I find out as I create this life I’m living. If you’ve read any of the earlier posts, you’ll have noticed there is a gap of several weeks between entries. That’s because I’m making a major shift in what I’m creating. When I started Threefold, it was with the intention of doing exactly what I’d done in NC Cooperative Extension, to be a change agent through teaching and consulting. I also had some ideas for food businesses that I wanted to investigate further. As so often happens, life had other ideas. To keep it short, here’s what I’m doing now. I’m expanding my business to New Orleans, Louisiana, creating a regional business instead of simply a local one. That’s taking a LOT of time and investment. There’s a steep learning curve, too. I’ll be sharing what I’m learning as I go.

This is really an experiment in creativity. I do believe I create MY LIFE. I believe you do, too. I didn’t hear much about that until I was married and in my early twenties. What I DID hear a lot about was responsibility. To be a good man, you did this. To be a good son, you did that. To be a good husband and father, you did this other thing. I suppose it’s the old Southern Protestant Work Ethic. You do all these things, and you’ll get what you deserve. That’s one form of creating your life I suppose. But it seems to me that you’re letting others tell you what to do, how to do it, where to do it, when to do it, and who to do it with. I never really liked that. I don’t think entrepreneurs like doing what they’re told. That’s why we don’t do well working for others.

But the expansion of a start-up breaks most of the rules I’ve heard, and frankly, many of the ideas I try to teach. So why do it? Several reasons; I love New Orleans, I love the food culture they have there, I love the entrepreneurial spirit that is growing there, I love the local food/urban ag movement that is thriving. I found out all of this when I visited last fall for a yoga immersion program. I’ve been practicing yoga for several years, and had met some folks from New Orleans. One of them, Sean Johnson, has a thriving yoga studio that has been rated the Best in New Orleans for 13 years in a row. He’s doing something right business-wise. As I said, I found out all about the exciting New Orleans entrepreneurial climate while I was down there.

The bottom line in this is I AM doing something that I hope you’ll learn from me. Your life is just as important as your business. A teaching/consulting practice is portable, so I can do business where I want to. I want to live in New Orleans. It’s that simple.

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Depression is a Life or Death Decision

I was as shocked as everyone else when I got the news of Robin Williams’ passing. I have been a fan of his since the “Mork & Mindy” days. It affected me for another reason as well. Some time back, I went through a very difficult time in my life. I faced the same depression that Williams did. And I came very close to making the same decision – to “leave early”. Obviously, I made a different decision, a different choice.

Let me say right here that I do not stand in judgment of Robin Williams. He was, no, is an amazing talent and a bright light in this world. His passing won’t change that. I don’t know what he was facing, or more importantly, thinking and feeling. Nobody does. So what I’m talking about is my decision to Live. Maybe that will help somebody else facing that same decision. I can’t think of a better way to honor Robin’s life. At least, I can’t think of a better way for me to honor him, or any other person who chose to leave us early.

I wrote in my journal once that depression was like a heavy, wet, rotting coat. It weighed me down emotionally and spiritually. It wasn’t that I didn’t care; all of my feelings were so numbed I couldn’t really feel them. And my general frame of mind was already pretty negative. In the previous 2 years, I’d had to shut down a business to avoid bankruptcy, had to quit a job to avoid being fired, screwed up my marriage so badly that it failed, had to sell the farm to prevent foreclosure, and in a fit of anger, quit the better-paying job that I’d gotten. They were all caused by my choices; no sympathy sought or needed. The depression affected all of the choices, though. And that’s a key thing to understand. Depression colors everything you see, everything you think, everything you perceive.

At some point in the journey, I was faced with a choice. Was I going to stay or go? One of the biggest decisions of my Life, and I was in no fit frame of mind to make the decision. I don’t think anybody suffering from depression is capable of making a decision like that rationally. I made the choice to Live by the Grace of God, the Love of my family, and the Help of my friends. Even with all that help, it was a close call. I got that help because I reached out to somebody and asked for it. It took me a long while to ask for that help. In fact, I laughed at the first person who offered to pray for me. It took me several years to believe that I was “good enough” for Grace. I know now that you don’t have to qualify for Grace. It’s there for all of us, regardless of our beliefs. I was able to make the choice to Live because I asked for help, even when I was sure I didn’t deserve it.

If you’re suffering from depression, know that somebody, somewhere Loves you. Even if they’ve passed on, they’re still here every time you think about them. Reach out to somebody. Talk to a friend. Ask your pastor, priest, or rabbi. Go see a therapist. But talk to SOMEBODY. Simply having somebody listen to you will help.

Start a journal, either paper or digital. You can buy a good quality composition book for $1.00. Write in it every time you feel the need. Say whatever you need to say, but get it out of your head. Pour out your anger & anguish on that paper, so it won’t fester in your mind. I’m on Volume 32, myself. And I’ve kept every one. Even when I think nothing has changed, I can go back and see just how much I HAVE changed from the person I was. But write it and burn it immediately if that’s what you need to do. It’s your journal. Write in it. It helps.

There are a lot of easy things to do that can help you.  Get out and move around. Take a walk outside. Get some fresh air. Spending time outside was one of the best therapies for me. Listen to uplifting music. Read positive books. Turn off the TV. Stay off the computer. Hang out with folks that make you feel better. Every one of these things helped me. They’ll help you, too. But they don’t take the place of talking to somebody about how you feel.

If you have somebody that you know that is suffering from depression, give them some Love of any kind. Even if it’s taking them a strawberry pie, dropping by to chat on a regular basis, or sitting with them without judging them while they drink themselves to sleep (which my father did for me). Encourage them to get help. Keep an eye on them. And “pray without ceasing”. However you do it, show them some Love. Trust me, it makes a difference.

And if they make the decision to go, don’t be angry with them. Love them. Remember them. Mourn them. Let them heal in your own memory and in the memories of others.

Send some Love to Robin Williams’ family. They need it. If you think of him in the next few weeks, send them Love again. They’ll need it then even more. Then send some Love to yourself. You need it, too. We all do.

 

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What Are Your Goals In Life?

I’ve been asked that question in some form or another for most of my life. Sometimes it gets asked in one word, “Why?!?!?” At least that’s the way people ask me these days. But that’s another post entirely. I’ve been looking at my life over the last 14 years, and I’ve come to some conclusions. One of them is that we are really confused about our lives. It’s nobody’s fault, really. It just seems to me we’ve let external institutions that were more concerned with power than life teach us (and our children and our children’s children) about life. I’m not going to rant about that; I think ranting is a waste of time. But it is good to be aware of those things.

I posted a piece on intentions versus goals a couple of weeks ago. In it, I talked about the studying I’ve been doing on intentions and goals. Intentions for me are “I AM” statements. Confident statements of the way I am in life. “I am a happy person.” To me, that’s an intention. It’s who you are NOW. Goals are different. “I want to be a happy person” is a goal, an actionable thing.

Here’s the thing that surprises me. One thing affects the other. And semantics seem to count, at least to your mind. Research is showing us that the mind is very “plastic”. You can literally change your mind. This can change your life. It’s not magic. It’s simply changing your perceptions of what you see, feel, and experience. We do it every day. Something happens that changes the way we look at someone or something, and all of a sudden, it ain’t so bad any more. Or it could be worse, but let’s just say it’s good. We can direct those perceptions by how we think, believe, and feel about things. Which leads us back to the intention or goal thing.

“I want to be a happy person.” That’s a goal. So go out and do the things that make you happy, and stop doing the things that make you unhappy. I realize the doing of this may be a little more complicated than the saying. If the car is broke down and the kids need shoes, the refrigerator is empty, and you don’t have any work, it’s hard to be happy (Ask me how I know that). But the concept is simple. It’s called acting “as if” you’re already that happy person. Help yourself out by creating or setting an intention for your desire to be happy. That intention is, of course, “I am a happy person”. If you’re doing this while you’re happy, you just turbocharged your goal. If you have to say it through clenched teeth, not so much. But it still helps. The mind doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between what we think and what we experience, which is both weird and exciting.

John Telford wrote in The Life of John Wesley, about a crisis of faith that Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, was struggling with. He talked to a Moravian minister about it. “ ‘But what can I preach?’ said Wesley? ‘Preach faith till you have it,’ said his friend ‘and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.’ “ Wesley followed this advice, which changed his ministry.

Did Wesley have faith when he first preached it? The account implies he did not. “I don’t have faith. I am unfit to preach.” That belief could have changed his life and the Methodist Church might never have been founded. His goal of “I want to preach faith”, became his intention; “I am faithful”. That intention changed his belief. That change in belief changed his life. Again, no magic, just a change of viewpoint. Did he take that conscious step of creating an intention? I have no idea. But that’s how the process works. Have a desire, create a goal, set an intention, put it out to the world, take action. How well it works for us today is up to me and you.

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Why do you want to work for yourself?

When I started Threefold Company, my education, consulting, and business creation venture, I spent a lot of time thinking about why I wanted to do this self-employed thing again. I think that’s a good exercise for any entrepreneur. Knowing why you want to do something could save you a lot of time and money. It’s where I’ve started for each of the businesses I’ve planned. That reason could be “I want to make money”. There are LOTS of ways to make money. Why do you want to work for yourself? This is no time for BS; be honest.

 

Here’s the process I went through. I just started writing down any reason that came to mind. I did that until no more reasons came to mind. Then I looked at each of those reasons, and started grouping together the reasons that seemed similar to me. Then I looked at the underlying emotion that went with those reasons. I like being independent, I like being creative, and I like giving back to my community. So how could I do those things? Teaching immediately came to mind. I’d taught for other institutions and I decided to do that as a freelancer.

 

As I’ve mentioned, I had no notion that I was a teacher, or was any good at speaking. Through one of those “happy accidents”, I discovered this latent talent for explaining things to folks in a way they could use in their lives. And a quote from Joseph Campbell, one of the greatest minds of the Twentieth Century said, “If you want to help this world, what you will have to do is teach people how to LIVE in it.” That’s become one of my mission statements; I teach people how to live in THIS world. Does that mean I have the secret to the Universe? I suppose the answer to that would have to be yes and no. There are some things I’ve learned that are helping me create the life I want. So that’s a yes, at least conditionally. But I’m not sure that there is any one secret to the Universe. And if I’m telling you something that somebody told me, it’s not a secret, anyway. So let’s not get bogged down on that.

 

As a part of that mental process, I developed the Campbell-inspired mission statement. It’s pretty broad. I created it that way for a purpose. Because the world is constantly changing. It always has changed, it is changing while I write this, and it will go on changing. That means that “THIS world” that I refer to in my personal mission statement, will always be changing. Flexibility is the key to dealing with uncertainty. By the way, I believe that uncertainty contains as much or more opportunity as risk.

 

As for my business mission statement, I went through a similar process. I’ve been a home gardener, a farmer, a nurseryman, a landscaper, and a garden center manager, so plants are a big part of my life. I tend to think in horticultural terms. So here’s what I created: “Threefold Company propagates ideas, plants those ideas in the community, and uses those ideas to prosper, and to share that prosperity.” From there it’s an easy step to a tagline of “Propagate-Plant-Prosper”.

 

Adapt my process to fit your decision making skills. Take some time to think about why you want to be an entrepreneur. You’ll be surprised at the answers, I think, and pleased at the end result.

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Homegrown Market Research

I’m just back from “Wild Herb Week-end”, the NC Herb Association’s annual summer conference in Valle Crucis, NC. It’s always a great event, bringing together a diverse group of folks who are interested in all things pertaining to the group of plants called “herbs”. . I’ve been going for several years, and I thought this was the best one yet! It takes a LOT of work to put that on, so I’ll start this post by thanking the Board of Directors of the NCHA, especially, Darlene Dimenna, President of the Board. Thanks also to all of the interns, teachers, and other folks that come together and celebrate the herbal community in NC.

 

I usually teach a “Business of Herbs” class each year, and this time was no exception. “Telling Your Story: Marketing for Herbal Entrepreneurs” was this year’s entry. The main thrust of the class was market research and analysis that you can do yourself. When I started my first business, there was no Internet to speak of, and market research took a great amount of time. So that meant small business folks normally didn’t do any research! Not a great idea, but that’s life.

 

Fortunately, there’s a group of sites out there based on all the data collected by the US Bureau of the Census. Here are two I’ve found useful.

 

Quickfacts is a page on the Census Bureau’s website that is a treasure trove of demographics. If it’s people you want to know about, you can probably find it here.  (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/37000.html)

AccessNC is a part of the Thrive in NC program developed by the NC Department of Commerce. You can do a more customized searching at that site. Here’s the link.

http://accessnc.commerce.state.nc.us/EDIS/demographics.html

 

There are more sites like that out there. But to use them effectively, you need to know what you’re looking for.  Ask yourself some questions. Where are my customers? Where do they live? Where do they work? Where do they shop? Where are my competitors? You should be able to answer these questions with data from these sites. They won’t cost you anything but some time and effort. The more you know about your customer, the easier it is to find her or him and tell that interesting story of your business!

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Good Intentions

I’ve heard a lot of talk about intentions all of my life. Everybody knows the saying about the road to hell being paved by good intentions. We always say when we forgot to do something,” I intended to do that”. Intentions don’t seem to count for much these days. But there are lots of definitions of the word “intention”. The on-line dictionary defined it as “A course of action that one intends to follow”. This may or may not lead to action. That’s the most common definition, and the one that has given the word a bad reputation.

Some folks confuse intentions with goals. Goals are oriented toward the future; intentions are more a part of the present. Goals tend toward “I want” or “I will” statements. Intentions are  a type of over-arching value, an “I am” statement.

There are metaphysical definitions as well. Carlos Castaneda said, “Intent is a force that exists in the Universe.”  Wayne Dyer, inspired by Castaneda, called Intention “a field of energy that flows invisibly beyond the reach of our normal, everyday habitual patterns.” Another definition I ran across is “a very clear, directed impulse of consciousness based on our deepest desires.” In yoga, setting intentions is a spiritual practice, a part of being present in a class or a home yoga session. Lots of New Age folks set intentions as a means of visualizing what they want.

While I won’t call myself an expert on intentions, I have drawn some conclusions on what intentions are – for me.  Intentions focus on what is of value NOW. An “I am” statement is very different from an “I want” statement. The phrase “I want” implies that I don’t have it. “I am” focuses my attention on right now. And right now is when I can do something. “I am successful” puts me in a positive, achieving frame of mind. “I am happy” creates a mindset that is pleasant and affable. Since my perceptions are formed in the mind, how I think about things is a great part of how I experience things.

Don’t dismiss this as “just positive thinking”. For one, positive thinking works. It works for everybody.  It just seems to take different amounts of time for different people according to external factors and internal beliefs. Second, intentions that are formed correctly for your life affect you, not the world outside you. Most people turn to some form of intention setting as a way to control a world they see as beyond their control. I know I did. But as Thoreau said, “Things don’t change. We change.” And amazingly, as we change, that outside world changes. It’s not magic. It’s perception. As Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

How you create your intentions, referred to as “setting intentions”, is an important part of the process. It’s not complicated, but should be done with an awareness of what you think is possible. For instance, if you think it just isn’t possible to be happy, you can start with the intention “I am willing to be happy.” Note the phrasing. It’s a NOW statement. If you can believe that and give it the time to imprint on your brain, one day you’ll find that you are willing to be happy. How long that takes depends on how long it takes to create that new belief. That time includes releasing the old belief. If you’re negative, as I have been, that can take a while. But the end result is worth it. Once the willingness is there, then you can set a new intention. “I am happy” is a great state of mind. Give that some time, and one day, you’ll realize, “I AM happy!” Keep at it. It will happen. It happened to me.

 

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How much is that tincture in the window?

This column first appeared in the NC Herb Association newsletter

How much is that tincture in the window?

As I mentioned in my last column, it often surprises me how often business owners price their product in a vacuum. By that I mean that they have no idea of how much it costs to produce their product.  As growers or herbalists, we spend so much time creating our product, we don’t feel we have the time to do the mundane stuff like calculating the “cost of goods sold”. But while the cost of a product has no relevance to most of your customers, it has a lot of relevance to you. Meaning, of course, you won’t be in business long if you sell your product for less than it costs to produce it.

So how do find out how much it costs to grow that plant or make that tincture or do a session with a client? You’ve got to do some homework, plain and simple. The first step is to find all of the costs associated with your product or service. It’s important to collect EVERY cost associated with an operation. Some of them are easy to see. The cost of seeds or plants, for instance. The cost of bottles and alcohol is fairly straightforward too. But some costs, not so much.  How much do you charge for your time and labor? What about the costs of things that don’t apply directly to your product, like the rent or mortgage for your place of business? Let’s look at those two things as illustrations for what costing is all about. We’ll start with the second, because it’s easier to do. Things like rent, utilities etc., are called overhead costs. They stay relatively the same each month.

Let’s say you have $1000.00 in overhead costs. If you plan to grow 1000 plants, or produce 1000 bottles of tincture, you should apply $1.00 of overhead to every piece. Easy, right? Likewise, if you plan for 100 one-hour client sessions each month, you’ll need to add $10.00 to the cost of each session to cover overhead. What you need to understand is that it’s the number of pieces you actually sell or the number of sessions you hold that counts here. If you only sell 800 pieces, you didn’t cover your overhead at $1/piece. And if you only have 50 client sessions, you’re coming up short. On the plus side, if you sell 1500 pieces or have 120 sessions, that all goes toward profit. So it pays to monitor your sales.

Now let’s look at the tricky part of costing – your labor costs. I think it’s tricky for a couple of reasons. If we’re talking your own labor, there’s a lot of ego tied up in it. “I’m special; I can charge what I want.” “Geez, I can’t charge $X for my stuff, I’m not so special” Please don’t take it personally; I’m speaking from personal experience here. But I’ve seen this over and over in the nearly 20 years I’ve been in business education. I’m not going to deal with those issues in this column. Just be aware they exist. But do try to make your costing decisions outside of ego.

The second reason is that your actual costs of production or teaching or consulting may be higher than the costs you can charge a client. More on that in a minute. The easy way to find out about labor costs is to ask somebody in the industry. You probably have some friends or a close colleague that’s been in the business. Ask them. Likewise, you can ask some of your potential clients. “What’s it worth to you?” The technical name for asking friends/colleagues/clients is a survey. That’s the best way to get some idea of pricing before operations start, because they’ll tell you quickly once you’re open for business. Again, you need to monitor this closely, especially if you are selling a lot of product or doing a lot of client sessions. Because you may be charging too little! Just as you get better at growing or producing or teaching or consulting as you do more of it, so you get better at business management IF you do more of it.

For many agricultural products, there are enterprise budgets. These are lists of estimated costs and returns for a specific crop. The dollar figures on an enterprise budget may be out-of-date, so check them for the year it was created. There may be some regional differences as well. California prices and agricultural practices may be different from North Carolina’s. But you can certainly use the budget format and lists of income and expenses. Dr.  Jeanine Davis has created some basic herb enterprise budgets at www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/herbs/ . She also has a spreadsheet already put together for your use.

Here’s a link to a paper on running a retail herb business from Virginia Tech: http://www.hort.vt.edu/ghvegetables/documents/Herbs/RUNNING%20A%20RETAIL%20HERB%20BUSINESS.pdf . It doesn’t have a complete enterprise budget, but does include some numbers on budgets and pricing.  I have yet to find an enterprise budget for making tinctures or salves, but the format is similar to the format for herbal plant production. But be aware that you’ll need to identify your own costs.

Let’s get back to an earlier question. What if you have figured out all these costs and it turns out you have a price that is higher than others in your business? That’s where lots of things come in to play. You could certainly try to match the prices of others. I think that’s a losing proposition for everybody. You won’t be happy and neither will your clients. You can try to cut expenses or be more efficient in your operation so you cut your price and still make money. Efficiency is good, but effectiveness is better. So how can you be more effective? That’s a question with lots of answers; too many for this column. Let’s concentrate on one; telling a better more effective story about yourself and your product. That’s called marketing, which, by the way is a LOT more than advertising. And that’s what we’ll talk about next column.

Start collecting your cost information so you can have a better idea of your pricing accuracy. You might be pleasantly surprised at how close you are to the right price for both you AND your customer!

To contact Jeff for more information, he can be reached at jrieves56@gmail.com .

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