The Business of Basil

Recently someone gave me a pack of Basil seeds for planting.  I was uber excited because I’d wanted to start an herb garden.  I planted the seeds with some random soil from the supermarket and watered as instructed.  A few days later we went on a weeklong family vacation.  Thinking that outdoor plants survive for a week without rain, I figured the basil would be ok.  After returning from vacation I began diligently watering my basil plant; but I still hadn’t seen a single sprout.  Realizing there was probably no hope for this plant, I dumped the seeds and soil and began again.  This time I used soil from the dollar store—I mean dirt is dirt, right?  Same deal—I returned it to a sunlit windowsill and watered daily.  After several days there was not one sprout!!!!  Knowing I couldn’t be this incapable of planting and growing basil, I spoke with a woman I know who grows her own herbs.  After telling her about my basil struggle she suggested that I re-plant, making sure the seed isn’t buried too deep under the soil.  Because she’s a pro, I took her advice and immediately re-planted, watering the plant daily.  Lo and behold—less than a week later, I had a sprout!  I now have enough basil to cook with!     

Many of our business endeavors are like my basil episode—experiments.  During these experiments, mistakes are identified and either corrected or repeated.  But just like in any study, consistency and diligence amidst error is key.  Maybe your love for baking prompted you to begin selling cakes so you decide to have a bake sale that ends up failing.  Now you try selling online to your social media audience, which yields better results.  Later, you decide to market your product to restaurant owners who want homemade cakes for their dessert menu—and jackpot!  Imagine if you had stopped at the failed bake sale, your now profitable baking business would have never had the opportunity to flourish.

We often hear that starting is the most important step in entrepreneurship, but let’s not forget the value in staying with what we start.  The start is usually exciting but once the endorphins of a new endeavor have dissipated, what will keep you going?  Failing is an action—not an individual.  When your business idea or strategy doesn’t work, scrap and re-work!  Maybe you didn’t have the right soil, and planted into the wrong foundation.  Maybe you didn’t water your “plant” enough, thus it never sprouted.  Or maybe you just need to ask someone who’s done this before and can share with you the one tip that will change your business for the better.  Keep going and your business will keep growing ;-)