In his previous column, my colleague Chance Barkley spoke about the five well-documented stages of business growth. In general, a “successful” business is born, grows, matures, and then must either renew itself or die.

Dan Ovsey, a former editor of the Financial Post, writes that “Canada’s inability to improve its productivity levels to those comparable to other industrialized nations may be a deep-seated cultural attribute connected to the country’s history and culture of modesty, compromise, and most prevalently, risk aversion.”

In other words, we Canadians tend to be a little too conservative when it comes to spending money and investing in our businesses.

In my opinion, part of the problem is fear of the unknown. Whether it’s a farmer or a producer or processor, I constantly see clients wanting to get into value-add processing. They want to do something new and exciting but don’t know what direction to go in, and they can become discouraged easily.

Thankfully, you can avoid the pitfalls by changing the way you think about reinventing your business.

A common thought is that it’s too risky and too expensive to try something new. In fact, there’s no time like the present to go in a new direction. New opportunities present themselves each day. Do your research, make sure the numbers work, and go for it.

There are times when it’s ideal to make a leap into different forms of processing, like pulse flour or pasta production, but people are afraid to make the move because the headlines are always talking doom and gloom. It’s the nature of the media to cover world issues from a negative standpoint. Think more constructively and you’ll see that there are many new opportunities out there.

There’s a tendency to sometimes think that getting into value-added processing will distract me from my main business. In fact, value-added processing can serve as an important second source of revenue that can help strengthen your business during a downturn and create work for you and your employees.

Often, a missing part of the equation for many businesses is that they don’t rely heavily enough on their equipment provider to provide good insight. This may be because they haven’t found the right provider who can act as a partner to guide them through the process of getting into value-added processing. That provider can help you invest in your business and employees to ensure success. Stay tuned to find out how that process can work.

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