How Planting Tomatoes Will Teach You Vital Business Lessons

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Have you ever planted tomatoes?
There is a lot you can learn about a successful business from this crop.
Tomatoes are not only tasty, but they also have a lot of health benefits.
Here are four benefits
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Tomatoes can help fight the formation of free radicals which are known to cause cancer.  

A study of the Japanese population demonstrates that beta-carotene consumption may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
The fiber intake is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Tomatoes have fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. These all support heart health and prevent a heart attack.

My Kitchen Garden
A few years ago, I decided to start planting tomatoes every year.
Seeing my friend Tammy’s tomato farm, inspired me.  Tammy said she would coach me on tomato farming. 
I bought seedlings that were about 4 inches high. I spent a fortune on them, but I was confident I would have a good crop.
From the 15th of May, I spend the next three days planting my seedlings and watering the garden.
My garden looked beautiful and promising. I was so excited about the project.
On May 26th, it snowed.
Guess what! They all died.
I cried.
My neighbors were sympathetic and told me they felt bad for me.
However, one neighbor laughed so hard. She even told her teenage kids that my tomatoes had died.
Her three kids and the dog came to see the dead tomatoes for themselves.
They did not laugh at me as their mother had, they felt sorry for me.
They were nice kids.

Back to my Coach
I went back to Tammy and told her what had happened.
“Joyce, Joyce… in this area, you never start planting before June because there are chances it will snow, and all your crops will die.”
Taking Tammy’s advice, I decided to plant on the 5th of June the following year.
My tomatoes did very well. I went to the local farmers market and told them I would be supplying them.
Just before they were completely ripe and ready for picking, I had to travel to a conference for five days.
When I returned, my husband was so happy to tell me he had harvested the tomatoes and given every neighbor a kilo of tomatoes.
Oh no!
I could not get mad at him because I had not told him I was planning to sell them at the farmers market.

Unforeseen Challenges
The following year, I planted them the right time and told him not to offer them to his friends or the neighbors.
They were growing well but one day in July it rained, and they slowly began to die after the rain. I could not understand.
I ran to Tammy my tomato coach again.
Tammy came over and took a sample of the soil.
After a couple of days, she told me there were too many chemicals in the soil.
The neighbor whose backyard is next to my kitchen garden had spread lots of weed-killer on his grass. When it rained, the water carried it onto my kitchen garden. No wonder the soil suddenly had too many chemicals.

Place a Barrier
The next year, I got new soil and placed a barrier around my garden.
Even if it flooded, the barrier would not allow any water from the sides to get into the garden.
The tomatoes did well, and I happily sold them at the Farmers Market. People loved my tomatoes and looked forward to the next harvest.
They placed their orders even before the year began.
My dream had become a reality.

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How does tomato farming relate to your business?

1. If you have a dream, go for it.
My dream was to sell my tomatoes at the local farmers market.

2. Your business will fail the first, second or many times, but never give up on your dream.
If anyone tells you they began a business and never failed, they are lying.
Thomas Eddison created the first light bulb. Do you know how many times he tried before he succeeded?
Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?”
Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

3. You will face challenges. All entrepreneurs face them.
Learn to overcome them and not get discouraged.

4. People will laugh at or criticize you.
That is just human nature. Don’t allow it to discourage you.
My neighbor did not discourage me. Imagine if I was afraid of being laughed at -and gave up, I would have killed a beautiful dream.
Many successful entrepreneurs have been called crazy, but that never discouraged them. -Believe in your dream even if others don’t.

5. Get a mentor or coach.
A mentor can see your weaknesses and will guide you. If I did not have Tammy, I’d have given up -especially after the rain because I did not think about the chemicals in the soil.
A coach has been where you are trying to go; they understand the challenges, so they will help you succeed.

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6. Protect your business.
Be very protective over your business because not everyone will care for it. When my other neighbor was spreading weed-killer on his grass, surely he must have seen my tomatoes -but he did not care.
He was like a dream killer.
I had to buy a barrier to protect from his chemicals.

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7. Finally, as an entrepreneur, let your dream or business be a blessing to others. -My customers always look forward to my fresh sweet tomatoes.

Your turn, share the lessons you learned from planting tomatoes?

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