3. Plan, plan, plan
“With the fynbos, because it is a product that grows very slowly, it takes us about a year and a half to make a final product,” said Goliath. “Now you can imagine what influence it has on cashflow.”
Furthermore, plant nurseries can be a risky, unpredictable business influenced by a number of environmental and external factors. “Like this year, the cold came too early,” explained Goliath. “So the fynbos started to flower too early.”
For this reason, Goliath says planning and thinking ahead is vital and one of the biggest lessons she has learnt in business. “You can’t plan enough, and there have been times when I thought I have planned enough and then I haven’t.”
4. Invest in your staff
Goliath believes that the best way to invest in your business is to invest in your staff. “My staff is my most valuable asset to the business.”
Therefore, Goliath and Jefthas have sent their staff on skills development and leadership courses. “So we have started to build the capacity of our staff and if you do that you are actually building the capacity of your business.”
“Believe in your staff; that is very important,” she continued. “Give them a sense of responsibility towards the business.”
5. Go the extra mile for clients
Goliath remembered how a bad quality fertiliser destroyed the plants they had been contracted to grow for a big client, and they lost a lot of money. In situations like this, Goliath said that they could refund the deposit and apologise to the clients, but the best option would be to buy the plants from another company. Why? Because they told the client they would have the order ready for them. “It’s your loss, but still you show your client that you will go that extra mile for them.”
According to Goliath, making sure that you offer value for money is one of the ways to stand out from your competitors, but she says it’s more about showing clients that you have honest business principles.
“You know, you can always go much higher,” she contemplated. “If you look at your competitors and say ‘everybody is selling for R30, so let me also sell it for R30 or R32’. But actually if you do the costing you know it’s actually worth R20. So I think, for me, [good advice] would be to stick to that value for money because it also brings out that honesty.”
6. Be passionate, but profit-driven
Goliath, like most entrepreneurs, cited ‘passion’ as being an important driver for business success. However, she stressed that one also should have a focus on making profits.
“You must have a passion for what you do, but you must be profit-driven… otherwise you can actually be bankrupt sooner than you think… You need to survive in the end. You need to grow, and with that profit you can grow,” she added.