As small business owners there is no shortage of grand ideas and plans. Trust me when I tell you that my lists have lists. It's true. Ask anyone who knows me and they will attest to me always having a notebook and a pen in hand, adding to or crossing off my list du jour.
I'm lucky in that I get to do this business with my husband of 34 years. Call us crazy, but it works. One of the things that helps in deciding which ideas to pursue and which to leave on the drawing table is to ask three questions - What? How? and Why? It's actually a terrific method for deciding lots of things, both personal and professional.
Take our decision to offer our already very successful in-house workshop series out on the road.
What? Offer our attendees an opportunity to learn something new, make something fun and enjoy food and adult beverage at the same time.
How? It seemed rather a natural to partner up with other local business owners to the benefit of both businesses. We offer our customers an opportunity to be entertained and engaged in an activity while enjoying a cocktail and maybe a bite to eat. The food and beverage venue gets new clients who may have not otherwise frequented their establishment.
Why? This is where the answers get longer because there are just so many "why"s!
1) How many times have you looked at your partner and discussed "doing something" but didn't just want to go to a movie or out to dinner again. Our workshops have always offered something new to do, but by taking them out on the road, our attendees can enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine at the same time. Couples can hang out and experience a grown up "play date".
2) Partnering with other small businesses is for the common good. We have always had a philosophy at The Secret Garden to join up with others whenever possible. If we don't all stick together and help each other out, who will? If small business doesn't succeed, then all we're all left with is Costco, Walmart and the likes. And while my family will certainly no doubt shop at both of those places several times this year, is that the only choice I want? Definitely NOT!
3) Being around plants is healing. Literally. Science has proven again and again that just having your hands in the soil is actually beneficial for your health. Having plants in your life reduces stress, improves your air quality, helps you sleep better, improves concentration, etc etc etc. Now I know these facts already and well, let's just say that the last time I watered my houseplants I counted 42!
Maya Angelou was quoted as saying "When you get, give. When you learn, teach". I take that second part quite seriously. By taking our workshops on the road, we will be reaching more people. By making the workshops fun and engaging (with a nice cold beer) we'll get some involved that otherwise wouldn't have attended. By helping people learn more about plants and how to care for them properly, then they can be successful in caring for their plants. Then maybe they will continue to expand their knowledge and in turn help others see the value and importance of having plants in their lives.
I know it's a lot. But that's the major "Why". Because Plants Heal and because I'm saddened every time I hear someone say "I have a black thumb and I can't keep anything alive". So we're taking our show on the road, as they say. Terrarium Nites and Suds & Succulents events will be popping up in restaurants, breweries and wineries near you. So keep your eyes open and watch us bring "plant shenanigans"** to people all over town.
See you soon,
** fabulous term borrowed from my friend Warren Keller at Warrens Garden in Lompoc.