MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Useful Failures

In the afterglow of a can-do workshop, when everyone feels comfortable enough to explore inferior decisions I’ve made, someone will ask, “What have been your biggest business failures?” Failures don’t inspire, so I tend not to dwell on them. But they sure can be instructive. Here are my biggest “failures” from a lifetime of farming.

1 Not collecting payment right away. My mentor Allan Nation used to say this about being in the food sales business: “It’s good because it’s a consumable, and people have to keep coming back for more. It’s bad because you can’t repossess yesterday’s meal.” Truer words were never spoken.

The No. 1 reason businesses fail has nothing to do with their products or services; it’s their cash flow. Just because a venture is profitable doesn’t mean it’ll succeed. Money coming in

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