The Art of Business, Website Design & Giant Pumpkin Growing

For those who don’t know, I grow giant pumpkins during the summer in my free-time.  These aren’t your ordinary Halloween, jack-o-lantern pumpkins but the ones you see on the news that are over 1,000 pounds.  Over the years we’ve had a lot of fun with the pumpkins including being on TV with Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, and Juliann Moore talking about the pumpkin.  Being quoted about the pumpkins in National Geographic.  And more newspaper articles and photos than I can remember.

One of the things that has always fascinated me is the complexity of growing a giant pumpkin.  My largest pumpkin was last year at 1,220 pounds.  At its peak, it was putting on 43lbs a day.  It takes a number of hours to grow something that big and even with the best laid plans and hard work things don’t always work at as you would like.

World-Class Websites & Businesses
pumpkin2014pixo.jpgManaging a business and building a world-class website is a lot like giant pumpkin growing in many ways.  Let me explain.  In giant pumpkin growing a good grower puts in contingency plans to bring about their success.  There are about 1,000 different things that can go wrong that can either keep your pumpkin from growing big such as the pumpkin splitting open on you due to fast growth, rot, disease, insects and the list goes on.  A smart grower does everything they can, through their experience and skill, to put things in place to mitigate risks and are prepared for when bad things happen or keep bad things from happening.  A good business manager does the same.   They anticipate issues before they happen and put contingency plans into place for when bad things happen so that they are quickly resolved with the least amount of damage.

A good website has the same things in place.  Daily backups of the website help ensure that if a server has issues a website can quickly be setup with little to no loss of business.  A good website design anticipates a website owner’s needs well into the future so site maintenance costs are reduced and future additions to the site can easily be made at the lowest cost possible.

Last season a local grower and friend got a “clone”/cutting of the plant that grew the world-record 2,009 pound pumpkin.  This clone was literally a piece of the plant that was rooted and kept alive all winter so it was the same genetics as the plant that grow the world record because it was the plant. 

My friend and I that next season had plans to pollinate all of our pumpkins with the pollen from that world record plant.  That plant we knew was special and we hoped to have seeds from those pollinated pumpkins that the following season would have amazing genetics that could produce for us even bigger pumpkins.   In the end, that didn’t come to pass. 

The Best Laid Plans
Like in business, pumpkin growing is all about timing and timing isn’t always on your side.  The clone plant was late in producing flowers so only a few plants ended up getting pollinated with the world-record pollen.  The plant that ended up getting pollinated was neither my friends plant that ended up producing a state record pumpkin that season or my 1,220 pound pumpkin that eneded up being the 3rd largest pumpkin grown that year.  One of the pumpkins that got pollinated ended up not producing any seeds.  The only other pumpkin that was pollinated was one of my pumpkins and it ended up producing the smallest pumpkin I’ve ever grown even though it was right next to the plant that produced my biggest pumpkin ever and was treated, watered and fertilized exactly the same.

Business and websites are often times just like giant pumpkins.  Recessions, employee changeover, changes in laws and loss of clients due to things outside of your direct control all affect your business.  New business strategies, social media strategies, new products and branding can affect your website overnight.  Both the business and the website have to be able to adapt and both should be interwoven into a single unit. 

Usually before talking to a client about what they need for a new website I begin by asking them about their business.  The website should be viewed as an extension of their business and it should solve specific challenges and have the ability to create opportunities and drive revenues.  The website should also be flexible enough to adapt to changing business needs and challenges.

Adaptable Business Websites
That is one thing that I love about Concrete5 content management system (CMS) websites, because with its modular design we can add functionality or reveal new functionality without a lot of cost or development time in most cases.  A few months ago a client was in a bind and had an immediate need to have ecommerce added to their site.  We were able to accomplish that in less than 6 hours, from beginning to finish, and had a great solution in place for them that we knew was going to work for them for years to come.  This solution also allowed them to manage most of the pieces of the ecommerce themselves without having to wait for a developer to do things for them and that is the kind of adaptability that any business owner should demand and expect from their website.

Who would have ever guessed in in a giant gourd were all of the answers to your business and online marketing needs?

For more information about this blog or Concrete5 please contact Jamie Johnson.