As with all new ideas, the only way to find out is to do it. But where do you start?
Of course, the idea of work is subjective. My ying side reminds me gently that for it to ‘work’, all I need to do is nurture an environment that encourages my orchard to grow and flourish bountifully, naturally.
Kind of like how you can’t make grass grow by pulling it…
My yang side, however, screams at me to get a fucking grip and realise that for it to ‘work’, it needs to make me a living – yes, the money kind.
So here I stand, once more trapped between opposing ideas, yet somehow whole and united – holding an unpaid gas bill in one hand and a cup of tea in the other.
Who can say which is right? In the end it’s all a matter of perception. But, for the purpose of these initial stages of the project, to ‘work’ means to make enough money to buy more cups of tea with.
Is My Orchard Viable in This Context?
As with all new ideas, the only way to find out is to do it. But where do you start? How can you truly know if your idea is a viable business unless you actually roll your sleeves up and try it?
You can’t know for sure, but you can do other things that will help you make the best guess possible.
First thing is to back yourself. Believe in your idea, even if no-one else around you does. Creativity is, afterall, the action of bringing that one idea that only you could think of and everyone else laughed at into reality.
And, once you’re topped to the brim with unflinching self-belief and determination, here’s three other things you can do to validate your insanity.
Step One: Find Out If There’s Market Demand
Do people want what you’re thinking of selling? It’s such a simple idea but it’s so easy to forget in all the excitement of a new project.
If you build an Almond Orchard, are people going to want to eat your ‘Almonds of the North’? To find out, you’re going to have to ask some questions and do some digging. I’m gonna give full disclosure on all the things I’m going to do to assess my own market needs in one of my upcoming videos.
If you find there’s market demand, great! Onto step two.
If you find there’s no market demand, reassess, readjust but never give up. As Bruce Lee once said, “be like water, my friend,” and go round the problem – maybe make “Almond Oil of the North” your product instead, or Almond Butter…
…or grow something else!
Step Two: Is There an Existing Route to Market?
If you think you have a great product and people want it, how are you going to get it to them? Farmers’ Markets? Online? Local Suppliers?
Can you get it to them at a price they’d be willing to pay? How often? What regulatory factors are in your way?
Really try to understand all the possible ways in which you can share your wares to your customers.
Step Three: Develop a Business Case Around Your Idea
I know. I’m sorry I’m overwhelming you with fun topics today! I count at least three bingo lingo words in this one piece (market demand, route to market and business case) and you have my eternal apologies for killing your mood with bingo bullshit & business buzzwords.
What I’m trying to say here is once you think people want what you’re selling, and you know how to get it to them, the next thing you need to do is expand on your ideas and look at the bigger picture. How much is it gonna cost you to set-up, how much to advertise, how much to insure, how much to grow, harvest and so on.
This is the part where, if you’re looking to convince friends, family or financiers to help you get started with a loan or gift or whatever, you’ll have to show them your idea.
I’ve found from my own experience that people are much more likely to get involved if they can see and understand things in a straightforward way eg. will you get more money out than you put in?
Case in point; if I pitched you my ying version of what would make this orchard ‘work’, you’d probably run a mile!
Yet, The Frogs Will Spawn. The Grass Will Grow
Whether this turns out to be a viable business idea or not, you can be sure that next spring, when all of this is either in full swing or a distant memory, the frogs will spawn once more.
And they will eat snails.