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Soil Nutrients: Composting

Updated: May 28

A great farmer who focuses on growing good soil knows the power of compost. Composting involves recycling organic waste into valuable fertilizer that enriches the soil. Farmers refer to this as "black gold."

Farmers who don't appreciate the value of composting to grow good soil hurt themselves and undercut their fruitfulness. They discard and throw away the refuse of their pruning and weeding.

Composting in business means learning from both bad and good decisions, experiences, and outcomes in business.

A case in point involves a time when we were buying out the majority owners of a company and needed to borrow extra capital. Just before the buy-out, our bank got a new president. For decades, we had always paid our loans timely and early. But the new bank president treated us with disdain.

Without informing us why, he calls us in to meet with him. We are prepared for a social "howdy" meeting. But it is an ambush. He has studied years of our company audits and drills us with questions that we are in no way prepared to answer competently.

He blindsides us. He floors us. He is prepared; we are not.

What can we learn from this experience? Composting involves using these experiences to enrich our soil. From that experience comes two great guiding lessons for us:

  • Always overprepare

You never know what is coming! If your banker wants to meet with you, overprepare. ALWAYS overprepare for customer presentations, vendor reviews, employee reviews, etc. As Ben Franklin said, when we fail to prepare, we are preparing to fail.

  • Always have two bankers!

Always have a business relationship with more than one banker. Consider banks you would enjoy having a relationship with and allow them to call you their "customer." Start small. Make sure you have deposits in their bank. Get to know the decision-maker at that bank. Find out how they do business.

These two lessons flowed from being ambushed by our banker that fateful day. You might be interested to know that another bank in town jumped at the opportunity to serve us. AND we paid off that twenty-four-month loan in one hundred days.

We composted that terrible experience to enrich the soil of our business.

Why don't entrepreneurs compost more? When companies don't make a profit, bless their communities, and advance their purpose, it is often because they don't learn from their decisions, experiences, and outcomes. They are not "composting."

Entrepreneurs and companies don't compost for two main reasons: pride and an unwillingness to evaluate.

  • Pride

Learning from our mistakes requires a measure of vulnerability that is often absent in driven entrepreneurs. An unwillingness to be vulnerable is a symptom of pride. Entrepreneurs who are too proud to admit their mistakes cannot recycle the bad or the good for benefit. Sustained success requires the courage to be vulnerable in the workplace.

  • Unwillingness To Evaluate

Great composting requires holding high the importance of evaluation. Great coaches of sports teams do the hard work of recording and evaluating their team's play. There is no substitute for making the time for evaluation. Great entrepreneurial composting involves assessing the bad and the good decisions, outcomes, and experiences. We don't have time, is an excuse that great entrepreneurs never use when it comes to evaluation.

Composting is a must for your business to make a profit, bless the community, and advance its purpose!

Harry T. Jones

P.S. Here at Cultivating Impact, we are currently screening companies that generate between one and one hundred million in sales to partner with.

The top values we consider for partnership are:

  • Is your company profitable?

  • What are the top three values in your company?

  • How are these values demonstrated in your company culture?

Contact me at

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