I spent the last few days visiting some vineyards and chateaux in the Bourdeaux region with a friend of mine who is a wine distributor in Ireland. Truthfully, I was along just for the pure fun and enjoyment, while my friend was working – tough I know!
However, I was reminded of some valuable lessons for my own business amidst all the fun and enjoyment. It is probably one of the great romantic dreams of going to France and starting to have your own little vineyard and you can just see that label with your name on it. Not sure that Premier Cru Murphy has quite got the right ring to it! But you get the idea!!
So, what were those lessons I was reminded of?
- You must take a long-term view. Between the planting of the vine and producing a bottle of wine to sell is likely to be at least 5 years and in most cases significantly longer. That is a long time to wait and never was the saying “no such thing as an overnight success” to ring more true than here. The nurturing and attention to detail over that period is extraordinary.
The challenge to me is: do I nurture and invest enough time and effort into the future business as much as I do with the current clients? Do I give up too soon if I don’t see a quick return on my time invested? If the answer is “Yes” then what will I do differently?
- Attention to detail is paramount. I found this fascinating. The precision with which they work is incredible – from the temperature in the storerooms to the wood it is stored in, from the hygiene of their premises to the cleaning of the vats. Everything is measured and recorded. Every step that is captured, noted and reviewed.
Do I take the same care with every aspect of my businesses? What impact would it have on my business if I recorded every single activity and then assessed its value or otherwise?
I suggest I would make some changes if I did. I intend to review everything in my business to really analyse where it adds value. Am I doing some things because I started them and now don’t want to stop? Worth a look!
- Passion is evident and contagious. To listen to the people showing us around you could not help but be engaged with their passion and love for the product. It was truly contagious. Interesting to note that none of those we met were owners – they were employees, and I would guess in their late twenties or early thirties.
I am not even a wine drinker but I was enthralled by their passion and excitement. They spoke in a manner that made you feel that they “owned” their role and that what they did really contributed to the overall business – and it did! In my mind, bottling that energy is more valuable than the wine!
Are all our people as passionate and excited about our business? If not, what will we do about it – because as leaders that is our job! These people we met truly wowed us – and we are not even customers, at least not yet!
Is that what customers and potential customers experience when they come in contact with our businesses? What are we doing to ensure they do so that someone like me who comes in contact with your business for the first time would be prompted to write so glowingly about the experience as I have? What difference would that make to your business? My guess is – a lot!
Again, what will you and I do differently to make this happen?
Isn’t it interesting that my trip to visit the beauties of the vineyards and their elegant chateaux, and to learn about their wines, would challenge me to look at how I run my business?
Was it the first time I asked myself these questions? Obviously, the answer is no – but it has been a while since I really reflected upon them.
This beautiful trip to the vineyards has been of huge value to me. It has challenged me to take a litmus test of how I measured up, and now I will make some changes in my own business. That, at least, is in my control.
What will you do? Love to hear!!
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