California Investment Network


Recent Blog


Pitching Help Desk


Testimonials

"This platform is the best I have come across. The response has been consistently superlative, in both quantity and quality. Thank you for everything! "
Anthony L.

 BLOG >> Recent

Natural Business [Nature
Posted on July 17, 2014 @ 07:58:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Some business gurus will tell you that in order to succeed in business you need to work longer and harder than your competitors. Forget the 40 hr week, you should be working 60 to 80 hrs a week on your business at minimum.

The same could be said for being successful at farming. A lazy farmer is likely to be an unsuccessful farmer and it is the go-go-go farmer that is more likely to build a successful farming enterprise. They put in the long hard hours and that is why they are successful, or so the story goes.

Is it possible to be successful without all the work? Perhaps the excessive amount of work you are doing is causing you to be unsuccessful? Perhaps the excessive amount of work is telling you something about the viability of your business? If you have to work this hard to make a go of it, perhaps it is too much work?

There may be an alternative paradigm for growing a business rooted in green philosophy. That paradigm leads to a type of business called a Natural Business, by analogy with Natural Farming.

You can learn about this natural approach by reading the book The Natural Way of Farming: The Theory and Practice of Green Philosphy (1985) by Masanobu Fukuoka.

In this book, Masanobu espouses a different method of farming with the goal of letting nature do its thing on the farm and to intervene as little as possible. There is still lots of work to do in order to make the farm produce an income to support itself and its workers, but the work is of a different sort. Specifically, it does not involve 1) cultivation, 2) fertilizing, 3) weeding, and 4) pesticides. If you are growing grains, fruits, and vegetables, then not having to engage in activities related to the above 4 practices leaves you with some serious time on your hands in order to engage in other activities around the farm (like enjoying and connecting with it instead of always working it).

Masanobu's approach was to find methods of growing grains, vegetables, and fruits that produced a yeild yet did not require all the work we normally put into growing them. His not-so-hidden agenda was to demonstrate that by working with Nature instead of trying to control it through reductionist science, you were able to get comparable if not better yields with alot less work and a whole host of benefits that you don't get through a western science approach (richer soil, more biodiversity, healthier plants, clean water, spiritual connection, etc...).

There is a very deep vein of skepticism in the book about our ability to know the world through our mental models which is probably why it has not received the degree of serious study that it should have in philosophy, agriculture, and, I would argue, business. His critique of the pretensions of western scientific knowledge is one of the most devastating I have ever read. Forget Wittgenstein, read Masanobu if you really want to have your conceptual foundations rocked.

The skepticism, however, is critical to giving into the natural way of business. If you come with too many preconceptions and scientific theories about how things should be done (and there are no shortage of these), then you will not be looking for or attuned to the natural vibe of your business. That natural vibe is found by observing more and intervening less and seeing what happens. It is found by questioning whether you really have to intervene, whether the work is really necessary, whether things might just take care of themselves if given a chance. There is also alot of experimentation to see what works without much intervention. These become your natural lines of business.

One way to explore the concept of natural business would be to think about your business as a garden that you are currently cultivating, fertilizing, weeding, and applying pesticides to.

The four principles of natural farming/business are simply stated:

  1. No cultivation.
  2. No fertilizer.
  3. No weeding.
  4. No pesticides.

Larry Korn advises that Masanobu is here using a traditional japanese method of teaching to stretch the student's thinking about farming. Masanbou's farming methods includes some weeding for young plants but ideally none as they grow older.

What are the equivalents of these 4 practices in your business?

Are you afraid of the chaos that might ensue if you stopped doing any one of these in your business? A certain amount of chaos is part of a natural business. It is a balance between your will and nature's way.

I highly recommend this book for its philosphical content, practical information on farming, and very thought provoking diagrams. The book contains some of the best systems diagrams I have ever encountered. Ironic indeed from someone who claims to know so little about the world.

If you want to learn more about the productivity of Masanobu's farm, and his genius, I'd recommend reading the recent article Fukuoka's Food Forest by prolific permaculture author Eric Toensmeier.

Permalink 

 Archive 
 

Archive


 June 2020 [4]
 May 2020 [1]
 April 2020 [2]
 March 2020 [1]
 February 2020 [1]
 January 2020 [1]
 December 2019 [1]
 November 2019 [2]
 October 2019 [2]
 September 2019 [1]
 July 2019 [1]
 June 2019 [2]
 May 2019 [2]
 April 2019 [5]
 March 2019 [4]
 February 2019 [3]
 January 2019 [3]
 December 2018 [4]
 November 2018 [2]
 September 2018 [2]
 August 2018 [1]
 July 2018 [1]
 June 2018 [1]
 May 2018 [5]
 April 2018 [4]
 March 2018 [2]
 February 2018 [4]
 January 2018 [4]
 December 2017 [2]
 November 2017 [6]
 October 2017 [6]
 September 2017 [6]
 August 2017 [2]
 July 2017 [2]
 June 2017 [5]
 May 2017 [7]
 April 2017 [6]
 March 2017 [8]
 February 2017 [7]
 January 2017 [9]
 December 2016 [7]
 November 2016 [7]
 October 2016 [5]
 September 2016 [5]
 August 2016 [4]
 July 2016 [6]
 June 2016 [5]
 May 2016 [10]
 April 2016 [12]
 March 2016 [10]
 February 2016 [11]
 January 2016 [12]
 December 2015 [6]
 November 2015 [8]
 October 2015 [12]
 September 2015 [10]
 August 2015 [14]
 July 2015 [9]
 June 2015 [9]
 May 2015 [10]
 April 2015 [10]
 March 2015 [9]
 February 2015 [8]
 January 2015 [5]
 December 2014 [11]
 November 2014 [10]
 October 2014 [10]
 September 2014 [8]
 August 2014 [7]
 July 2014 [6]
 June 2014 [7]
 May 2014 [6]
 April 2014 [3]
 March 2014 [8]
 February 2014 [6]
 January 2014 [5]
 December 2013 [5]
 November 2013 [3]
 October 2013 [4]
 September 2013 [11]
 August 2013 [4]
 July 2013 [8]
 June 2013 [10]
 May 2013 [14]
 April 2013 [12]
 March 2013 [11]
 February 2013 [19]
 January 2013 [20]
 December 2012 [5]
 November 2012 [1]
 October 2012 [3]
 September 2012 [1]
 August 2012 [1]
 July 2012 [1]
 June 2012 [2]


Categories


 Agriculture [72]
 Bayesian Inference [14]
 Books [15]
 Business Models [24]
 Causal Inference [2]
 Creativity [7]
 Decision Making [15]
 Decision Trees [8]
 Design [37]
 Eco-Green [4]
 Economics [12]
 Education [10]
 Energy [0]
 Entrepreneurship [65]
 Events [2]
 Farming [20]
 Finance [25]
 Future [15]
 Growth [18]
 Investing [24]
 Lean Startup [10]
 Leisure [5]
 Lens Model [9]
 Making [1]
 Management [9]
 Motivation [3]
 Nature [22]
 Patents & Trademarks [1]
 Permaculture [36]
 Psychology [2]
 Real Estate [2]
 Robots [1]
 Selling [11]
 Site News [18]
 Startups [12]
 Statistics [3]
 Systems Thinking [3]
 Trends [7]
 Useful Links [3]
 Valuation [1]
 Venture Capital [5]
 Video [2]
 Writing [2]