In this account of my experiment with nature, I am going to talk about growing guavas and building a SaaS company in a hyper-competitive Indian market. I am doing both of these for the
first time and for both of these I have been told by my father that it’s impossible for me.
I enjoy proving my father wrong and I also like Guavas, so let’s get started with Guavas first and
later on, get into how I draw parallels with growing a company and growing a plant.
I have about 50 potted plants in my house, all of them bought from a local nursery over the course of the last 2 years. Whenever I want to take a break I just take a walk in my not so
properly kept garden and examine these plants.
In October 2020 I started reading about permaculture and how it’s more important to grow native plants and why they are easier to care for. I got excited and started looking for a few acres of land but that’s a story for another day. Like any other idea, I wanted to replicate this at a
smaller level, I got Guava plants. The kind you can grow in pots and they are supposed to give fruits after 6-9 months of planting them.
I planted a couple of them in January and started closely monitoring them but as proclaimed by my father they didn’t grow much till Feb. They hardly had any leaves on them around the end of Feb and I was pretty sure that these wouldn’t survive the next month, there was a bug infestation as well. Around March they started growing and to my surprise, they grew about 10-20 leaves on each branch very rapidly, they only had two branches each so I was happy that they were surviving while at the same time worried that how these new fragile branches would bear fruit, all they had were leaves.
glorious potted plants on youtube, all of the fruit laden, they might have been in much better
hands because, all my plants had, were two branches and about 30 leaves.
I learned that pruning is what you should do to promote branching. I got the garden scissors and went to prune them one day. I was worried that if they didn’t branch, after all, they didn’t get any growth for about 3 months and were attacked by bugs as well. I went and put those scissors back. Days passed in this decision making and then one day I pruned the branches from the top. This was September 2021
After doing it I got busy with work and didn’t attend the plant for about 3 days. It rained the next day and after it rained I wanted to see how my plants are looking. I was extremely elated to see the new offshoots coming out from the existing branches, I got a total of about 10 shots, 6 on one plant and 4 on the other. All those have now grown very rapidly and now I am hopeful that this plant will survive and maybe in the future, it will bear fruits.
This experience led me to think that there are many similarities between growing a plant and growing a company. At FarziEngineer we had to let go of our top performers to let other team members grow and reduce our reliance on a few key people. Similarly December 2020 to March 2021 we worked our ass off to cater to this one single client in order to retain them while they were going through organizational change internally. In retrospect, we were able to come out of that phase because we took a risk of losing this client and rather focussing our energies elsewhere. Within three months we recovered the lost revenue and acquired many small-ticket clients rather than a single giant. Both these steps were similar to having to chop the top of the only branches on
my guava plant, once by letting go of the top performer and secondly letting go of a top revenue
2018. They accounted for 90% of our revenue. Our earnings could not cover the expenses and it looked like we were not going to make it but then the conditions changed, we found ourselves in the middle of the D2C boom and played to our strengths of getting completely involved with clients and working as a single team. We rode that wave and had a rapid spurt of growth. Much like the growth of my plant during its growing season. My learning here is, don’t give up when the times are bad – they change, play to your strengths. Utilize every bad phase to improve your score, the growth might not be visible but you would be building your roots, and when the time comes you would be ready to slingshot into growth orbit.
That’s all for today.