Let’s Do Business
Let’s Do Business
Farming has been one of the earliest forms of business in our civilization and continues to be critical to our society and culture. In some ways, I feel like business has gotten a bad rep over the years. Yes, big business has been able to manipulate people, governments, markets, and regulators to favor their own interests, but good, simple business is a critical way of producing the products we need and want. If the bottom line of a business is measured in sustainability as well as dollars, we can keep this capitalism thing working well.
When young folks tell me that they don’t know what to study in college for their future I always suggest they study business. Every job has a relatively simple purpose: doing work for a financial payment. I studied business and then I learned how to make wine. And after that, I learned how to farm. The business education helped me to understand the value of each process, each person, and each input. It also taught me how to make decisions in cost effectiveness, quality, and labor distribution so the work got done better and helped to meet the business’s goals.
Some businesses have lost sight of the responsibility of sustainability along the way. They may go for the easy dollar rather than going for the long term, more conscientious way. But a business is a part of its community, through employment, products, and output. We have the ability to work within our community to do good as well as doing business. It is important for people to recognize the businesses that engage with the community. There is no rule that businesses must do the right thing, but sometimes knowing that the community is watching can help them make the right choices.
As a small, local business I can’t help but hear my customers. We try to stay ahead of problems so the customers never know of the various things that could have affected them and their experience. Knowing that ultimately the customers are the boss is not always easy. It’s easy to tell yourself “Don’t let a bad wine leave the cellar.” But better yet, don’t bottle anything but great wine.
I consider being a good, conscientious business leader to be patriotic as well. America is built on capitalism and a business’s commitment to its community is just as much a commitment to country. Once again that old adage is proven true: doing the right thing is the right thing to do.
There are any number of Virginia wineries and farms—small businesses—that are doing good things in and for their communities. Support them; let them know that you see them and that you appreciate the work they are doing. I guarantee they will appreciate hearing it.