Fish Tales And Business

Fish?  What could they possibly have to do with business?

Well, grab a beverage of choice, and settle in for yet another “Tales From The Farm”.

There was a man with one arm that loved to fish.  He would go out every day to the nearby lake and spend hours, pole in hand.  Upon returning, he would go to the local coffee shop.

Someone would always ask “Have any luck today?”  To which, his response was always the same -“Of course!  And today I caught an exceptionally big fish!”

When asked “How big was it?” by someone, he would smile, hold up his hand, and say “This big!”  (OK, it was a corny joke, but I bet you smiled!)

Something fishy going on in this place!

One of my current ventures involves locally produced, naturally grown, food production.  We use aquaponics, which is using fish to produce the nutrients for the plants.

Aquaponic Fish Cycle

The fish are the base of the system.  They do the bulk of the work to provide the nutrients needed to grow the food.  It is their pee/poop that provides the ammonia, minerals, and some micronutrients.  Without them, we have nothing for the plants.  In turn, we have no ‘business’ anymore.

We take care of our fish.  Very much so!  Our fish live in the best possible environment to thrive.

We test the water and remove as many possible contaminants as we can before it is added to the system.  We use Certified Organic feed that meets/exceeds their dietary needs.  Monitor the balance of ammonia and nitrite produced by the fish themselves daily, and supplement oxygen.  We maintain the optimum environmental temperatures and provide equipment to promote water movement to keep the fish active.

Yes, our primary ‘job’ as the owners of this aspect of the business is to ensure that our ‘workers’ (the fish) are always given what they need to perform at the highest levels.

And perform they do!  They are pee/poop making machines!  They provide us with what we need to make the rest of the system a success.

Ok, you have happy fish.  How does that relate to business?

Over the years, I have operated a variety of businesses.  Some online, some off.  They ALL had one thing in common – keeping the people (workers/consumers) that make your business a success involved, producing, and happy.  Without them, you have nothing.

You must provide an environment to foster growth, encourage involvement, and has what they ‘need’ to accomplish whatever it is you want them to do.

Just as I had to set up the tanks, filters, and grow-beds before adding the fish, you need to make sure all aspects of your business are in place before you start bringing the public in.  Double check each component.  Run tests to see where there may be ‘failure’ points.

We use goldfish (a very hardy fish) to “beta-test” the system before bringing in the ones that will populate it.  Find people with the talents you need to ‘test’ it before you open it to new people.

Make sure your servers can handle the load. Do you have script/code support standing by if you need it?  Is your support system (onsite, social media, email, etc.) fully functional and robust enough to handle any potential problems?  Do you have help, or know where to find it, should growth outpace your current abilities?

Know, without a doubt, that you are prepared to operate the business and provide what is needed to create a productive environment for the benefit of everyone involved.

TALK to your fish . . . er . . . communicate with the workers/consumers, as often as possible.  You can learn volumes by LISTENING to what they have to say – or don’t.

I can avoid major problems by talking to and observing, the actions of the fish.  No, they don’t talk back (yet).  But if their actions/responses seem out of character, I know I need to determine what may be wrong and fix it.  You can prevent many issues by taking the time to be involved with those that mean the difference between growing your business, or, be learning how to say “Welcome to Wal-Mart”.

Remember, it’s not always about having fun and bank deposits!

I lost 100 fish due to an “I didn’t mean to do that” moment.  We learn, hopefully, from our mistakes.  Trust me, they will happen.  No matter what business model or how prepared you may think you are.  Be ready to accept whatever may come your way and move forward.


Is there an upside to all this?

Indeed there is!

It may sound silly, but I feel a certain ‘satisfaction’ when I walk around the fish tanks and see how far we have come.  Yes, happy fish DO bring a smile!

Knowing that you are making progress in what you set forth to do, reaching new goals, and understanding that all those times you (and others) questioned your abilities – and yet persevered –  was so worth it.  Yeah, there is an ‘upside’ that you can never know without continuing your journey NOW to find it.

Oh, just for a little reassurance, there ARE bank deposits in that journey as well!  It just requires you do what has to be done to get there.



With Sincere Thanks

Richard Taylor

“The only limits we have are those you impose upon yourself. Remove the limits!”

Follow my current adventures on Twitter

One thought to “Fish Tales And Business”

  1. Hi, Rich. This is a great post and good learning experience to read. I learned about how the beautiful white sand in the tropical islands is made from the fish poop from the parrot fish that eat coral! Isn’t that amazing!

    And server moves are hard, no matter how well you plan them. My last server move was guaranteed not to cause interruption and run smoothly on a smaller server from the Liquid Web team. This turned out to be wrong on their part. Right after downgrading it, I had to upgrade it again. It was a real headache and I was by the phone and computer as much as possible to stop any outages. I wasn’t sleeping well for days and the one day I had to catch up on sleep I had a 12-hour outage that I didn’t expect! Liquid Web isn’t perfect either and neither am I. All I can say is that server moves are hard and we as owners do the best we can to get it running smoothly for our customers.

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