To predict the future for your business would be a very useful business tool. Sadly, Microsoft, Google and all the rest haven’t invented that app yet! So, in the absence of such foreknowledge we do the best we can. There are so many influences on our business. In 1979 Michael Porter from Harvard Business School highlighted the five forces of competition. Porter’s five forces include three forces from ‘horizontal’ competition – the threat of substitute products or services, the threat of established rivals, and the threat of new entrants – and two others from ‘vertical’ competition – the bargaining power of suppliers and the bargaining power of customers.
Once you’ve worked out how to handle all of those then there are a whole range of other challenges to face. As we look back over the last year we can see growers in different countries have had to face extreme events that can knock a business sideways or knock it over altogether. Last year there were the hurricanes in the southern US and more recently flooding in Kenya and volcanoes in Hawaii and Guatemala. There have been armed attacks in Ethiopia, hailstorms and much more. On top of that governments and societies have added other pressures with exchange rate fluctuations, changes in trade terms and then of course Brexit and the other movements around the world towards protectionism and nationalism.
But in our industry we have to take the long view, we have no choice. There are not many industries where you spend money on producing a product for ten years or more and then hope to be able to sell it for a profit, but that’s what tree growers do. Plant breeding takes years of experimentation in the hope that the end result will suit the market when it’s ready.
But since the garden of Eden there has been a market for horticultural products and what has enabled survival is innovation, resilience and persistence. Somehow the same forces that can cause a tree to grow through concrete are passed on to growers to withstand the next onslaught. I believe our industry is a triumph and home to some of the greatest innovators in the world. In AIPH we are committed to supporting growers, wherever they are. We can’t tell you what to do; that is your own entrepreneurial spirit that makes you succeed, but we can make sure you are as informed as possible and equipped with all that is available.
Last month AIPH acquired FloraCulture International magazine from Royal FloraHolland. We want to use this to support our purpose of sharing knowledge and best practice between growers throughout the world. We are doing this for you! Maybe you have ideas of how we could develop it, maybe you have some great stories that should be shared with the world. Whatever you think just tell us so we can give you what you want. We see this as an extra tool for the industry which can grow alongside others as we continue our support for Floribusiness and other like-minded channels. We need to work together to help the whole of this industry grow and we look forward to being an increasing part of your journey.