A lot can be said about those select few that work on the farm from sun up to sun down. While I am by no means an expert in the field of farming there was one particular lesson I learned from them last semester in a communication’s philosophy course. Back in Iowa in 1928 a new hybrid corn seed was invented. The new seed was more resilient to drought, disease and enjoyed many other advantages over the traditional corn seed. A recipe for instant success, right? Well not exactly. The creators of the hybrid seed were baffled because by the numbers they should have had every farmer in Iowa lining up to get the seed but it just wasn’t happening. It was difficult to get those stubborn farmers to adapt to the new seed despite all of its advantages. After a lot of strategizing the seed creators finally brought the seed into attention through two primary channels: mass communication and interpersonal communication, ie: word of mouth. The Iowa study we looked at in class was focused on the adoption curve. According to the study categories were created to describe how the seed was adopted in Iowa starting with those willing to innovate, early adopters, those that waited for their friends to try it first and lastly the laggard but there so much more we can learn from this story.
The question naturally arises: so how does this apply to my business? Well in addition to all of the communication theories and philosophies that we explored in class there is quite a bit that any business owner can apply. In the story it is interesting to note that even with a stellar product you can experience some form of failure. In order to have success it takes planning, strategy and constant reevaluation. Never give up! The answer usually doesn’t come from one easy, fix all sort of way but through a combination of strategies. With the example of the farmers it ultimately lead to nearly all of the farmers in Iowa switching to the new seed but as always your results could vary. One thing is sure though that every business owner needs a strategy and the solution that works for you might come from an unexpected source or any number of combinations of tactics. The creators of the hybrid corn seed probably never thought that getting farmers to adapt to the seed required a social aspect but they were able to adapt their strategy and over time they enjoyed success. You might be the kind of business owner that is a bit skeptical about whether a strategy is really necessary but don’t be like those last few farmers that jumped on the band wagon a tad too late. The sooner you get a strategy together and really start working at it the sooner you will enjoy the fruits of the harvest.