From the Publisher

November 18, 2010
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Are You Following Your Mushrooms?

I was recently on a flight to the East Coast. It wasn’t long before a passenger came up and pointed at the window seat and said “that’s me.” We gave each other the obligatory nod when I stepped into the aisle to let him into his seat.

As the flight attendants were servicing the cabin, he asked me, “Traveling for business?”

“Yes,” I replied. “How about you?” He said, “No, I am returning from a long overdue vacation.” Thinking this guy must have an interesting, high-pressure job, I asked him, “What line of work are you in?”
He said, “I’m a mushroom farmer.” 

“A mushroom farmer?” I replied. He probably detected a bit of disappointment in my voice when I responded.

“Yes, a mushroom farmer,” he again stated.

“Well, how is the mushroom business?” I asked. Not being a mushroom consumer, I have no idea if the economy and global warming have been kind to the industry.

“Business has never been better,” he said. “That’s how I’ve been able to afford this trip.” 
Sensing there was more to this story I asked him another question. “So, to what do you attribute your success?”

“Well, actually, business was pretty tough the last two or three years. In fact, it was so tough I hired a consultant to review and advise me on my business. So, this consultant came in and spent the entire day with me. At the end of the day, he looked at me and said he had one suggestion for me and if I did it he believed my business would grow.

Of course, I was intrigued so I asked him what the suggestion was and he said, “Follow the mushrooms.”

“Follow the mushrooms?” I repeated back to him.

“Yes,” he replied.  “Next time a truck comes to your farm and picks up a load of mushrooms, follow it and see what happens next. There lies in the answer to growing your business.” 

“So, I did exactly that. When the truck pulled out I hopped into my truck and followed it. When it pulled into the warehouse, I walked in and watched what they did with my mushrooms. First they washed them; then they sliced them; and finally, they packaged them.

“I approached the manager and I asked him, ‘If I wash, slice, and package my mushrooms, would you buy more from me?’ He answered a resounding, ‘Absolutely’ and he did. 

“I began delivering prewashed, precut and prepackaged mushrooms to my customers and my business has quadrupled in both total revenue and profit. 

I followed my mushrooms and found out how I could provide more value to my customers.”

Are you following your mushrooms?

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