Give me all the information I need to use (steal) your knowledge!
More and more people are coming out of the woodwork demanding we supply them with all our knowledge for free. I did use the word “demanding” deliberately, because that is exactly what one contact said. Needless to say, these people are not on my Christmas Card list. 🙁
I must admit that the longer I live the more I am amazed by the expectations of other people and the extent to which they expect to be given stuff. Perhaps we as a society needs to seriously look at the way we are schooling our children.
Anyway, what is happening on the growing front. Well it appears that less Wasabia japonica was available on the market this last month. I am unsure if this is due to the weather or the season change, but I haven’t heard about any large operation either opening or closing. One did change owners.
The demand certainly hasn’t dropped, this is especially true in the Medical and Nutraceutical markets.
The growing system we have installed on the Equator is working well. The installation and running costs are all within budget and the plants themselves are thriving in their new home. We are excited to see the plants move through their growing cycle without any apparent glitches. We have just started though, so there is many a slip between the cup and lips as the saying goes. We are not holding our breath or patting ourselves on the back just yet. 🙂
Also this month there seems to be a flurry of activity with people demanding we supply all the information we have for ALL the various methods of propagating Wasabi plants. It seems strange to me that some people are putting the cart before the horse and want to produce lots of plants before building a farm. They obviously need to join the Wasabi Growers Club to get the Plant Propagation Module when it is released. 🙂
I suppose when I think about it, the answer is that these people have no intention of operating a wasabi farm, but just want to be a supplier of plants. A bit like being a supplier of shovels during a Gold Rush. Most of those shovel suppliers made more money than the miners.
Growing and Selling Wasabi can be compared to having a three-legged stool.
You need all the legs to be firmly in place without the possibility of falling off the stool. The other important part is that the legs needs to be the same length otherwise trying to sit on the stool becomes difficult.
These three legs are Growing, Processing and Marketing. Without anyone of these, you do not have a business – you are merely a small cog inside someone else’s business. This puts you in a very vulnerable and sometimes financially dangerous position.
As an entrepreneur, and that is exactly what you are when you become a farmer, you need to try to be in control of everything about your business. That isn’t always possible, but in most cases it is.
You need to be able to select your customers, be a price setter and not a price taker. Having a single Customer is always a recipe for disaster. Spread your risk – have many customers – small and large, and continually encourage more people or companies to become your customers.
The most difficult part of running your Wasabi growing business is going to be the marketing. In fact in nearly every business, this is the case. The problem arises in the fact that most people do not regard themselves as salespeople and shy away from the idea of selling anything.
This attitude, of course, is nonsense. We sell ourselves everyday to new people, and also to those we think we know well. We all do this without thinking, it is our subconscious desire to be accepted as part of the circle of people we are surrounded with. We do not do this sell job just once and then forget about it. No – we do this on a continuous basis each and every time we meet, see, or talk to these people. When you meet new people we also carry out this selling routine.
Your customer is your friend, after all they are giving you the means to live the life you want. Without them you have no business.
Does this mean that you treat everyone you meet as your next best friend? No, it doesn’t – after all we have always met people who we dislike or mistrust on sight. These people should be avoided at all costs, cross the road to get away from them if need be.
Marketing is about being honest with your customer, do not over embellish the facts. If they want your product then they will let you know by asking questions that you as a Wasabi grower will know the answers to because of your experience.
Remember that your business is a three-legged stool with each leg – Growing, Processing and Marketing as equally important and you won’t go far wrong. 🙂
Regarding franchising or licensing of our knowledge.
We used to do that, but we found the people who got the information didn’t always follow it and then blamed us when it failed. When this happened it was only the lawyers that got any money out of it.
We are looking at setting all the information we have (24 years worth) on a membership site where people still pay the big bucks, but do everything themselves. The members on that site would have to be constrained about sharing the information they receive by signing a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) and realising that there will be “consequences” for ignoring it. Note: Not all “consequences” involve lawyers and the Court system. 🙂
If you are interested then go here to show your interest. If there are enough people interested then we will look at setting it up.
We have designs, Bill Of Materials (BOM), manuals, etc., etc., and yet people still listen to their mates down the pub or to a salesperson and change the specifications of the materials or equipment. That always ends in disaster, and of course the salesperson or their beer mates are long gone to sort things out.
All my sons (4 of them) have forbidden me to ever do another hands on installation because of the stupidity of people. They don’t mind me selling the information, but the hand holding and picking up the pieces was driving me to an early grave and causing a massive amount of stress for everyone in the family.
Eventually, we would like to sell the whole operation off and enjoy the proceeds of our pioneering work. I still enjoy working on the Wasabi project especially as we expand into Medical Wasabi, Alcohol, Food Products, and Cancer Killing products.
Next year (2015), we will release a whole lot of new products that have not been seen before, and we have a lot more behind those.
We have become a vertically integrated company that now does everything from growing Wasabi to selling it to the end-user. Now that the EU has started to come down hard on the “faux” wasabi suppliers, it can only get better for us.
All this bodes well for the future of the Wasabi industry, and if you are interested in becoming involved then go here to show your interest.
Michel Van Mellaerts (The Wasabi Maestro) is the recognized World authority and expert on the practical Growing, Processing and Marketing of Wasabia japonica. He and his wife have been commercially growing Wasabia japonica longer than anyone else outside Japan.
Trained as an Engineer he has invented and installed many improved growing systems into their farms. These enable high quality Wasabi to be grown anywhere in the World.
The Wasabi Maestroes have set up commercial Wasabi growing farms from the Arctic Circle to Southern New Zealand, including the Equator. They have worked with individual growers, national governments, and investment groups on four continents.
These growing systems have reduced growing times by nearly 67%, improved yield and quality of the Wasabi rhizome, and increased the levels of active ingredients by nearly 100%. It is these active ingredients that independent scientific studies show kills cancer cells and improves human health.
They pioneered the use of Wasabia japonica in the Nutraceutical and Medical industries. They are at the leading edge of research into the benefits of Wasabi on human and animal health.
The Wasabi Maestroes offer a Training and Consultancy service for potential and actual Wasabi growers who only want to learn from the best. Others spend their time floundering around trying to find out what information is useful and what isn’t.
The Training has been proven and improved over the last 20 years plus of personal commercial Wasabi growing. This has been hands on, getting wet and dirty work – not guesswork from behind a desk.