I have often admired the diligent work of the honey bee. Just stand in any garden for a few minutes and very soon you will see one or two honey bees foraging for food within the flowers.
These insects never seem to get tired of working, so it’s obvious why an industrious person is said to be as ‘busy as a bee.’
On deeper reflection, I realised that there are many insights that this tiny insect can give us about being successful in business. I did a little research on the practices of the honey bee and I was quite impressed with the systematic way that it goes about achieving its life’s work.
Here are some of the business lessons that I gained from studying the honey bee:
Create products that are highly valued
The honey bee is the only insect that makes food that can be eaten by humans. Honey is also the only natural food that contains all the vital ingredients for life – vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fatty acids and water.
Bees also produce other things that are of great nutritional, medicinal and economic value to people such as bee pollen, bee wax, bee venom and royal jelly. These insects are also self-sufficient as they create everything needed to sustain the entire colony.
Are you customer-focused when creating the products or services that are provided by your business? Do your offerings bring excellent value to many people?
Design efficient business systems
The honey manufacturing process is a perfect example of how an efficient production line can create consistent, predictable results.
Worker bees collect nectar from flowers; store it in special stomachs; deliver it to other bees in the hive; these chew on the nectar to break it down; drop it into combs in the hive; beat their wings on the combs to thicken the honey for long-term storage; then cap each comb with wax to preserve the food, and start the process again.
Have you created proper systems for all your business processes such as product development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, accounting, and human resource development?
Be persistent in your work effort
A honey bee will work diligently to fill its stomach with nectar; it may have to visit over 100 flowers before its task is complete. To produce one pound of honey, about 500 honey bees have to fly more than 35,000 miles finding nectar and taking it back to the hive.
This distance would be the same as travelling over three times around the world! In fact, the phrase ‘working to death’ is a reality for these bees as many pay the ultimate sacrifice to get the job done.
How committed are you to developing your enterprise? Are you prepared to give up leisure time and do whatever it takes until you have created a successful business system?
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