Growing Your Business

by | Jun 20, 2008 | Business-end-of-things

320-acres of prime Illinois black dirt is what fueled the Courvoisier family budget when I was growing up.  My dad was a farmer, and the life was wholesome.  Farm

Corn, wheat, beans…and occasional oats grew in the fields.  Chickens, cows, pigs, cats 'n' dogs meant lots of chores for a farm kid — morning and evening.  I learned more from those experiences than I ever thought I knew…chief among them the value of daily hard work.

Barbara Winter speaks of such routines, and how they will work to your benefit, in her newsletter, which I've excerpted below the fold.  Read on!



Barbara next to Inspiring Tree
Even though I never lived on a farm, I grew up
surrounded by small family farms and went to school
with kids who lived on those farms. I didn’t realize
they were teaching me many things that would serve
well as a non-farming entrepreneur.

In most places, spring is for planting, summer is for
growing and autumn is for harvesting. So what does a
farmer do when the crops are in the ground, but not
ready to come out? A smart farmer works on growing
the business. I remember noticing that even though
side-by-side farms endured the same weather
and shared the same soil, they didn’t necessarily
produce the same results. The human factor had a
deal to do with a farm’s success or failure.

Your business may resemble a garden more than a
farm If you want to see visible progress come harvest
time do one simple thing: consistently do
something–anything–every day to grow your
business for
the next 90 days. Over and over again, I see people
who approach their business in spurts. They fantasize
about having a big chunk of time to really get things
done, but that chunk never comes. Here are some
lessons gleaned from good farmers that will also work
in a small garden.

Make business a daily practice. Eastern
such as yoga and meditation talk about the power of
daily practice. Paul Hawken says, “Business is no
different from learning to play the piano or to ride a
surfboard. With most activities there is no
presumption of excellence in the beginning, but many
newcomers suppose that they should sit down at the
desk on the first day and become
in full command of the situation.” Even if you have
not made the transition from employee to
having a regular time every day to move closer will
bring big results over time.

Get rid of the weeds. After What Would an
in Minneapolis, I received an e-mail from
one of the participants, telling me that her first
project after the seminar was to get her home office
in order. That involved removing nine large bags of
trash. Even if the clutter’s gone, spend time every
day pulling weed or two. Get rid of a self-limiting
thought. Refuse to spend time with negative people.
You get the idea.

Build a Seed Bank. Like a regular bank, a
Seed Bank is
a physical place where you store ideas. The best way I
know to build such a collection of ideas is to practice
(there’s that word again) the $100 Hour that I wrote
about in Making a Living Without a Job.
yourself to see possibilities. If you faithfully did this
for the next 90 days, you’d have more ideas than you
could use in a year.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty. The Joyfully Jobless
life is participatory, not a spectator sport. Try
things. Be willing to do things badly. Reconfigure.
Learn to find creative solutions.

Keep watering and nurturing. Last week, we
Compelling Storytelling with dinner at the
Marrakech restaurant. When it was over, I noticed
participants standing on the sidewalk reluctant to
leave their new entrepreneurial friends. Once you’ve
spent time with a group of creative thinkers, it’s a
pleasure you’ll want to repeat. Fortunately, you can
build those connections despite geographic distances.
As Goethe said, “To know someone, here or there,
whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of
distances or thoughts unexpressed–that can make
earth a garden.”



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