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Want Bigger Profits? Think Like a Farmer

January 5, 2009

We live in a complicated world. But some things are still quite simple—like the principles of success. We only have to look to our nation’s agrarian history for the fundamentals to achieve the business results we desire in 2009 and beyond.

As farmers, we knew a few things for sure:

The only way to reap a harvest is to plant seeds.
Planted seeds require follow up action such as watering, fertilizing and tilling to reap a healthy and optimal harvest.
Unforeseen circumstances such as weather, parasites and pestilence can destroy or greatly diminish a season’s harvest, but the farmer—not her antagonists—will wipe out the next season’s harvest if she does not get beyond the losses of last season and begin planting anew.
The more seed you plant, the larger your potential harvest will be.
A seed begets an offspring of the same kind. Peanuts beget peanuts, roses bring forth roses, and the seeds of cauliflower will bring about more cauliflower. Even plants within the same family, such as oranges and grapefruit, cannot beget one another.

So how do these principles apply to business, particularly in 2009?

Well, here we find ourselves in the middle or toward the end (depending on who you ask) of the biggest economic plunge our country has experienced within the last two generations. We understand what has happened, but now we must think like farmers and prepare for a new season of planting and the subsequent reward of harvesting.

Plant Seeds
As entrepreneurs and New Year’s Resolution aspirants, we must accept that what has happened has happened, and now to recover and reap new successes individually and collectively we must plant seeds everyday. What are the seeds of your business success? Your seeds are whatever actions you could take that would grow your business. This might be:
-Taking a few seminars to sharpen your skills;
-Making sales phone calls or presentations;
-Finding new ways to increase your network of contacts;
-Creating a new personal image and taking a photo that will grab people’s attention;
-Sending emails to initiate contact with potential partners; or
-Streamlining your business to focus on the set of clients that you can best serve.
The activities you could engage in that would grow your business or prepare you to launch your business are the seeds you must plant, not once but everyday.

Tend to the Seeds
It is not enough to put seeds in the ground, or take the initial action that will grow your business. Now you have to tend to those seeds.
-If a potential client has expressed desire in your product or service but not paid or made a final commitment to buy then follow up to get a definitive answer.
-If you’ve created your new personal image, now it’s time to use it to your business advantage—take a new professional headshot and post it to your website, blog, LinkedIn or Facebook page. You will be shocked at the level of attention—and therefore new connections or opportunities—that a new image can bring.
-If you’ve been networking and meeting new people, that’s awesome but make another move. Send a follow-up email or invite the most promising contacts to lunch. You must interact with a person at least six times before you begin to establish the foundation of a meaningful relationship.
The seeds you have planted now require water, fertilizing and tilling—take follow-up action in anticipation of your harvest.

Get Over Last Season’s Crop
As a nation we have been reeling from the consequences of our financial overindulgence and perhaps you have also experienced personal challenges in the last few months. I know it’s been rough. And I know it may seem like a long road back—it may actually be a long road back. But looking longingly to the past just keeps us standing still. We know what has happened now it’s time to move on. Weather, parasites and pestilence (our challenges) destroyed last season’s harvest. We can now choose to be either the farmers or foes of our next season’s harvest—it all hinges on what we do in the next few weeks. It’s time to plant seeds!

Plant More to Harvest More
Some of us are dragging our feet into 2009. We’re taking action but it’s uninspired and small. Do what you please, but if you plant just one or two seeds then look forward to a small harvest. If you want to grow, grow, grow then you must plant, plant, plant—today and everyday. Harvests are in proportion to what is planted. I dare you to plant a whole field of dreams!

The Seeds You Plant Will Bring More of the Same
Reaping a healthy harvest in 2009 may require some of us to change our beliefs and priorities—and the actions we are taking. Moms Mabley, a comedienne born just before the 1900s, said “If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you always got. If you want something different then you’ve got to do something different.” If you are planting the same kinds of seeds you have planted in the past expecting a different crop then you may be sorely disappointed. Increase your creativity and innovation. Re-visit the way you do everything. Stick with what has worked well and search for new ways to improve. And if you’re stuck in a rut then make bold moves. If you’re planting the same old sorry peas, I hope you’re not expecting to harvest golden-kerneled corn. Plant something different to harvest something different. Plant the seeds of greatness!

Be Encouraged,
Felicia Joy
A Business Woman’s Best Friend

One Comment leave one →
  1. Vincent Gbekeah permalink
    May 23, 2010 1:48 pm

    Felicia Joy,

    I want to be a farmer and think big like a farmer.I want to have my own business in the future.Please contact me by e-mail.
    Thanks sincerely

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