Spring is here: time to grow your business

Nature is the best teacher. Gardening offers many lessons in growing your business.

I've spent the last two weeks in my yard - first I pruned, removed dead leaves and then mulched. It's hard work but it feels good and it makes you get close to your plants - really observe them, check their health. Then this last week I spent time fertilizing. The lawn and shrubs take a different kind of fertilizer than my rose bushes. Again, hard work but I know that doing this now and consistently for the next few months will help them grow and the outcome will be a beautiful display I get to enjoy all summer long.

I love gardening, both indoor and outdoor. I have indoor plants that keep me busy during the winter. Of course the schedule is different and each plant requires different care. If you neglect your plants, it's no wonder that they lose their sheen, fade or even die. You can also give them too much attention and have the same results. Plants are also subject to their environment - bugs, diseases, moles and so on. If you're not paying attention, these can wipe out an entire yard.

How healthy is your business?

When I get a new plant I observe it closely to determine its current health. I then learn everything I can about it so that I can successfully keep it healthy, get it to flower and grow.

When I assess a new client I first get to know them, usually very well and in great detail. Much like my plants, I am assessing many things. The first thing I assess is the health of that business. Does that business have the basic things it needs in order to survive much less thrive?

Does your business have the 3 basic elements of survival?

Proper plant care begins with learning the three basic things plants need to survive and this is where I start with my plant care of any new plant:

1) the right soil

2) water quantity needed and

3) sun quantity needed.

It is not the same type or ratio for every plant. We think sun is a good thing but there are plants that don't need a lot of sun and will shrivel up and die if it gets too much.

There are plants that require very specific types of soil - put it in the wrong foundation of soil and it will go nowhere.

Many people over water their plants. We are taught that all plants need water but they need just the right amount. An indication of too much water is when the leaves turn yellow.

There are plants that are quite easy to take care of but seem complicated to many - like orchids. Often, it's because they are misunderstood. How can something so wild and beautiful require so little water? But wait a minute... they also need a particular kind of soil and are quite picky about sun, too. Maybe they're not so easy afterall.

The 3 basic elements for a business to survive:

For business, the soil is the business plan. It is the foundation you need to get your business to survive. A business without a plan has no foundation and no way of developing the root structure it needs.

Once you have the business plan, you can apply your marketing to get your business to grow. Marketing is like water and sun - they're necessary but you need the right amounts and they need to be consistently applied.

If you have these three basic elements in your business, then your business can at least survive and you can begin looking at ways to grow your business - how to make it thrive.

What stage is your business?

Depending upon what stage your business is in, will guide your marketing strategy.

You can buy plants at various stages - from seed to starter plant to mature plant and so on. Depending on the stage of growth of that plant will dictate the type of care it will need in order for it grow into the next stage.

Businesses are the same way. When I take on a new client it is very important for me to understand its current stage and position and where it wants to be - how much does it want to grow or is it just happy flowering year after year?

A startup business, like a plant, requires a lot of initial care. You plant the seed and have to fertilize and water just right. You also move it often from one little pot to the next size up to give it room to grow. A lot of mistakes during the early stages can kill a plant before it ever matures. Same goes for business. If a business grows too fast and it doesn't have room to grow, it will stagnate and then those roots begin to suck up all the resources available. The plant will stop flowering.

Then there are businesses that start too big and they spend all their time filling their space that sucks up all their resources and it can't grow. Usually, these are businesses that are trying to offer or sell too many products or services for it to handle. Same goes for plants. There are plants that grow better in small pots - give it too much space and the plant spends all its resources in growing roots instead of flowers.

When it comes to expanding an established business you have to be very careful. Much like transplanting a mature tree, you have to do so carefully or it will not grow in its new home. I've seen many businesses do this - they think they can easily create a new location but they "transplanted" too quickly and its new environment wasn't ready and in the end, the business closes.

Growing your business begins with fertilizer

Basic plant care is just that, basic. Getting your plant to thrive and grow and flower over time... well that involves a higher level of plant care and knowledge which starts with fertilizer.

Fertilizer for a plant is like a shot of growth that should be applied at just the right times and in the right amounts. Typically, you apply fertilizer in the spring and then again consistently on a schedule. A business that wants to thrive and grow needs to understand what kind of fertilizer it needs and when and how often. It's not something you apply all the time. Often, people refer to a specialist gardener - if you need a specialist gardener to grow your business, contact us! Marketing Outpost will help you achieve your ambition and grow your business!