I’m not much of a farmer. Or much of a gardener for that matter. But I do know that when it comes to growing stuff – there’s some indelible laws at work that determine whether or not I’m going to see some fruit from my labours.
Those same laws are at work when you’re growing your business too. There are some steps that you’re simply going to have to follow, no matter what, where or how you conduct your business:
Figure out what you want
You need to know what your business is about. What it stands for. Who you’re going to serve and how. You need to have some idea of where your business is heading before you even set out. The clearer you can get on exactly what you want from your business, the more likely you are to get it.
Plant the seeds
You have to actually do the work of planting the seeds. In most cases, you’re going to need to have procured those seeds from some place in the first instance. Seeds can be a metaphor for your skill or knowledge in a service based business, or some other kind of commodity in more of a retail or product based business. But either way – you need to have those seeds in the first place before you can go ahead and plant them.
Assuming you actually have the seeds, you need to go ahead and start planting them. And you should be in no doubt that this will probably be the hardest part of your business – because you won’t see results straight away. You do the work first, and see the results later.
Look for green shoots
In the words of the famous story – sometimes you’ll see 30x results, sometimes 60x, sometimes 100x. But whichever it is – you’re going to have to plant first and wait to see what the result is.
While you’re waiting it’s going to be tempting to try to lift the lid on your seed to see how things are progressing. If you were a farmer this would probably be a bad idea. Fortunately in an online business there’s plenty of ways we can do this without disrupting the process too much. We can monitor analytics and see whether our seeds are gaining some traction or not (bounce rate, time spent on page etc). We can look at other metrics too like opt-in’s, email open rates and click-throughs.
All of these metrics will help us to see whether or not things are progressing as hoped.
Plant different seeds and plant them everywhere!
Not everything is under your control. Variables like whether or not your social media platform or search engine of choice decide to change their algorithm may rain on your parade (sorry – mixing my metaphors!) In a worst-case scenario, such a change could potentially wipe out all of your efforts on a particular platform. When that happens, you’re going to be glad you planted lots of different kinds of seeds in lots of different places.
You did plant different seeds in different places, right?
In case the metaphor is lost on you at this point, what I’m saying here is that you shouldn’t rely on just one stream of revenue in your business. If you’re providing a service – make sure your providing it to lots of customers, not just one. Some people argue that lots of small customers are better than large ones. I’d go for a mix personally – but whatever works.
If you’re online and trying to capture traffic – diversify the types, positioning and platforms on which you’re seeding your content, so that as many people get exposed to it as possible and, if it rains hard (i.e. a platform changes in a way that negates your content) you’re not relying only on that one crop.
Being a farmer is hard
Farmers have it pretty tough. They’re always being squeezed by someone, somewhere. Whether it’s the government trying to bring in some kind of new legislation, or a big corporation trying to squash every last drop of profit from a product line – they’ve got their work cut out, to be sure.
As a business owner – you’re going to have your work cut out for you too. You should make sure you’re being as productive and efficient with your activities as possible. So we put together a 90 minute daily plan to help you get as much done as you can in just 90 minutes each day. Go ahead and download it, here.- Simon
P.S If you're interested in learning more about performance testing, checkout my Performance Testing 101 course here.