Growing Through the Four Seasons of Business
Written By Don Purdum
Every business experiences seasons, and as business owners it is important to understand what season we are in. That way we can change and adapt our approaches. Every season looks different, and with each one is a time to seize new opportunities in both your business and personal life.
Each season is important. You can try to rearrange the seasons, but if you do, you will not yield a crop if it is out-of-order. You cannot force it! You are going through your season for a reason. You cannot expect anything to grow without planting, and you cannot expect a harvest if you don’t tend to the growth.
Second, understand that you will go through each season multiple times in your business and life. From simple product launches, to complex re-branding and organizational changes, to getting married, having kids, and transitioning to an empty nest. Change is a part of life, and recognizing where you are at is critical to being able to anticipate and plan where you are going.
So, let’s take a look at the five seasons and begin to understand how they impact your business and personal life. Let’s also look at why it is critical you understand where you are in the process so that you can initiate the changes required in your personal and business worlds.
Season #1 – Planting
The planting stage is the time in business where you begin to review your products and services, decide on new ones, and determine how they will be brought to market, or if your idea is even feasible to bring to market.
Planning is critical in this stage, no matter the size of your business. Out of that dreaming and planning, you will begin understanding what it will take to get your product or service out there, where will you offer it, production timeframes, budgets, funding; and develop your marketing, advertising, and whatever miscellaneous things you need.
I have one small piece of advice. Don’t do all of this in isolation. Find an educational Mastermind to get involved with and gain the wisdom of business owners have gone before you. Or, find an experienced and wise business coach. If not that, then a mentor you can bounce ideas off of.
Your goal is to get as many seeds in the fertile ground as is possible. If you through them on a hard surface (i.e. your desk) and don’t bury them well, the seeds will wash away and never take hold. Don’t waste your seeds thinking your idea is the only one. You must be flexible so that you can successfully grow what you have planted.
Season #2 – Growing
You have done all the hard work of planting, but that doesn’t make the growing any easier. It’s time to fertilize and water consistently so that you yield a great crop. The growing stage is all about implementation.
The growing phase is the hardest by far. You must ensure you get your product or service in the market and on the shelves or in front of your potential buyers. This is where the planting work pays off. You know your market, and you have reasonable expectations of how much product you need or the time you will have to provide to fulfill your service.
You may need to work extra hours during this time. That means you need to prep your family. They should understand and agree that you will be out of the house a lot, but temporarily. This is not permanent. Put the timeframe you plan on the calendar so that everyone understands. Second, schedule time afterwards on the calendar for what days you will be taking off from work to make up for that missed family time.
Now that you are ready to offer your product or service, the marketing and advertising begin. You decided with your team what the campaign was going to look like in the planting stage, and now it’s time to implement it.
Season #3 – Harvesting
Depending on how well you planted and grew your crop will likely determine how good or poor of a harvest you will reap. It’s time to sell.
By now, hopefully you are in preventative maintenance mode and you have hit your groove. You have balance in your family life again. You have balance in your business again.
But that doesn’t mean you are done. It just means that it should not be as hectic as the planting and growing seasons. Now it’s time to determine how well you have been training yourself as a leader in your industry, company, and home. Those skills will reflect on how well your business performs and if you are able to sell, or not sell, to make a profit or a loss, if your business grows or dies.
Season #4 – Rest
All organizations need a time to catch their breath, as do all people. Your staff, teams, and family have been through a lot. It’s time to rest, evaluate, and think about the cycle you have been going through.
Rest is important. It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard during this season, but it does mean that you work at a normal pace, take some much-needed time off, and think about where you are relative to where you thought you would be.
As you start feeling refreshed, you may begin to dream again. Or, if you realize your business is in trouble you may be forced to jump right back into planting to overcome an obstacle or challenge.
Seasons in life and business come and go. But one truth stands, you are in a season. Many business owners struggle because they fail to allow themselves or their families to transition from one season to another, or they get stuck in one season for too long and create burnout.
I encourage you take some time to think through where you are at, how you got here, and decide where you want to go. Do this in both your business and with your family. Include your spouse as much as you can. Change is hard, but if you understand what season you are in, planned for it, accepted it, and navigated it well then you have set your personal life and business up to succeed.
Don Purdum works with Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Executives, High Achievers, and their families. If you lose your family, you lose your business. Learn more about Don and his wife Nicole at www.donpurdum.com.
Posted on April 3, 2013, in Business Journal, Starting Your Business and tagged break from business, business growing, business harvesting, business in spring time, business planting, don purdum, seasons of business. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.