As featured on LinkedIn, June 15, 2022.
When Covid hit, like everyone else, personal get-togethers became impossible, and errands were limited to masked-and-gloved visits to the supermarket, drugstore or Home Depot.
I wanted to find a way to stay centered and at the same time, find a break from the WFH life. I looked out through the window, and saw the answer: I would learn to garden.
In the past, I had barely grown a basic fern and I’ve killed the heartiest of outdoor plants, but last summer, I finally began to get the hang of it. While digging holes and learning about which plants would work well in the shade versus sun, I was reminded of the similarities between planting a garden and lessons in marketing strategy.
Know when to look for help.
Before (literally) digging in, I realized I needed to research. I had very little idea of what to do, so I subscribed to “Gardners’ World”, a weekly BBC show that has been running in the UK forever. I also read some old gardening books given to me by my mom.
Lesson: When jumping into something new, it makes sense to educate yourself. Research what exists and find out as much as possible. Before launching a new practice area, know what the competition is doing, the current and possible changes in regulations, and study what your clients’ businesses need from an objective perspective.
Think about what has worked in the past and focus on your strengths.
I saw that last year I did well with a specific variety of tulips and roses. I’m planting them again this year.
Lesson: Self-reflect and know what has worked for you in the past. While you want to be as strong as possible in all the areas necessary for your practice, focus on your core talent, the things you enjoy doing and where you have a natural talent. Aim to be exceptional in a few key areas.
Don’t be afraid of an occasional low-cost experiment.
While no one in my neighborhood has sunflowers, I decided to give growing them a try. With a small investment in a $2.75 packet of seeds, I planted and watered the shoots diligently and saw surprising success.
Lesson: There is always some risk with putting yourself out into the world, but it’s generally not a high price to pay. Don’t be afraid to try something new and possibly failing. Ask someone you may want to know better to jump on a call. Ask a potential client for a piece of business by letting them know you want to help them with their next matter. They may just say yes!
Follow up, follow up, follow up.
In spring and summer mornings, I take a daily walk in the garden. When I do, I check on all of the plants. I make a mental note of “who” is in need of some pruning and extra watering.
Lesson: Clients and prospects take care and nurturing. They won’t grow on their own, but if you genuinely focus on the relationships, have a good routine for checking in regularly, they can turn into a field of opportunity.