LETTUCE OR AN APPLE TREE
In his book “The Impact Equation: Chris Brogan wrote: There are two types of people in this world. You’re either a head of lettuce or an apple tree.
“Look, if you want to grow lettuce, you plant your seeds, give a little water, and two or three months later you can make yourself a salad. But the lettuce will spoil soon after it reaches maturity, and good luck trying to save it for the winter, let alone find another use for it other than your burger or Caesar salad.“
“I look at my life and my approach to business as that of the apple tree. It takes about six years for an apple to grow from a seed into an apple-producing tree. That’s a long time even in human years. You have to take care of that tree during those six years too, with no guarantee it will make it to maturity. But you know what? At around the six-year mark, that apple tree starts producing apples and with a little care and a bit of luck that tree could produce apples for well over a hundred years. And apples keep way better than lettuce. Plus, you can make apple juice, apple cider, apple pie, and all sorts of other foods.”
There is a moral to this story and it applies to everyone that is starting or is in the process of growing a business. You have to keep tending the business until it provides the stable income and it has achieved sustainability.
No, you don’t have to wait six years to stabilize a business or to generate a substantial profit. In today’s high tech economy, it is possible to bring a new business to profitability in a much shorter time than six years. But you need to nurture it for that six-year period in order to stabilize it so that it can survive for “a hundred years.”
In order to survive six years, which is more than 90% of other businesses can do, you have to care for the business, be aware of the disruptive change forces that can occur at any time, and have the patience to allow your business to mature.
A tree is slow growing but its roots provide a solid foundation. “A little bit at a time, all the time” is a good growth model for a business.
What kind of business are you growing, a lettuce or an apple tree?
Tips & Advice by Nick Petra, CFP – Founder of Strategic Duck and BizQuack
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