I have never planted a garden.
Actually, I think I have deliberately created a block in my mind when it comes to my gardening abilities or lack of. We can create those blocks, thereby limiting ourselves and our potential.
My daughter-in-law has a real gift for gardening. Flowers, veggies, herbs… you name it. She can build and plant garden plots singlehandedly wherever the Army sends them. It’s beautiful to watch.
And my friend Joyce has a green thumb like nobody’s business. The way that woman transforms weathered planters into works of art and plants and repots flowers…wow. Her yard is a glorious infusion of color.
Then there’s my yard: At this writing there are two store-bought mums by the front door, a few azaleas and rhododendrons that bloom for a short while, and that beachy grass that needs extra TLC and a few chemicals. Oh, and quite a few weeds.
While I may not be the best gardener or caretaker of my yard, I think I do and have always done a decent job of tending my garden in business.
What do I mean by this?
When I was a department head at a museum, I frequently used the image of a garden to instill in my staff the importance of taking care of those donors and companies who were supporting us. Sure, we still needed to cultivate (Yes, a gardening word, but one that is used alot in the fundraising world) new supporters, but we also needed to water and nurture the “plants” already in front of us, within our “garden beds.”
I’ve gone back to this same analogy many times when coaching women who are in business and trying to build customer loyalty. In order to grow their businesses, they need new clients; but they must first take care of the ones they already have. If they don’t, they could lose them, and that often means losing the customers’ repeat business and potential referrals.
So how do you use this garden idea in your own business?
Here are 3 ways to nurture your business (garden) to retain clients and to get referrals from them:
- Focus on the people and clients already in your life. Your best source of income and referrals is your current client base. Keep them happy and make them feel appreciated, and you are likely to reap the benefits over and over through their repeat business and their telling others about your great products and service. Think about referrals you have given for various products and services you really like. Water, weed, and nurture your current “garden” of clients. Personally speaking, my #1 source of clients has been referrals from other clients. I keep watering (and I really care about my clients, too!)!
2. Focus on the areas of your business that feed your soul and in which it’s easy for you to
invest your time and money. Don’t be like anyone else, because you can’t. You are YOU, and
you bring your own talents and passions to the table. As a coach, I have tried a few different
things I see other coaches doing, but I decided to stop because they just aren’t in sync with who
I am, and the return on my investment of time and marketing isn’t worth the effort. Sure, we all
have areas of business we don’t enjoy yet must do (or delegate it to someone else), but I do
believe that when we align our values, our passions, and our strengths in business, we will
thrive. Hosting a workshop because you think you “should” based on what others are doing
isn’t being true to yourself. You wouldn’t plant a flower you didn’t want in your garden or add a
certain garden ornament just because half your neighbors have one. Work your business and
grow your garden from your heart!
3. Pray over your business and your clients. Prayer is the ONE ingredient that can really
make your garden grow. I challenge and encourage you to pray over your business every single day.
Committing it and your customers to God will open doors and will motivate you to stay focused. Yes, prayer motivates us! God gives us the tools and the brains to work; we can’t be lazy. But, when we give it all to Him-really give- breakthroughs and opportunities will occur. It’s on His timetable, not ours (a hard lesson for this flawed and sometimes impatient woman to swallow). You can’t make a garden grow at the rate you want it to grow, but you can help it along with water, nutrients, and even talking to your plants. Give your business to God. You’ll reap!
Nurture the plants (customers) that you already have. Don’t plant or do anything you don’t want or just aren’t feeling. Pray over your garden.
I’d love to hear how your business or your attitude changes after you put these three steps into practice. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know!
Amy Walton is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Certified Christian Life Coach who does not possess a green thumb. She does, however, try to take care of and help her clients grow. In addition to coaching, Amy speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats and writes for various publications. She is currently working on a Lenten devotional book which will be available in early 2019. You can connect with her at http://www.amywaltoncoaching.com.