How do you grow your business and find customers - are you a hunter or a farmer?
At the beginning of 2020, I joined the local BNI group in Greenville, NC (you can visit our chapter if you're in the area, or via Zoom during the pandemic).
Another thing that happened at the beginning of 2020 was the global pandemic that you may have heard something about. This was an interesting year to join BNI, but the organization and the local group resonate with the way I like to conduct business.
My business is primarily built through in-bound marketing. What that means is that we strive to earn a reputation for doing good work. This reputation brings customers into our business rather than requiring us to continually search for new customers.
BNI has a saying, "we're farmers - not hunters." That's their way of saying the same thing. Businesses that benefit the most from membership in BNI are the ones that are developing long-term relationships within their community.
Another thing that I started in 2020 is gardening. Now, I know a lot of people took up pandemic gardening in March. However, I was planning my garden when I purchased this property in December of 2019. The big change for me was moving my plans ahead since I had more time at home. What was planned to be completed in three years was done by the end of the first year.
As of today, this is what I have added to my 1.3 acre property:
This was all completed during the first year on this property. Some of these gardening endeavors have already produced food for me. Others, will yield a small harvest next year. However, all of them will help this land produce much larger yields five years from now.
My projects are divided between short, medium, and long-term results. This is true of both my garden and my business.
“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children. ” ― Confucius
During the pandemic, many businesses transitioned to remote work. People everywhere were working from home. At the same time, they used online ordering and delivery services to improve social distancing.
The future will likely see a reversal of some of these things as the COVID vaccine is distributed and the world returns to some form of "normal". However, many people will continue to work, shop, and conduct their lives over the internet. For me, this was not a big shift since I have been working online for more than a decade.
On my property, I already have plans to add bamboo, a living fence made of willow trees, more blueberries, and chickens. Those are just the spring improvements for the little homestead I am creating.
In the business, I have started developing a portfolio of aerial stock photography and videography as part of a niche website project. As with my other project, there are short, medium, and long-term returns that I am expecting from this endeavor. Over time, just like farming, the returns will compound.
In my business and my life, I am hopeful for a better future and prepared for difficulty.
“He who plants a tree, plants a hope.” ― Lucy Larcom