In his book Scale, physicist Geoffrey West shows the amazing similarity in the growth patterns of almost everything, from trees and people, to businesses and cities. After reading it recently, I began seeing all sorts of equivalences between trees and businesses. By the end of the week, I had a renewed appreciation for trees, and for the importance of building a network – because in essence, the expansion of your network is your business growth. Here are a few of the equivalences that came to mind.
Market positioning: Have you planted your tree/business in the right place? Is the ground fertile and suitable for the type of tree you want to grow?
Foliage: Is your brand visible and attractive? Is it a glowing example of its species, or does it look a bit shabby compared to other businesses in your industry?
Branches: Are your branches (products or service offerings) all strong and sturdy, or is it time to trim an unhealthy one that is consuming resources but not growing well?
Roots: Are your tree roots constantly branching out, sending out new shoots (networking and/or advertising to create brand awareness) in search of water (work) to support growth? Are the older ones (existing clients and connections) deepening and growing stronger over time?
The sprawling development of tree roots offers an excellent comparison with business networking. Each time you establish a solid connection with someone, you create a tiny new root that can grow over time and produce more roots – your connections mention you to others, and introduce you to new connections.
Some of your connections will flourish and grow stronger as you deepen those relationships, while others will remain small.
The stronger the connection, the more work (water) it can draw to your business – but regularly sprouting those tiny new connections is vital to keep the network growing.
The faster your network grows, the faster you can draw work to the business to sustain growth. And the bigger and broader your network becomes over time, the more stable your tree becomes in the ground, making it better able to withstand the occasional bad weather event.
First published in the Hills Shire Times, October 10, 2017.
About the author: Leonie Seysan is the Chamber's content partner and blog writer, and director of content agency Article Writers Australia .