How Does Your Business Grow? A lot like a garden, actually.

business grows like a garden

By: MaryKay, Founder

As a successful entrepreneur, business coach, and gardener, I am reminded daily that whether you are growing a successful business or a bountiful garden, there is a set of “rules,” a Growth Blueprint, that governs the process. Knowing and following this blueprint delivers the desired result, whether quantified as fruits, flowers, or revenue.

Success is the right action at the right time. But it’s easy to get sucked into ‘bright shiny object syndrome’ and making a costly error – doing the right thing at the wrong time! The best outcome to doing the right thing at the wrong time is you learn an expensive lesson; the worst is your business withers and dies.

In this article, you’ll learn the stages of the Growth Blueprint and the key markers for progressing from one stage to the next.  The Growth Blueprint is a simple way of understanding how to think about your business to discern its current growth stage and how to spend your limited resources—time, energy, and money.

The growth stages from a seed to a beautiful, bountiful garden.

Stage 0: Seed to Start – Proving It’s Possible

Goal: Get Customer One

When I was very young, before I could read “big words,” I would peruse the seed catalogs that began arriving every January and circle what I wanted my parents to order for the summer garden.

Seeds are magical packets of pure potential just waiting for someone to provide soil, water, warmth, and sunlight to break free. Once a seed sprouts, it’s called a “start.”

A great business idea is the same: a container of pure potential, just waiting for someone to apply a few right actions to get a start.

In a business, you have a “start” when you have sold the simplest possible package of your idea to Customer One. Congratulations! You have the start of what may become a thriving business!

Now it’s time to move on to the Proving Your Concept by repeating the same prospect-to-customer process until you have a minimally viable number of customers. This is the stage during which your tiny, undifferentiated start begins to mature into a full-fledged plant with a clearly recognizable structure.

Stage 1: Start to Producing Plant – Proving Your Concept

Goal: Fill the one-on-one client roster

Plants can’t grow without water, and businesses can’t grow without cash. One-on-one clients bring the highest income for your time investment. Delivering your product one-on-one is the most efficient way to get cash flowing in your business.

In Stage 1, you are developing and refining your brand, messaging, and niche and starting to grow your list. All good! You are growing in perfect, sustainable timing into your bigger vision for yourself and your business.

You will know it is time to move to the next stage, Stage 2: Proving Results, when your monthly revenue covers:

  1. Your current business expenses (which should be minimal at this stage), plus
  2. Your personal, minimally viable income requirement, plus
  3. An additional 25% of the above-combined total for the investments you’ll need to make in the next stage

Patience is the key to growing a business through this stage. It is natural to be excited and want to push things along more quickly. Being patient and observing market signals so you can make adjustments as needed is critical. You want your plant to bloom or bear fruit NOW, but shortcutting the process will only create struggle, diminish results, and could lead to failure.

Stage 2: Plant to Flowers and Fruits – Proving Results

Goal: MORE Sales through packaging and automation

Now that you’ve demonstrated that you can do everything necessary to grow a producing plant, you need more plants! The challenge is you’ve maxed out the number of hours in the day, and your rates are as high as the market will bear.

How can you grow when you’re personally at max?

The answer is leverage. This stage is about creating leverage with automation and changes to how you deliver your product or service, i.e., “package,” from a one-to-one package to one that allows for one-to-many.

For businesses that provide personal or professional development, are a service provider or consultant, a topic expert, or a thought leader options include group coaching programs, courses or training programs, live workshops or events, a membership, etc.

Once you have repackaged your offer into a one-to-many package, you’ll leverage the right business automation software. Automation is most powerful when you manually automate processes you have established and proven.

For example, you’ve now had so many one-on-one sales conversations that you could do one in your sleep. You’ve tracked that no matter how different your prospects seem, they ask nearly identical questions and present nearly identical objections. In turn, you now know the right responses that can most effectively convert a prospect to a buyer.

Congratulations! You are ready to implement an email follow-up sequence that automates much of the time-sucking process of addressing objections and getting prospects to buy.

Stage 2 is all about increasing the yield of your proven concept. It’s important to note that Stage 2 is not the time to create offers or try to tap new markets–and you’ll be tempted to do just that! Put those ideas – those new seeds – in a safe place. You’ll be ready to sprout them soon enough.

Stage 3: Growing a Garden – Proving Scale-ability

Goal: Implementing a strategic plan for scalable growth and profit.

It’s working. You’ve proven your concept and created leverage to increase your yield. You have automated sales, happy customers, and consistent revenue. It’s time to bring the many ideas you’ve carefully stored in a cool, dark place to the table and create a strategic plan of action to realize your vision for your business and life.

Beautiful, thriving gardens start with a design and a plan of action for implementing that design. Savvy gardeners know you can’t throw a handful of random seeds into the dirt and expect a productive garden to manifest. The result would be a frustrating hodgepodge of underperforming plants destined to be abandoned to the weeds.

Instead, good gardeners carefully design their gardens, thinking through all the details, and then map out a plan to realize their vision. We know exactly what we will plant, where we will plant it, what we will plant with it, and when. Nothing but the weather is left to chance—and we even plan for that.

Successful gardeners also accept that the bigger our vision for our garden, the more time it will take to actualize fully, and we are okay with that. We know how to be actively patient; we know better than to try and shortcut the process embedded in nature’s sequenced blueprint.

Successful entrepreneurs who have taken their seed idea to a productive 7—or 8-figure business know this, too. Realizing the full scope of your big vision takes time.

We support entrepreneurs who have reached this exciting stage in their business by helping you take inventory of all the ideas you’ve patiently collected, organizing them into a Customer Journey, and then working with you to develop a strategic plan for implementing and launching new offers and expanding into new markets.

This stage is when all your hard work begins to pay off, and you can step back and say, “Wow! I did it!”

grow your money tree

Free Training!

MORE Sales: 5 Essential Questions Every Business Owner Must Answer About Their Product So You Can Craft Your Perfect Pitch

Walk through the same process we use with our premium clients to craft clear, compelling offers that convert!

Success! Please check your email inbox for a confirmation of request email.