Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Parable of the Marketing Garden

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I love a good parable. It’s a great way to explain sometimes complex topics in terms that everyone can relate to. So here is my Parable of the Marketing Garden…

A farmer was working away in his fields, harvesting his crops and raking in the cash. Life was good. Living was easy. Suddenly, a storm blew through his acreage changing the landscape of his farm forever. His cash crop was destroyed and he had no other crops to harvest.

In desperation, he threw some seeds into the dirt and stood by hoping against hope that a crop would once again grow. As he anxiously awaited signs of growth times grew dark at the farmhouse. The roof needed fixing and the youngsters needed new shoes. Still the farmer waited, hoping against hope.

As he was passing his neighbor’s house one day, he noticed that her garden was in beautiful bloom and she seemed to have an endless supply of fresh vegetables to harvest. The farmer stopped by and asked her what her secret was.

She replied, “During the growing season I plant some seeds each week so I always have something ripening every week during the harvest. That way I always know I have more vegetables coming. And I plant different kinds in case one crop should fail. That way I know I’ll always have something to eat.”

Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking because they’re busy, they don’t need to market. So, they often find themselves at a loss when suddenly the work dries up. Marketing is the number one way for a small business to ensure a constant stream of customers.

Often, I see professionals working their hearts out to create success for others without creating success for themselves. They often find themselves suddenly out of work and struggling with cash flow problems. They become like the farmer who suddenly realizes that he needs a crop fast. And business is like farming—things happen in their own time, not when you need them to happen. Developing a constant stream of business takes work and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Try viewing marketing as planting a garden. Decide what you want to achieve (a great harvest of steady business). Prepare the soil (develop your marketing materials, tap into your network). And systematically plant your seeds (this week I will send out 25 sales letters to my target market or I will seek out one speaking engagement per month). Don’t stop when you get enough business. Keep systematically tending your marketing garden.

Some of the seeds you plant will not grow. Some will grow better than others. So, it’s important to plant a variety and to track how each performs. Once you establish a good garden bed, the gardening becomes much easier with each year. It’s the difference between spending a little time on garden maintenance and trying to reclaim Sleeping Beauty’s garden from the thorny hedges that grow as a result of years of neglect.

The moral of the story? Marketing means you make more, you make it more regularly, and you make it more easily. That’s a harvest you can really sink your teeth into!

Until next time,
Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.

P.S. If you need help with your Marketing Garden, stop by my brand spanking new website at and check out my new results driven consulting package called “Help! My Business Dried Up. Now What Do I Do?” For the first time ever, I’m offering consulting with *GUARANTEED* RESULTS*!