1. Watch where you step. In a farm full of animals, it was always a good idea to watch where you step. In marketing, it’s easy to step into something without first taking a good look! With all the resources on the web, there are more marketing activities/strategies than you can count. It’s tempting to try out several, but examining the strategy to see if it really fits with your brand will prevent potential problems later.
2. If you want to eat, put a lot of work into it. No one said living on a farm was easy and no one said marketing was easy either. Allocate time for marketing, whether it’s returning phone calls, updating your web site or social media, networking, writing articles . . . whatever your marketing plan calls for, work hard at it. After all, that’s the only way to pay your grocery bill and eat!
3. Keep an eye on the crops. I remember my dad examining his emerging crop each year after planting and worrying that he’d have a crop failure. He never did; in fact every year, the yield surpassed the previous year. Your “crop” is your business and, like dad did, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the "crop" to see if your goals are being met.
4. Growing crops takes time. I often think that my dad excelled at patience as he waiting for the crops to grow. Growing a business takes time also. While we’re anxious for the silver bullet and quick fix, they don’t exist. Be patient and allow time for the business to grow!
5. Not every job on the farm is pleasant. Cleaning the chicken house was never one of my favorite jobs but if I was to reap the benefits of selling the eggs, cleaning was part of the job. There are undoubtedly things you don’t like to do in your business, but they are necessary nevertheless. If you can afford it, outsource those tasks that you are either not good at or have no desire to learn! or just do it!
6. Listen to your dad. Dad was a pretty smart guy even though he lacked a formal education. As I look back, he had some pearls of wisdom that will stay with me forever. For your business, find a mentor to share your thoughts and questions. My mentors are vital when I consider a new program or product or just have a general question.
7. There's always risk involved in whatever you do. On the farm the risks were many – investing in seed and fertilizer and having weather problems that prevent planting or harvesting, for example. Business is a risk in and of itself – the state of the economy being a big risk for most businesses. Have a fallback plan in case things don’t go as anticipated.
8. Save for a rainy day. As a little kid, I remember my dad giving me an allowance and urging me to save half of it. It was hard to do then and it’s hard to do now in business. Business can be like a roller coaster – up some months and down others. Save during the good months to carry you through the bad.
9. It’s ok to ask for help. One of fondest memories of growing up on the farm is “haying season” when neighbors would gather to help each other “put up” hay. It meant hearing the other farmers talk around the lunch table and learning from them. One of my favorite farmer friends even taught me to rake hay one summer, something I’ll probably never do again, but it was fun at the time. In business, I’ve found that when I need help of some kind, I just have to ask! Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
10. Eat three squares a day. My mom was truly a country cook and prepared three square meals a day for my dad to nourish him as he worked.To translate this into business, take care of yourself. Your business won’t succeed if you are not able to do the job. Exercise, eat properly and take a vacation now and then! It’s good for you and your business!
How has your upbringing influenced your career? Let me know!