by Julie Wolk
What if, instead of feeling overwhelming, growing your business could feel as natural as the growth of a plant or tree?
This post is about relaxing into a natural process to grow your businesses organically by:
- Starting with a powerful core vision – the Seed,
- Putting down the Roots of a solid business concept and model,
- And continuing to follow the fundamental natural cycle of growth, maturation, and rebirth.
Natural cycles are engrained in us, whether we notice them or not.
The cycles of a day, of the seasons, and of our lifetimes are the most routine things on earth – and we are part of the earth.
In fact, I would say that pretty much everything can be tracked around the natural cycle… how we learn, how we build community, and how we start and grow a business.
So, since pretty much everything is a circle, let’s stop thinking in lines and start thinking in circles. And spirals!
Because here’s the coolest part: as an evolving person and business owner who is constantly growing and changing, you get to circle round the wheel again, further and further refining your gifts, your business, and your life each time. Like an upward (inward?) spiral (like Tad’s Niching Spiral!).
Don’t get me wrong, you CAN create a business with even one pass around the wheel, but for those of us on a personal growth path, it’s actually a relief that we get to go around again. We can relax knowing business and life-building is an iterative process – there is no moment of “arrival” or perfection – and that we are constantly evolving; just as a tree grows, blossoms, fruits, sheds its seeds, takes a rest, and sprouts again.
Stage 1: So What’s this Natural Business Cycle and Where Does it Begin?
The Natural Business Cycle meshes essential business development processes with the life cycle of a plant.
And just like a plant, our businesses start with a Seed. And seeds are totally magical – right? I mean, all of that possibility inside a tiny little speck. A whole oak tree, or a gorgeous lily, or a sweet blackberry bush. The seed is a mystery. It’s all about potential and vision.
As a conscious business owner, mission-driven entrepreneur or however you categorize yourself, I have a feeling that your business began from a seed. From a vision. From something that came from way beyond you in some mysterious place. A vision was planted inside of you, and your business is an outgrowth of that. A special gift or talent was bestowed upon you… and it’s unclear how. Why am I so damn good at organizing things?? I don’t get it. That’s the magic of it.
And when you tap into that vision, or that unique gift that was given to you, then you can create a business that you love.
I always say that if you’re a remotely conscious human and you’re going to start a business, you best take the time to align that business with your vision and unique gifts, or a few years will go by and you will really be wondering what went wrong – why you’re exhausted, not making money, or feeling stuck and uninspired.
But if we nest our businesses inside our deepest visions and gifts and create a business model from that place, we are so much more likely to succeed and thrive.
Here are some questions to ponder to help you get to know your vision and gifts:
- What’s my vision of an ideal world? No holds barred.
- What are my greatest gifts? What comes so easily to me I could do it with my eyes closed? What makes me lose track of time?
- What’s my purpose? Don’t get too tripped up on this one… Try filling in the blanks: I am the ___________________________ who ________________________________.
- What’s my mission? In other words… what’s the strategy I want to use to offer my gift to the world? What do I want to offer?
- WHY do I do this work? What makes me care so damn much?
Answer these questions whether you have a business or if you are just starting out. How does it feel to clarify your vision?
This stage of business growth corresponds really nicely to Tad’s Steps 1 and 2 of the Niching Spiral.
Stage 2 – Setting Down Roots
Ok, so we have a vision. We know our gifts. We’re ready to build a business. Stage 2 is all about putting down Roots.
Imagine a BIG ol’ tree. Did you know that there are as many roots below the surface as there are branches above the surface? Truth.
Your business needs Roots. It needs a solid foundation built upon a powerful vision.
This stage is super important, and people tend to gloss over it. I make all my clients do a Seed and Roots process with me before we dive into coaching and the rest of the cycle, because I am so clear that defining this stuff is foundational to a successful business.
Here are a few of the things that we figure out in the Roots Stage:
- What’s my special sauce? How do I offer my product or service that’s different from everyone else?
- Who is my ideal customer? Who do I really want to help, and what are their challenges and desires?
- What are all the amazing benefits and results that I provide for my customers?
- What are my business goals, both financially and in terms of impact?
- What is the business model that will allow me to achieve those goals?
- And, what administrative systems must I create and what help must I get to build a successful business?
When we know the answers to these questions, then it’s time to go public with a brand, message, and marketing strategy that align with our Vision (Seed) and our Strategy (Roots).
This stage of business growth corresponds really nicely to Tad’s Steps 3, 4 and 5 of the Niching Spiral.
Stage 3 and Beyond
Of course, there are more stages to a plant’s life, and more stages to manifest a business from a Seed. We’ll have to leave those for another blog post.
But the bottom line is that having a system like the Natural Business Cycle provides a logical order of operations, a structure to lean into, and a place to start.
For overwhelmed business owners, knowing where you are in the process and focusing on that stage, instead of worrying about what’s to come, can by itself be a huge relief.
When we slow down and tune in to the cycles of nature, we gain a lot: patience, for one, and the understanding of what organic or natural growth really is — that one thing follows another, and we can’t do it all at once.
If you’re interested in creating or growing your business through the lens of the Natural Business Cycle, please get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation to see if we’re a fit for individual coaching. I love helping consultant-experts, teacher-guides, holistic practitioners and other mission-driven entrepreneurs who truly have gifts to give, really rock the business side so they can thrive.
Bio: Julie Wolk, Business Coach, CPCC: For 15 years, I’ve worked with talented business-owners, visionary leaders, and passionate change-makers who have gifts to give. My clients draw from the business and nonprofit worlds and are teacher-guides, consultant-experts, holistic healers, and other mission-driven entrepreneurs. I facilitate the creation of transformative and connective experiences, programs, businesses, and organizations. I move easily from idea to action, I love the way structure creates more freedom, and I get totally lit up encouraging people to follow their passions and offer their gifts and visions to the world. I’m a natural leader, and I plan businesses in my sleep. (Literally. It’s hard sometimes). I am co-founder and former co-director of a thriving nonprofit dedicated to reconnecting people to the earth.