Are you into weeds or flowers?

Business development is a lot like gardening: If you don’t take consistent, intentional steps to create the results you want, you’ll have to settle for what you get.

Your results will be ugly if you don't plan and implement well.Whether you’re growing a business or growing a garden, you have two choices: You can do it by design or by default. Design takes more effort but ultimately produces lovely results. Default is easier—seductively so—but the results are often ugly. Even worse, if you eventually realize you need to step in and take a more active hand in creating what you want, you’re faced with a lot of damage control, which is always harder than simple ongoing maintenance.

If it’s design (or re-design) time in your world, here’s a simple plan to follow.

Will your business garden be comprised of one-on-one services, workshop presentations, a brick-and-mortar store, a nationwide retail presence…? It’s vital to remember that the nuts and bolts of your business are ultimately less important than how you will feel as a result of that business. In other words, the work you do and the money you earn are primarily means to the real goal, the reason why you created your business. That big “why” is what will drive all your best business decisions. (For a fascinating synopsis of the power of “why”, check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk.)

There are different ways to determine what will go into your business garden. Look for an unmet need in the marketplace. Assess your current skills and clearly identify what value bring to clients. Identify the type of clients for whom you do your best work and with whom you most enjoy interacting.

Consistency is key. Stay in regular contact with your prospects and clients. Ensure that your marketing communications focus on how your services will make your prospect feel better. Provide high-value, actionable information in your content marketing. Include a strong (not pushy) call to action in your marketing. Respond quickly to communications from both clients and prospects.

Great results require consistent, intentional action.When you deliver targeted services or products with high perceived value for your ideal clients, everyone wins. They’re relieved and grateful you solved their painful problems. You’re able to bask in the intrinsic satisfaction of work well done and in the knowledge that you’re successfully funding your big “why”.

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So…How’s your garden looking? Is it thriving and giving you as much satisfaction as you once imagined? Or is it looking kind of weedy because you’re reluctant to get your hands dirty? Please share your best ways of dealing with the inevitable ups and downs of creating a business garden to be proud of.

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