How is weeding the lawn like running a business – Lessons in backyard philosophy.

November 13, 2017 | posted in: Legal and Business Articles & Blog, Lighter Side | by

What do weeding the lawn and running a business have in common?
Sometimes, on the weekend, I like to weed the lawn with my kids. Not only does it help me relax, but it gives me a chance to teach my kids – and myself – valuable lessons in running a business.

Like what?
Well, some time ago, I realized that all those weeds compete with grass for resources like water, nutrients, and sunlight. That’s the reason we get rid of them in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with weeds, by the way – on an empty lot, they can look terrific. But in the middle of my lawn, they just don’t belong.
And every weed you leave in place has the potential to steal those precious resources from the grass. If I don’t take care of things and pay attention to the weeds, the grass will die.
The same thing happens in business. If you think of your ideal clients as the “grass,” it’s easy to see that if you don’t weed out the clients who are not the perfect match for your business, you’ll end up wasting a lot of precious resources on clients who aren’t right for you.
Is there a client you’re putting a lot of energy into who you sense just doesn’t “belong” with the way you do business?

Maybe you’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, but even if you haven’t, you’ll know it right away: it states that 20% of the effort will yield 80% of the results. That’s why it’s so important on the one hand, to nurture the clients who fit with the way you do business, and on the other hand, to filter out those who tend to monopolize our attention without bringing results.
Thinking this over (as I weeded, of course!), I decided to start referring clients who didn’t fit my business to outside connections. Anyone who isn’t an ideal client for my business, I now refer to another skilled lawyer who can do a great job handling their personal circumstances.

This decision felt right to me, but it was still scary to put into practice. My income plummeted as I started turning away clients eagerly seeking representation – how could I not question whether I was doing the right thing? But on the other hand, I started realizing I now had more time to put into the clients I had, and those I was still taking on, and to develop my business at the same time.
So with a little backyard philosophizing, I guess you could say that I “weeded” my business. I pulled out the weeds – clients who didn’t fit perfectly – so I could offer more water, air, and nutrients to the clients I did have, and to my company in general. And most importantly, I’ve never looked back.
If you’re running a business and notice that the grass seems greener in other businesses’ backyards – they’re not chasing every single client; they have the time and attention to handle each matter with care and professionalism; they seem to be making more with less work – then think about it. It could be time to do a little weeding of your own.

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