I love business analogies. Connecting familiar, yet very different, concepts helps to bring about greater understanding to complicated topics. For example, I compare my marketing services offering Second Opinions to that of a doctor. I’ve also compared the growth problems Starbucks is having to that of a garden needing weeding and pruning before it can achieve healthy growth again.
A credit union I know uses an interesting analogy to describe how they prep for future growth of opening new branches by saying, “Before we put up branches, we put down roots.” In other words, they lay down a foundation of community involvement long before they build a new branch of their credit union.
It’s a smart perspective and perfect for inclusion in my on-going series of business book summaries in less than 300 words.
A business is like a tree. The roots of a “business tree” symbolize the strategic focus and future direction the organization is designed to grow. The trunk stands for the entire body of knowledge a business possesses. Branches stand for each department within a business. Twigs represent outside suppliers. And leaves on each branch symbolize employees.
With proper nourishment, the “business tree” will achieve healthy growth by growing steadily, optimally, and profitably. With neglect, the “business tree” will never reach its potential and eventually die.
To “weather the forces of change” that naturally occur in the marketplace, the healthiest “business trees” have a management culture that takes the time “to understand how the company has grown” and analyzes “the relationship of each branch, twig, and leaf to the others.”
Healthy, nourished, and growing business trees always:
1. Give customers products/services they cannot get elsewhere
2. Offer products/services at reasonable prices
3. Have leaders whose can-do spirit seeps throughout the total organization
4. Create an employee culture based upon trust and empowerment
5. Respond to the always-shifting winds in the marketplace
6. Foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing between all departments
7. Realize success is not an entitlement, but rather the by-product of smart and ethical growth strategies
Just like all healthy trees grow, all healthy businesses will grow. Proper nourishment is the key and companies that “plan to grow and grow by the plan” will build strong roots with a dense trunk, creating a regenerative and expanding system of branches, twigs, and leaves.
WORD COUNT: 250
[NOTE: I often receive free copies of biz books from publishers and publicists. However, I spent my money for my copy of THE BUSINESS TREE.]