E62: The 4 Seasons of Business Growth

You need to figure out what rest means in your business because you can't keep going on an endless cycle.”

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

There are seasons for everything, even business. Today we look at the evolution of business in four different seasons and what it looks like for entrepreneurs to plant, cultivate, harvest, and rest in their business.

In the planting season, we look at what it means to put your seeds of ideas in the ground and create the foundation for your business. We then move into cultivation and discuss what it means to nurture the relationships we’ve built and the audience we’re gathering. Next, we move into the third season, which is harvesting. When you have planted and nurtured the seeds of your business, you will then be able to harvest the fruit of your labor. That means that you’re going to have clients, you might get brand partnerships, you might be asked to do a keynote speech, or you might be asked to collaborate. All those things are coming because you planted and cultivated the seeds for your business and focused on growing them.

In this episode, we also talk about the importance of having a season of rest and how this fits into our seasons of business. We often forget to rest before we plant new seeds, which can lead to stress and overwhelm. Instead, I encourage you to intentionally build in time for rest into your seasons of business.

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • [01:33] The planting season and how Asha is doing this in her own business
  • [03:21] The cultivating season and what this involves
  • [05:52] The bounty of business in the harvesting season
  • [06:47] Why harvesting can be overwhelming
  • [07:20] The season of rest and why it can be so hard to do this
  • [08:44] Asha’s advice on the challenge of finding a good time to rest
  • [10:09] Why you should take stock of what season you’re in and focus on being in one season at a time

Resources Mentioned:

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[00:00:00] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy. 

Here’s the thing: The wealth gap in America is consistently increasing, and while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle can change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth. I’ve run my own law firm for over ten years, and in that time I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in.

[00:00:43] AW: Hey, family. I hope that you are doing well. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the Podcast. I am super excited to have you here. This week’s episode is talking about the four seasons of growing your business. I was thinking about this, because today actually, I was listening to another podcast that was talking about development as women and the time to plant, and the time to harvest. It made a bunch of biblical references, which also have a lot to do with the natural growing season of plants and life and things like that. I thought, you know what, that actually applies to business. I thought about it for a little bit, and then decided, I could certainly break down the growth and evolution of business into four different seasons. So this is what I’m about to bring you today. I hope you enjoy. 

All right, so the first season of growing a business is planting. That is the stage where you are putting your seeds of ideas or creating the foundation for your business and really putting it into the ground. It might be that you are garnering attention for this business idea that you have while you work to actually build the business, right? It might be that you are doing the groundwork of building the business. Right now, I feel like I’m in a planting stage, because I have joined a networking group called BNI. If anyone is interested in what BNI is, let me know. I will tell you all about it. 

I am planting the seed in a new community about my coaching and business services. I’m putting the seeds in different places. So in the networking group, I’m also working with other organizations that already work with entrepreneurs and showing up and doing business and legal trainings. I am doing workshops for folks for myself, for my audience, and for other organizations. I’m really planting the seed and this is what I do, right? 

You might be in a planting phase, or you may be beyond the planting phase, you may have already done that, but it’s really that attentional input of yourself into a community or before other people who may be your potential clients that really foundational stage of growing this idea, this very beginning part of your business. 

Sometimes the planting stage is hard, and we get excited about it for about two or three weeks. Then we’re like come on, where’s the harvest? How come I’m not seeing any fruit for my labor yet? But sometimes you have to plant for a while, and really, which brings us to the next step is cultivate those seeds that you planted. 

Number two, is the cultivation stage. Number one is planting. Number two, the second season is cultivation. That is nurturing those relationships. That’s following up with people that you’ve met. That’s continuing to show up and nurture your audience. One of the activities that I do that’s part of the cultivation in my business is this podcast that you’re listening to. I’ve planted the seed a while back that I am a business coach that helps black and Latinx entrepreneurs, or centers, the stories of black and Latinx folks to help build a business and leave a legacy. Now my work on the podcast or when I answer questions for people when I publish another blog post, that is the cultivation phase. 

I am continuing to give information. I’m watering those seeds that I planted so that you and other people will continue to be able to grow in my little ecosystem of running this business. It may include trimming some things that no longer fit or that might be draining. I’m also in a stage of that right now. It may include watering some relationships. It may include fertilizing some relationships, right? Maybe you need to give a little bit extra over here, because you really want this seed that you planted to sprout and grow. 

I can’t tell you where that needs to be in your business. It’s going to be different for everybody. Part of it is going to play to your strengths and where you like to show up. Another part of it is going to be when you actually look at your data and see where are you getting the best return on your investment or where do you think you’re going to get the best return on your investment.

I have a really good friend that I actually grew up with. I met my friend Jessica in high school. She’s got a little baby boy, my little nephew named Hugo who’s just about to be one year old. He is absolutely the light of my life, apple of my eye. I say that about all my friends that have babies, but it is so true. He’s the youngest one right now, just absolutely adorable. Jessica and her husband got a plot, a gardening plot at the gardens in Lake Merritt. It’s a toddler plot, right? A couple of weeks before that, they were out there tilling the soil, right, making it ready to be able to plant the seeds. 

A week ago, I was out there with them, mainly watching the baby. They were planting the seeds. Hugo was doing his thing playing in the dirt. Then this past week, they went back to water and to fertilize and they’re cultivating that, because the next phase will be that harvesting phase. 

Oftentimes you want to get to the harvesting phase right after we plant. First is planting, second is cultivating. The third stage is harvesting. When you have planted and nurtured the seeds that you have planted, you will then be able to harvest the fruit of your labor, right? Your tree is going to grow. It’s going to sprout. What does that look like? That means that you’re going to have clients that start to sign up for you, you might get brand partnerships, you might be asked to be a guest speaker, you might be asked to do a keynote speech or you might be asked to collaborate. 

All of those things are coming, because you planted and cultivated the seeds for your business and made them or assisted them or focused on growing them. Now you can take the fruit, the results, the benefit of the work that you put in, in those first two stages. 

Harvesting can feel great. That’s like, when the money comes in, when the partnerships come in, or again, you can really see the fruit of your labor. We of course want to ride that wave as long as possible. After the harvesting, comes the rest. Harvesting takes a lot of energy. Harvesting is a busy season. It can often feel good, but sometimes it can be overwhelming, because you might be working really hard busier than you thought you ever would be, right? Your time and attention is divided amongst many things. After that harvesting stage comes the stage of rest. 

That’s the fourth stage, that is the stage that is the hardest for me to really lean into, because whatever messages we get from our family, whatever messages we get from society or social media. There’s a little bit of a trend talking about resting, but not that big of a trend that’s talking about resting. It is really important for you to figure out what rest means in your business, because you can’t keep going on in the cycle. If you don’t allow yourself to rest and reset. I mean, there’s no plant. There’s no gardening guru, or botanical genius that will tell you that there isn’t a season where their fields or their crops or their gardening plot isn’t resting back in the day would be when you would burn the field to try and make the soil a little bit more nutrient dense, right? That can be considered a time of resting.

I’m not telling you to burn your business, but I’m telling you, whatever that looks like for you, whatever rest looks like for you, lean into it. That doesn’t mean that you do nothing, but maybe that means that you let it coast for a little bit. Maybe you pull and scale back for a little bit, because the next phase is to start the cycle all over again. Is to plant a new seed, cultivate it, harvest it, and then rest again. 

I was talking to another friend of mine yesterday who does digital marketing. He’s helping businesses that are really focused on pain management for folks who might have arthritis or bone and joint issues. He was saying that Medicare, the Medicare reimbursements are changing. So a lot of the doctors he’s working with are not receiving as much money. So they’re thinking they’re going to have to pay a pullback on the advertising. 

It made me think of I was telling him, I was like, “The thing about entrepreneurship is that I think most of us think we’ll get to a stage where we can really just rest or we’ve made it, right? We don’t have to figure it out anymore. We’ve done it, but there’s always a new problem, or what has worked for a number of years eventually may need to be changed and updated. So there’s always going to be a time to replant to change the offer a little bit, to change the service. Maybe you’re changing the audience and oftentimes it reflects a personal growth on what you’ve decided that you want to do and where you want to go. Oftentimes it’s also an industry growth like this where Medicare or Medicaid isn’t reimbursing his target audience like it was before. Now they’re a little bit hesitant to spend as much money on the marketing services. 

There’s a always going to be a time where you are planting, cultivating, harvesting. Please, please, please don’t skip the time of rest. 

So whatever season you are in in your business right now. I want you to just think about that. What is the season? Can you name it? Can you own it? Then when you recognize what season you’re in. Think about what comes next and really step fully into that season. I would say, focus on being in one season at a time. I found that when I am trying to do too many things I believe in doing simple business, right, try and do just one thing, not a whole bunch of things. That’s also so that you can give yourself 100% to planting when you need to plant and not planting in one area and then harvesting in the other area, right? It’s hard to keep spending that time and energy if it’s split among a number of different things. 

Again, last time, I’ll repeat it for you, because I think you all have it. There’s four seasons of business development and growth. The first one is planting. Then you move into cultivating. Then the exciting season of harvesting, but then don’t forget rest. That is just as important as all of the other stages. Alright y’all, I hope you have a fantastic week. I will meet you back here same time, same place in the next seven days. Ciao. Ciao.


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