Wouldn’t it be great if any new thing we try gives us the result we want straight away, like applying a new strategy in our business or learning a new skill?
As business owners, the harsh reality is that most things we try in our businesses often do not give us the outcomes we want straight away. In fact, most things will not or do not work. I once heard the concept of marketing described as an experiment where over 80% of the things we try will fail. I don’t know about you but for me, that can be pretty disheartening.
When I first started my business, I was quite naive. Having had years of experience in managing large multi-million dollar manufacturing operations, I thought I would be able to apply the same methodologies to build a small business around what I loved to do. Unfortunately, I found out soon enough that building a profitable business starting from scratch required a new mindset, new strategies and new actions.
And for the first few years, there were more challenging times than good times. Through those difficult periods, there was one principle that kept me motivated and moving forward, one step at a time.
The principle that kept me going is known as the bamboo principle. Here is summary of this principle and how I applied it to my building my business.
When bamboo is planted, it takes anywhere between four to seven years for it to form its root system and establish a strong foundation in order for it to grow fully. In that period of time, there is hardly anything to see for the effort that has been put it. In other words, there aren’t any results to enjoy. Multiple seasons will come and go, yet there are no results!
However, once the roots are firmly established under the ground, and as soon as bamboo shoots out of the ground, in a matter of weeks, it can grow to over 10 feet tall. So for years there is nothing to see, yet in just a few weeks, there is an abundance of bamboo to enjoy.
The question is: Did it take just a few weeks for the bamboo to grow or did it take years?
The obvious answer is without strong foundations in place, the bamboo could not grow to the height it does. This same principle is so applicable to building a business.
Initially when I started my business, there weren’t any results to brag about. There was more failures than success. However, I understood that I needed to have strong foundations in place in order to have a successful business in the long term. That required me to develop new habits, form a new mindset around continual learning and personal development, plus it made me seek out teachers, mentors and coaches who had achieved what I wanted to achieve. It was all a slow and gradual process.
Whenever things were not working out as I had expected, I’d always remind myself of the bamboo principle and make any adjustments necessary. The interesting thing is I don’t think I will ever feel that the roots of my business are in fully place meaning that I know there is always something I can improve or do better. It can be dangerous to start thinking that I don’t need to learn anymore and become complacent. Hence, I am committed to constantly learning new things and improving what I do and how I do it.
I cannot stress how important it is to have strong business foundations in place whether that is the right attitude or mindset, the right focus and actions, the right marketing and the right people.
Here are some quick points that can summarise the bamboo principle.
- There is no overnight success. We tend to be in an instant gratification society where we want everything now. The truth is anyone who is successful worked hard for their success. There are no shortcuts! It will be more beneficial in the long run to have strong foundations in place.
- When results are not achieved, remember the Law of Gender. There are many other names by which the bamboo principle is also known. There is a saying, “You reap what you sow” which means that your rewards are in direct proportion to the effort you put in. Another one is the Law of Gender, which states that every seed has a gestation or incubation period. In other words, a certain period of time must elapse before an idea manifests as reality.
- Create and adjust. Just because something has not worked now, it doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t ever work. Chances are, it’s in the process of happening. Sometimes all it takes is a little adjustment in the approach for it to work. Therefore create, receive feedback and adjust. Then repeat.
Having a strong, positive mindset is really what will get us through the difficult or challenging times. The bamboo principle is really about establishing a strong personal foundation, which can support us as we manoeuvre our way through rough or turbulent times. Just remind yourself of this principle if you’re ever discouraged or disheartened.
Question: What was your main takeaway after reading about the bamboo principle?
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