Ask any experienced gardener or farmer and they will tell you their most frequently asked question in the beginning was not how to, but when to?
When shall I seed?
When shall I crop?
When do I remove weeds?
Prune the new growth?
And all the other not so obvious questions.
And if you don’t know the answers, you shouldn’t start planting, it’s really that simple.
That also reminds me of the time when my father used to drive me and my brother through the stunning Georgian countryside for our hugely anticipated spring holidays, late March, early April.
I would stare of our old black car, transfixed as I looked at nothing, but huge valleys and muddy soil, that resembled an empty brown canvas… waiting, ready to be painted by the local farmers.
Farmers in our village knew from the start of the season right up until the harvesting season precisely when to seed, when to plant, when to apply fertilizers, feed, weed, prune, protect and harvest!
Monochrome, plain, brown sleeping canvasses would slowly then quickly burst into life, tiny seeds would start to sprout and eventually become huge flowering plants.
Now interestingly just because seeds turned into plants, the very wise farmer would never abandon the garden or just leave it to look after itself, quite the opposite, quite the opposite, more seeding, more pruning, more weeding, even more nurturing would now take place.
And in no time at all, I would find myself running through same fields I saw from the car. The difference being now, the fields were packed with life, with foods, with flowers, cornfields, vine trees, baby green beans with sticky leaves, dark purple aubergines, warmed by the sun pink tomatoes, garden full of herbs…all of those wonderful gifts of creation had suddenly awaken and emerged, months after month after they organically were seeded.
It’s also very interesting, that longer farmers spent time seeding, cultivating the soil, more the land would give back at harvest time.
So what does farming have to do with marketing yoga and business you might ask?
As years past every aspect of business is a reminder of seeding, pruning, planting, growing…
Your yoga business is your garden, a garden that can shape your life and you are the farmer. the farmer of your business.
The farmer cannot harvest in October, unless they seed, feed, prune, at the right time, month by month, consistently and patiently, unless gardeners cure plant diseases, remove harmful weeds, add more seeds… so your business usually has to wait to see the fruits of your hard work, after months of planning, seeding and nourishing for success.
Just like the farmers have to be patient, slowly but inevitably, so do you in your business, even when you don’t see manifestation of your hard work into physical reality, whatever that might be for you, more clients, more students in the studio, more sign-ups for your next retreat, with the humble attitude, and consistent and diligent work you will eventually, but inevitably see the desired outcome.
So let’s take examples from the wise farmers, relate that to our business, carry on seeding, planting, growing.
And when the going gets tough, and you feel challenged, threatened and maybe ready to walk away, remember it should be, it is, it can be challenging, so appreciate the challenge absorb the lessons of the challenge and adapt yogic patience.
Like our wise yogi, Pattabhi Jois told us “do your practice and all is coming”.
You might ask, “I am patient and consistent but it is just not happening”, of course you might need to readjust your strategy, or find new tools and sometimes let go of those that no longer serve and move on, but that is a different topic, I will share with you another time.
But for now, I can not help but wonder, if us as yogis know that wisdom so well at least theoretically, and often in practice, why so many businesses fail to follow that wisdom when it comes to business and marketing yoga?
Here are three easy steps to stay grounded and patient in your yoga business. If you are new to business you can use it as a quick check up tips, or if you need to readjust your tactics you can use for just that.
1. Like the farmer, check the ground of your business, is it solid? can it survive? is it a profitable idea or just a hobby? Do I understand my market? How about competition? Do I have a competitive edge?
And if you struggle to answer those questions, get an expert advice.
2. Start seeding your business. If you need to market your business to get clients in August, don’t wait too long and then panic end of July, because you can not break even. Ask yourself, do I have the tools I need to sustain my business? Do I have time to focus on my marketing or do I need to seek help?
3. Plan your marketing and follow it through. Like a wise gardener, create your 12 months calendar to sow, plant, tackle any obstacles along the way.
Once you selected your business tools and strategy, follow it through, and don’t get disappointed when the phone does not ring instantly. Keep on doing your job, put the word out there, be flexible if need to, and watch what happens.
To your successful business gardening