Friday, July 08, 2016

Stand in the orchard and give the tree a good shake

Shaking an apple tree is one of life’s magnificent experiences. 

There’s the excitement of locating the most prolific tree in the orchard. There’s the anticipation of gripping the trunk and steadying your legs for the drop. There’s the exhilaration of shaking the tree and feeling the unrivaled sensation of the apples thumping off your head and onto the ground. There’s enthusiasm of gathering the biggest and best ones into your bag. And finally, there’s the gratification of cooking and eating your own apple pie later that night. 

It doesn’t get much better than that. 

In fact, every entrepreneur in the world should be required to go apple picking as part of their training. It’s a perfect metaphor for how business works. Because apples can fall unpredictably into your lap, but it’s much more likely to happen if you go stand in the orchard and give the tree a good shake. 

Luther actually made a brilliant observation about this very process. Here’s what he said over five hundred years ago:

First I shake the whole apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf. 

Who knew the leader of the protestant reformation knew so much about business? 

And yet, it’s a strategy that veteran entrepreneurs forget. We assume that our reputation and portfolio and platform and client history and positive word of mouth and accumulation of value in the marketplace will speak for itself and create a force of gravity that allows apples to magically fall into our lap. 

Which can be true, but not consistently. There are no guarantees in business, only gambles. 

And so, doing a great job and waiting for the phone to ring is no longer sustainable business model. We actually have to get out there give the tree a good shake. Every single day.

Otherwise we might go hungry. 


How many people did you ask to buy your product yesterday? 
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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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