Most things grow slowly. Humans, plants, trees, and most businesses.

In a business, it takes time to develop a reputation, market intelligence, a culture, efficient operations, and your skill as an entrepreneur.

There are tricks and shortcuts to compress the time needed to grow. But it’s important to understand that for many business activities there’s an incubation period.

You have an intense initial investment. Then the task transforms to tending. Tending is slow and can seem fruitless, but it’s a critical step before cultivation arrives.

To be clear, I’m not advocating for doing something that isn’t working based on the faith that things will magically change after a period of time. Because during the tending phase, things should be changing quickly. It just doesn’t have the same investment of energy as starting up.

For example, it takes time, money, and energy to hire an employee. Once hired, they’re not 100% effective. But the energy required to coach or manage them should be much less than the selection process.

The challenge of the tending period is that it’s fruitless. Change is occurring, but you’re not seeing the return on investment.

But things still need to be cared for. You can’t step completely back, you need to have a process or person in place to keep dripping energy and attention into the activity so that it can evolve to a place where it produces value. It doesn’t require a lot, but it does require something.

Featured image is of a gardner at work – Hausbuch der Mendelschen Zwölfbrüderstiftung, Band 2. Nürnberg 1550–1791. Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, Amb. 317b.2 Used under Public Domain