The Parable of the Foolish Young Farmer

Person hands garden 169523Abe’s family were farmers. His father was a farmer, his uncles were farmers and for as long as he could remember, he wanted to be a farmer.

Abe would watch his father and uncles rise early each day and tend to their fields. He’d listen to the stories they’d tell at the dinner table and marvel at the harvest each year.

When Abe was old enough his father gave him some land and instructed his son to go to market and choose his crop. Abe was thrilled – he was going to be a farmer.At the market Abe spoke with all the different seed vendors and using the money he saved, chose his seeds.

Excitedly he returned home, clutching the bag of seed and placed it carefully on the shelf in his bedroom. The next day he would plant the seed.

The following morning he awoke and went downstairs for breakfast, his friend John was sitting at the table waiting for him.

Abe was excited to tell John all about the trip to the market, the vendors he’d met and the seed he chose. Abe dove into the story and John listened encouragingly. Time passed and before he realized it, the day was half over.

Abe decided to wait until tomorrow to start his future, and when John suggested they visit the local pub to share Abe’s good fortune, Abe readily agreed.

Now Abe’s father watched quietly and said nothing. Abe was a good young man, but easily distracted. And as the days passed with Abe talking about being a farmer, he forgot the cardinal rule of farmers: you need to plant the seed.

When Abe finally ‘found time’ from his busy-ness telling tall tales about how wealthy he’d become, the season was all but done.

Hurriedly, Abe planted the seeds. He felt good this task was out of the way. Now he truly was a farmer, or so he thought.

The next morning he looked at the land were his seeds were planted and saw nothing. Abe knew it takes time for the harvest so he went to find John to tell him what he’d done.

As the days passed, Abe forgot to tend his seeds and his father said nothing. Abe never watered the land, he figured the rain would do it for him – but there was little rain that season.

Abe didn’t take time to pull any weeds and soon they’d begun to overrun his crop. Choking the life from the new plants. Abe never chased away the rabbits and other animals keen to feast on the new plants. His crop struggled.

Abe thought he knew what it was to be a farmer. He’d been around them his whole life. He was wrong. Abe’s crop failed and he lost his investment. Abe’s father saw how upset his son was and took him aside.

“Abe, being a farmer isn’t about getting seeds or planting seeds. That’s the easy part. Being a farmer is about investing the time to water the seeds, nurture the seeds, protect the seeds and keep a close watch on them. Sure, your crop might grow if you’re lucky … but farming isn’t about luck. It’s about persistence, and most importantly it’s about putting in the effort to ensure your crop grows without pests, drought or other external influences destroying your hard work.”

“But Father, tending a crop takes too much time!”

“True enough Abe, it does. That’s why your uncles and I use technology. We have irrigation systems that water the land when we can’t. We have automated noise makers to scare off the birds and other animals that might want to eat the fresh plants. And when it comes time, we use harvesting machines to quickly and easily collect the fruits of our labour. Look son,” his father continued.

“Farming is about timing, systems and respecting the natural rhythms of nature. You can’t expect a harvest just because you have seeds.”

Or as I like to remind small business owners … LEADS.

Like the foolish young farmer, too many small business owners run around getting seeds (leads) and do little to nothing with them. Then they wonder why they have no crop (sales revenue.)

They’re too busy getting more seeds (leads) and too busy telling their friends about their busy-ness. They don’t invest the time in systems to protect the leads, or nurture the leads and when it comes time, they have nothing in place to harvest the few seed (leads) that survive and bloom.

Sure, investing in the systems of success takes money and time – but it’s only one time. Then you can add all the seeds (leads) you like and feel confident in your future harvest.

The data proves it. The history of successful farmers and small businesses alike – proves it. The question is, will you do what needs to be done, or like Abe, will you miss the point and watch your efforts wither and fail too?

I hope not.

If you’d like help designing a simple system that takes your leads and nurtures them to harvest, get in touch. I have “done for you” services and “do it yourself” training programs to choose from.

Make your future harvest as close a sure thing as possible with technology and systems … or leave it all to chance, and run yourself ragged trying to do the work yourself.

And be honest … you know you won’t have time to do it yourself because you’ll be too busy delivering on your promises and too busy chasing more seeds [wink]

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