My social media feed shows a lot of friends getting into gardening, planting, bird-watching, bee-keeping and other back-to-nature pursuits. It must be the pandemic. We’re spending less time racing around in our cars running errands and sitting in traffic. We have more time to spend on new interests and hobbies. Maybe we’re finding it hard to stay focused and need a good excuse to get up from our work-from-home desks a few million times a day. It doesn’t hurt to have a powerful distraction from the mayhem around us — collecting honey in a claustrophobic bee suit with perturbed insects buzzing around your face will certainly take your mind off about everything else going on… for a few moments at least.
Me, I’m not that into bees, or, more specifically not that into bee STINGS, but I do catch myself gazing out my window at the bird activity in my garden. And, as I’ve been sticking close to home, I’m getting better acquainted with the range of bird visitors I get. Which inspired me to try attracting a wider variety of birds.
I’ve always loved hummingbirds with their quick, jerky flight patterns and long nectar-sucking proboscises. I prefer the ‘hum’ of their wings over the ‘buzz’ of bee wings, too. I’ve always had a few hummingbird feeders in my yard. I’d go out each spring, fill the feeders up with that sticky mix of cherry kool-aid, sugar and water and then leave them for, well, ever. I didn’t get any hummingbirds. I thought about changing to lime kool-aid… but I never got around to testing that.
This year was different. I finally took trying to get hummingbirds to my yard seriously. So I looked up the right kind of food — the color, smell AND mix that hummingbirds actually like; I read up a little on feeder care & cleaning; and I took the extra time to change the food and clean the feeders regularly. What do you know? Now I have hummingbirds.
What occurred to me is that what happened in my garden is a lot like what I see happening in small businesses.
It’s amazing how often – and I do it too – we half-ass a tactic and it doesn’t bear fruit (or birds I guess in this case). We have a vague idea of what we want, like ‘more passive income’… we throw something up on a website… we glance at it now and then to see how it’s doing… and we’re a little disappointed by our poor results.
But what if we were just a little more intentional. What if we got specific about one small change we wanted in our business? I made a commitment to attract, not just more birds but specifically hummingbirds, this season. I read up on what to do to attract them. I put in some time to get the right food and take care of the feeders. I didn’t give up everything to be a full-time hummingbird super-attractor. I didn’t plant a whole hummingbird garden or play hummingbird mating call recordings on loop. I mean, I wasn’t trying to lure ALL the hummingbirds. C’mon. I just wanted a few beautiful hummingbirds flitting around my windows when I needed a break from my computer screen.
Think about a small, specific change you want for your business. Research a few tactics that could help you achieve that change. Commit to the one or two that are manageable. Because that’s a big part of change – creating new habits, doing the things. Keep feeding and watering that dream consistently, even through the early days when nothing seems to be happening. Stay with it. And keep your eyes open. I’m sure you’ll see the changes you were hoping for within the season.