My Wood Burning Stove – Everything It’s Taught Me About Business

My wife and I bought a home 17 years ago. We love our home and the cherished memories it keeps. Many of those memories include collecting, splitting, and burning wood to keep us warm. Each year we gather and split anywhere from two to four cords of wood. They say that burning wood heats you up three times: when you gather it, when you split it, and when you burn it. We have certainly found this to be true.
We have converted our backyard into different areas where we can process the wood in two steps: splitting and stacking.

Marketing requires consistent searching and effort.

Just as finding firewood for the upcoming winter requires one to start looking in April, so does marketing require one to keep a constant search open for new and potential clients. A good marketer is not spotty in when he or she puts all effort into reaching out to potential clients; a good marketer constantly gathers and searches, knowing that consistent effort is a must.

Preparation.

Oftentimes we will find a tree that has just been cut down, so the wood is green. We have to let that wood sit in the yard anywhere from six months to a year in order to dry so we can then split it. Splitting green wood is almost impossible. This is similar to nurturing along potential clients before they become clients. The timing has to be right before we can actually engage with them as clients. We can stay present and vocal with them, but only when the client are ready to do business with us can we do our job properly. Just like leaving wood to sit so it can be split properly, we need to let our potential clients decide when they are ready.

Go with the grain.

When splitting wood, I have found that it is easiest to put the larger side towards the hammer that will push the wood towards the stationary axe, and the thinner side towards the axe. This allows the splitter to cut with the grain of the wood instead of fighting the grain of the wood. In business, it is important to be aware of climates, situations, and attitudes that, when confronted, would be a difficult struggle, expending more energy than is needed. One can, instead, continue in a current course until the right direction is found, knowing that there will be a time and a place for everything.

 Work around the knots.

Every batch of wood has pieces that won’t split correctly because there are knots in the wood that are impossible to get through. Knots can exist in business, as well. There may be things ingrained in any industry that are just part of it or the way things get accomplished that are impossible to fight against and will not go anywhere. Sometimes these knots need to stay in place and we need to learn how to work around them because they actually help the business stay in place.

Getting the right people for the job.

My wife grew up stacking wood. I have tried to do it before, but she has the necessary experience to make sure that the wood is stacked correctly. When she stacks it, it won’t fall over or lean once the wood dries or in harsh weather because every piece is perfectly placed. When I do it, the pile sometimes leans, because I simply did not grow up doing this. So, my wife stacks the wood and I split it because our experiences have given us different strengths. It is more efficient this way. So, too, in business, should people be placed in positions according to their talents or experiences, their strengths.

A good foundation is imperative.

When my wife stacks wood, she always comes to me and says, “In order to begin another row, I need some solid, square pieces that will ensure that the foundation is strong, that way the pile doesn’t fall over.” In business, having a strong beginning will create a solid foundation, ensuring that the business process can continue forwards  without fail. There need to be good, solid, consistent practices put in place from the beginning in order to accomplish this. My previous posts talk about having a champion, or creating standards, or owning data, or involving IT, and these are those strong practices that create a good foundation.

 Energy will be produced.

Burning wood creates energy, and so does a business that lays good foundations and follows it’s principles set up from the beginning. By taking these lessons that I have gained from gathering, splitting, and burning wood, I have been able to see positive effects in my business; in the RSC culture, in the profit I see, in our relationships with our clients, and the things we have been able to produce. They are essential, and I hope you can learn from them as well.


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