Do you ever feel like you are not getting a fast enough return on the time, money, or energy investment you are putting into something?
I think we all do!
We put our all into what we do and believe so much in the transformation and results we can get for our clients that we want to see an immediate ROI.
And sometimes we get one! But sometimes we don't... Or don't we?
Today I want to share something with you I call the Wisteria effect, and I think it is important to keep in mind during periods of doubt or frustration in our business, but it's also something we should be strategically leveraging in our businesses for sustainable success.
The Wisteria Effect
To explain the wisteria effect, we need to rewind to 2006.
My then-fiancé and I were planning our backyard wedding for August and had just installed this gorgeous gazebo.
I took one look at it and thought how beautiful it would be with wisteria cascading down from it. While it wouldn't be in season for the wedding, I planted it anyway so I could enjoy it the following spring.
Spring 2007 came and... no wisteria blooms. I was disappointed but that's okay - I figured it would bloom the next year.
Spring 2008 came and... no wisteria blooms. At this point, I started to doubt that it would ever bloom.
Spring 2009 came and... I honestly completely forgot about the wisteria and moved on.
Then Spring 2021 came and my husband and I were enjoying our first time in the pool this year. It was a windy day and we were relaxing in the sunshine and watching the trees swaying in the breeze over the backyard. He pointed and said - what's all that purple up at the top of the tree?
It was my wisteria that I planted 15 years earlier.
It had been growing year over year and I just couldn't see it. Eventually it climbed high enough to get the sunshine it needed to bloom.
And boy did it bloom. The entire top of the tree was covered in cascading purple wisteria blooms. It was beautiful!
Are you seeing the parallels with your business?
Sometimes things work quickly. And sometimes things need a combination of time and the right conditions to "bloom" and generate the results for our business that we are looking for.
I have experienced this time and time again in my business.
- My #1 source of organic traffic? Blog posts I wrote years ago.
- My #2 source of organic traffic? Media mentions and collaborations from years ago.
- My top selling products for my jewelry business? My signature foot chains that I continued to make even when I got discouraged by others copying my designs and outselling me in the short run (now I sell more foot chains than any other business, because I stuck with them).
- My most successful piece of content I ever produced? A YouTube video that went viral 2 years after I published it and now has almost 1 million views.
The list goes on and on.
What I see happen so often is that when immediate results don't happen, or when the copycats come out, we walk away too soon and we miss out on the Wisteria effect.
We need consistency in our business, combined with kaizen - making small continuous improvements and changes for the better.
We rarely need to throw something out completely or pivot so dramatically that what we are doing is no longer recognizable as what it once was.
So how do you leverage the Wisteria effect in your business?
First, appreciate that things can take time and don't get discouraged when you don't see an immediate return on the time, money, or energy investment you are putting into something.
- If you aren't seeing fast enough results, assess if what you are doing has the right conditions to be successful. If I had recognized that I planted the wisteria in a spot that was too shady and moved it or cleared out some of the tree cover, it would have bloomed much faster instead of working so hard to get to the sunlight it needed to thrive.
- Leverage kaizen and look at where you can continuously make small changes and run small experiments to get better results, without throwing it out and starting over.
- Continuously show up!
Then, look at how you can use the wisteria effect strategically. Because here's the thing... your business needs a combination of short-term wins and long-term strategies.
You can't only focus on things that will generate an immediate ROI or you stay stuck on the revenue rollercoaster and end up overworked and overstressed.
Invest in writing that SEO-rich blog post, build that relationship, do the things that are an investment in the future and not only focused on the "right now".
How do you make sure you have a balance of both short-term and long-term strategies in your business?
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by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.