Are you planting seeds or growing trees?

Most good networkers look at networking as “planting seeds.”  They understand that they are not going to harvest the crop immediately, but most likely need to “grow” the contact for some time before it produces.

My goal is to take that a step further and plant acorns.  I want to grow trees instead of growing crops.  Trees are strategic partners, business development members and other “connections” that you develop.  You don’t need near as many trees as you need crops. Trees produce consistently once your connective root-system is in place.  Plus, they will produce for you year after year.

It takes more time to develop trees.  But their root systems go deep.  They can withstand many types of weather.  They can keep you shaded and protected.  And they are in your grove so they benefit from all the other trees nearby.

There is no shortcut to spending time together.  Pick a few acorns and grow them.  You will find that having a small grove of connections is just as productive as having numerous fields of contacts.

Let’s grow some trees!


  1. Brigitte says:

    Beautiful! Thanks, Brad, for sharing.

    The acorns are the seeds that deliver the most business value from our networking. There is no shortcut to seeding, watering and growing trees … Requires good eyes, especially at inception, to recognize acorns that may grow.

    I love the image and am quoting you on it!

  2. Mike Leamon says:

    A wise freelance training contractor said to me once, “Focus on 10 to 12 mature relationships that you keep healthy. You feed them work, they feed you work and for larger projects you work together.” Now I have an analogy to combine with that principle.


  3. Miriam Rode says:

    Great analogy Brad. Since I moved to Austin five weeks ago, a whole new world of networking and understanding it has opened up to me, and I’m so thrilled to have you as one of my “acorns”. :)

  4. Eric Hegwer says:

    This is one of the most useful posts I’ve read in a long time. So many peers think they are making connections using social media, but all they are really doing is wasting time. Thanks for some great insight.

  5. Brad Closson says:

    Thanks for the note Eric.

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