5 Ways Pruning a Tree is Like Growing a Business

Alyssa Gregory

We’re digging into the autumn weather here in the eastern U.S., and that means it’s time to get outside and start cleaning up the yard, raking leaves and pruning trees to prepare for the winter weather that is right around the corner.

I was looking at our trees and yard the other day, outlining what we need we need to get done over the next few weeks. That sense of upkeep that comes from yard maintenance, pruning trees in particular, translates pretty well into business ownership and growth. Here are some of the similarities that struck me.

Pruning eliminates the drag-downs.

One of the reasons we prune trees is because it’s believed that if you cut the low-hanging branches you encourage upward growth. In business, you could force yourself into stagnancy by maintaining relationships with non-ideal clients, taking on too many volunteer projects and letting criticisms drag you down. Doing some trimming can revitalize the tree and your business.

Pruning makes it healthier.

The most obvious benefit that comes with pruning your tree is increasing the general health and aesthetics. Have you ever seen a tree that is well overdue for a pruning? I can show you one or two in my yard; it’s not a pretty sight!

In business cutting out the “things” that are unnecessary to operate and grow — a blog that hasn’t been updated in two years, recurring monthly expenses for services you don’t even use, old equipment that collects dust — can make your business healthier.

Pruning is important for safety.

On a tree, low-hanging branches can be dangerous. It hurts to get clothes-lined by one when you’re not paying attention! In business, not pruning the unnecessary items can lead you to burnout because you’re not taking care of what’s most important and giving yourself a break.

Pruning allows you to create a new shape.

When you prune a tree to accommodate a new growth, a structure or something else that is preventing it from growing in one direction, you train the tree to modify its shape and grow in a new way. If your business isn’t moving forward or you find yourself losing the passion you once had, pruning can allow you to reinvent what your business is about, who you work with and the services you provide.

Pruning means there are less leaves to clean up.

This just may be my favorite benefit of pruning. The more branches you cut off the tree, the less leaves there will be littering your yard and the less raking you will need to do.

In business, the more “stuff” you have going on — difficult clients sucking up your time, work-at-home distractions, unnecessary expenses — the more time you will spend managing it all. Pruning in your business could mean a streamlined, cleaner approach that allows you to focus on what matters most.

Pruning a tree isn’t the only activity that can create a useful analogy in business. What activities have you done in your personal life that have translated into lessons learned in your business?

Image credit: bertvthul