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February 15, 2010

THE BUSINESS TREE | in less than 300 words

I love business analogies. Connecting familiar, yet very different, concepts helps to bring about greater understanding to complicated topics. For example, I compare my marketing services of “Second Opinions” to that of a doctor. I’ve also compared the growth problems Starbucks is having to that of a garden needing weeding and pruning before it can achieve healthy growth again.

A credit union I know uses an interesting analogy to describe how they prep for future growth of opening new branches by saying, “Before we put up branches, we put down roots.” In other words, they lay down a foundation of community involvement long before they build a new branch of their credit union.

Interestingly, at the time I heard that branches/roots line, I was reading THE BUSINESS TREE written by Hank Moore. In this book, Hank makes the analogy of growing a business to growing a tree.

It’s a smart perspective and perfect for inclusion in my on-going series of business book summaries in less than 300 words.


THE BUSINESS TREE | summarized in less than 300 words

A business is like a tree. The roots of a “business tree” symbolize the strategic focus and future direction the organization is designed to grow. The trunk stands for the entire body of knowledge a business possesses. Branches stand for each department within a business. Twigs represent outside suppliers. And leaves on each branch symbolize employees.

With proper nourishment, the “business tree” will achieve healthy growth by growing steadily, optimally, and profitably. With neglect, the “business tree” will never reach its potential and eventually die.

To “weather the forces of change” that naturally occur in the marketplace, the healthiest “business trees” have a management culture that takes the time “to understand how the company has grown” and analyzes “the relationship of each branch, twig, and leaf to the others.”

Healthy, nourished, and growing business trees always:

1. Give customers products/services they cannot get elsewhere

2. Offer products/services at reasonable prices

3. Have leaders whose can-do spirit seeps throughout the total organization

4. Create an employee culture based upon trust and empowerment

5. Respond to the always-shifting winds in the marketplace

6. Foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing between all departments

7. Realize success is not an entitlement, but rather the by-product of smart and ethical growth strategies

Just like all healthy trees grow, all healthy businesses will grow. Proper nourishment is the key and companies that “plan to grow and grow by the plan” will build strong roots with a dense trunk, creating a regenerative and expanding system of branches, twigs, and leaves.


[NOTE: I often receive free copies of biz books from publishers and publicists. However, I spent my money for my copy of THE BUSINESS TREE.]


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I'm curious to know how the credit union "puts down roots" before opening a branch in a community. What does that mean? How do they do it? What forms of "community involvement" help make fertile soil for planting a branch. (Please feel free to email me the answer.) Thanks!

Jeffry ... putting down roots for this credit union is about becoming involved in issues important to the community. Volunteering in community-relevant charities plays a big role as does participating in events to become more recognized. It's also about listening to members to know where a new branch location would be most beneficial.

As someone in the financial institution marketing game, you already know this stuff.

It wasn't a rhetorical question. Sorry if you thought I was being droll or glib.

I was looking to see if there was anything particularly interesting about this credit union's specific approach. If so, I would consider doing a story. But it sounds like a pretty standard formula?

What I was wondering is if the credit union leads with its "community involvement" strategy as the initial method of attacking a new market -- volunteering before advertising, before building the branch.

This is a good summary of the cultivation needed to start a business. Lion and Horse PR

I get the impression that “The Business Tree” presents a fairly standard model for business growth: vision and planning, communication, commitment to quality, and the willingness/ability to adjust to change. I do like the seven steps presented. Were they expressed as such in the book, or did you infer that from your reading.

Compared to other books on the subject, would you recommend “The Business Tree” for people who already have a fair amount of business experience or is this more intended for relative newcomers of business ownership/management? Of course it never hurts to revisit the basics but, given the limit of hours in the day to devote to reading the many new books, how high on the list of priorities would you rank this one?

Tracy ... I summarized the seven points to sync with the seven "branches" Hank Moore focuses on as a basic model from which to grow a business. The book does share good tactical advice, some basic and some advanced. If you need a refresher course on business growth basics then I would recommend THE BUSINESS TREE. If you need an advanced course on business growth, read something else.

I love analogies. Great ones really do help the client connect with the complex concepts your tryin to convey. The Business Tree is one of those great concepts.

-- @ DesaraeV

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