You won’t find many business-friendly books in the anthropology sections of your local bookstore or library, but one gigantic exception to that rule is Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. And though that’s a new that may catch the eye of folks in the retail jewelry world, I can assure you that Jared Diamond and Jared the Jeweler are two very different people.
Since most folks reading this here tome are plenty busy already and probably don’t have much time to work through a 460-page Pulitzer Prize-winning scholarly text, allow me to give to you one of its most pertinent core theories; that the rise of agrarian, farming societies in the Fertile Crescent many thousands of years ago was the single biggest transformational development in all of human history. Left behind were the hunter/gatherers who had to live in small roaming packs searching for plants and animals to consume. In their place rose towns, cities, and nations that stockpiled food – and by proxy, wealth – thanks to having crops readily available due to generations of careful cultivation.
When you think about it, it is hard to believe that modern society came to be essentially because of a process that boils down to plow, plant, water, harvest, and repeat. You couldn’t make that more boring if you tried.
At this point, you may ask, Dear Reader, “But Ray, I’m not in the farming or ag business. What’s this got to do with me?”
Stick with me.
We’ll now forget about the hunter/gatherers and think instead of fishermen. Not a bad life, out on a boat dropping hooks and nets in the water and pulling up big, juicy (and sometimes frightening) fish and other good stuff that’ll look great on a plate next to a wedge of lemon with none of the drawn-out tedium and waiting that comes with raising a farm.
But what if the fish go where you aren’t? Maybe the boat springs a leak. Or a king hell Perfect Storm turns a simple fishing trip into a deadly disaster. Suddenly, boring old farming looks pretty dang attractive, right?
I wrote all that so I could write this: In business, it can be awfully attractive and easy to go fishing for customers, reeling them in with flashy sales and promotions and enjoying the splendor of a gigantic haul from your quick-turn marketing efforts. But just like societies didn’t grow from fishing on their own, long-lasting businesses aren’t getting there without doing some long-game planting and watering that’ll result in a bumper crop of business well into the future.
That long game can mean many things, depending on your business. Still, one of the seed varieties you absolutely need to plant is programmatic awareness and brand marketing through proven, effective broadcast channels that build your reputation in the minds of eventual customers. And just like farmers over the eons, playing with the mix of crops and how you irrigate and fertilize them will let you figure out how to realize true abundance.
There’s still plenty of value in fishing, and hunting. After all, it’s nice to have some steak with your corn and potatoes. But going all the way in one practice over the other builds in a lot of risk, making it easy to look at a lot of nothing when it’s time to eat.