Seasons in my back garden fascinate me. Snow melts quickly. The plants and weeds compete avidly throughout the year. After observing my neighbours’ gardens, it occurred to me that there is a micro-climate in my back garden. Certainly it makes it easy to grow vegetables and flowers! The fact that weeds like growing there too means I have to stay on top of it which reminds me of recent conversations about how businesses thrive. Individual businesses can be micro-climates. A micro-climate is a variation in the climate in a specific area that is different from the overall climate. A business can trend much like any other business is in its industry or it can stand out in some way. Businesses become micro-climates when they seem to defy the common experience of everyone around them. I’ve been talking to a few business owners who were reticent about sharing that they had positive growth even when the recession was at its worst. To be fair, they are few in number but they do some things that protect their businesses. What is different? Businesses which are more fertile micro-climates are less vulnerable to the “weather” of the economy or other market variations. Their managers and leaders do certain things that make it possible to keep their businesses thriving. There is dedication to doing what the company knows best. It would be great to tell you that they are fabulous planners. In a very informal survey, a few did have a detailed plan but others had a vague plan. The one thing that was consistent was that they stayed faithful to what they are skilled at and focused on services or products that reflected their well-honed abilities. In other words, they do only what they do. They maintain relationships with their customers. Each of the business owners talked about how they connect with their customers with newsletters, phone calls, email, and face-to-face chats. They keep track of what makes each customer a unique individual so they can tailor proposals and delivery appropriately. There is constant motion. Another commonality is that they seek out new customers. They never stop their marketing efforts. We all know that this constant flow is a necessity but there is a different level of commitment with these businesses. They actively promote their businesses through networking, corporate sponsorships, event sponsorships, building alliances, and any other way they can stay visible to past and current clients as well as potential prospects. They do this regardless of what is going on in the local or national economies. Management seeks information. They observe what is in their environment that can be leveraged, learned, and/or used to their advantage. Curiosity is alive and well in these organisations. They believe they can…do what is necessary to keep their business healthy. Confidence is a common denominator in all of the businesses. Actually, a lot of confidence. Their belief that they can find a way forward is coupled with an impatience with feeling out of control. They have experienced difficulties before and figured a way out, they can do it again. Staying fertile in all weather. Like the combination of shade, plants, rocks, and a southerly direction can protect a garden, the actions of the leaders and managers mesh to create the micro-climate that protects the business. They are not necessarily avoiding risk but they do stay faithful to their core competencies and do not allow circumstances to have too great an impact. Is your business a micro-climate? What would make your business more resilient and protected? What other characteristics would you add that describe a business as a fertile micro-climate?