This weekend we did some much needed landscaping at my house. The lawn, the flower beds, and our patio were all tended to.

Unfortunately, these tasks are not a once-and-done event. We need to continue to mow the grass, water the flowers, and weed the beds.

We need to maintain our businesses, too. It's not enough just to pass out a business card or hang a sign and wait for customers to start filing in.

Using the analogy of gardening, here are some tips to nurture your business growth.

1) Plant a seed - Let your customers know you exist.

2) Fertilize with information - Offer resources they find valuable.

3) Water consistently - Check in on your clients, follow up and respond quickly to inquiries.

4) Show gratitude when the relationship bears fruit - Thank your loyal customers and encourage them to spread the word to family and friends.

5) Prune occasionally - Figure out how to cut out what isn't working or eliminate inefficient practices in order conserve resources and stimulate new growth.

This can't happen overnight. Building relationships takes work and time. Remember to use the tools that are available to you through the Chamber to make the process a little easier.