The Lily Pad Strategy

Guess what? You’re a frog! As you sit on one side of a pond, you have to get to the other side. We’ll call it “the promised land” where all of your lil’ frog dreams will come true.

The pond is about 30 feet wide, but you, typical lil’ frog, can only jump 3 feet at a time. Do you attempt to make the 30-foot leap in a single bound, knowing that you won’t make it to the other side?

No! Of course not. You find a line of lily pads that you can jump to, one at a time, to eventually make it to the other side and find your rightful home in the promised land.

Your business is your frog, and your growth plan follows the path of the lily pads.

The Lily Pad Strategy goes like this: you have to start with the lily pads that are accessible and adjacent to your current position. You can’t move beyond them until you’ve sat on them.

Building an audience works exactly the same way. You don’t get to jump directly to the part where you have a large group of raving fans that create a steady stream of leads and sales. You have to start with just a few people. Then move up from the there.

Specifically, The Lily Pad Strategy means you need to pick Headliners that are a step beyond you, but not out of reach. I’ll use myself as an example.

I have a list of publications, outlets, and influencers I want to work with. I have them ranked in terms of esteem and reach. Harvard Business Review is at the top, and lots of individual bloggers and podcasters are at the bottom. It makes sense to work my way up the list to slowly build credibility (and an audience), while getting closer to the end goal of the audience I want.

Do this: figure out who is in a position to refer you work, or help you grow your audience. Then rank them in terms of who is most accessible, and whom you can help the most.Start there, then jump to the next lily pad.