Professional gardeners often advise on how to buy the best trees. Choose something healthy and bushy, with plenty of growth potential. Choose a plant that’s actually in flower – that way you know it will look as you want. Check the roots to see if they are vibrant. All good.
It’s the advice that follows that’s harder to take: Take off any flowers or fruit. Trim back the branches. Trim the roots. Keep it weed-free, feed it regularly and prune it carefully until it’s mature.
The idea behind this is that a) the plant is more able to cope with the shock of being moved from pot to garden and b) by sacrificing growth now, we get more, better growth later, and a much better contribution to the garden. Given the right treatment at the start, and the right kind of nurturing as it grows, a tree will embed itself beautifully into its garden and last for years. It will scale. Then it will more or less look after itself.
You could say a business is like a tree – a money tree if you like. A focus on growth (especially rapid growth) can can undermine its health and leave it susceptible to the next hurricane that blows. Much better to spend some initial effort making it scaleable.