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Fall Landscape Business Building Opportunities That Owners Don’t Want to Miss

For landscape companies located in climates like New England’s where the growing season ends abruptly with cold, frost and snow, November represents the beginning of the end of the active landscape season. As a business owner, chances are you were knee-deep in installations and maintenance all year long, focusing your time and energy on the work at hand in the field. If sales and production went well, you might be looking forward to a little breathing room before you transition to the next season. If things didn't go so well, you might be wondering what the heck happened!

Topics: Business Organization

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Landscape Employees

That familiar lament of landscape business owners and managers – “you just can’t get good help these days” – is more myth than reality. The truth is, there’s plenty of good help out there and workers who really do want to be engaged, supported, and appreciated. However, often the problem is that business leaders are so busy and distracted that they only give employees peripheral attention. Let’s not kid ourselves – employees notice when their concerns are pushed to the back and they’re not receiving feedback on their efforts and performance.  Fortunately, there’s a better way to handle employee relations, it just takes a little effort.

Topics: Staffing & Development

6 Expert Tips to Fulfill Your Landscape Proposal Promise

Honest, hardworking landscape pros always have the best intentions at heart when they sell a project to a client. They sincerely want to deliver a top-quality project, on-time and on-budget, that will exceed client expectations and win more business.

The reality, however, is that no matter how skilled the professional is at the landscape tasks at hand, they often don’t have the business structure in place to adequately deliver on their promise and then fail even with their best intentions.

Topics: Business Organization Sales & Marketing

How to Win More Landscape Jobs When you Write Killer Proposals

As landscapers, we’re most comfortable with our hands in the dirt and bringing projects to life for clients. What many of us are not so comfortable with is the art and science of crafting proposals that sell. As a result, we can be prone to banging out less-than-stellar proposals that are fuzzy and even confusing, leading to a lack of understanding on the client’s part that can create unnecessary problems.

Topics: Sales & Marketing

How to avoid losing money over bad landscape project estimates

Virtually every small landscape business owner has experienced this situation at least once: You’re quoting a big job that you don’t want to lose, so you throw out a fast, barebones estimate that you hope will win you the business. Unfortunately, it does.

Wait….what? Unfortunately?!

Yes, because that job, instead of being the big money-maker you thought it would be, turned into a sinkhole that drained any profit out of it. Why? Because you failed to include ALL of the costs associated with delivering that project in the proposal and it came back to bite you.

Topics: Business Organization

Why is my landscape business growth stalling?

I spend a lot of time talking about marketing because that is a fundamental element of business growth that often gets overlooked in a “down-and-dirty” profession such as landscaping. We like to get our hands dirty, and get a great deal of satisfaction from that and so the “behind-the-scenes” stuff tends to get pushed to the back, often to the detriment of the business.

Topics: Sales & Marketing

Five Tools for Cultivating a Compassionate Culture in Your Business

As a landscape business owner with over 30 years in the business, I know that our employees are more important than any truck, piece of equipment, or account. Without them, we cannot hope to reach our business growth goals.

To that end, I decided to start 2018 off with a management team training focus in the hopes that with their development would come the next wave of success for The Garden Continuum.

Ten of us have been working since the opening of the season to define our internal culture. We started with a managers luncheon to introduce the idea of culture-building to the team. We then spent three weeks talking about the book “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown, which introduces the concept of “True Belonging” as the primary concern of all people.

Topics: Staffing & Development

10 Time Management Tips for Landscape Professionals

Time seems to get away from a lot of us. Most of us never seem to have enough time to get things done, both personally and professionally. That may be okay when it comes to finding the time to clean out the garage, but for landscape professionals we have the added pressure of dealing with seasonal highs and lows, staffing issues, and weather disruptions that can rob us of precious time at the worst possible moments.  But, as renowned sales and performance coach Michael Altshuler says, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Topics: Business Organization

4 Massive Mistakes Landscape Companies Make in Their Marketing & Sales Messaging and How to Avoid Them

Landscape business owners – like a lot of business owners – spend a considerable amount of time and money crafting traditional sales and marketing tools such as truck signage, brochures, and now websites.

However, more often than not, it’s not the marketing tools that fall short when it comes time to deliver – it’s the service itself. Time and time again, landscape companies make big promises on what they’ll do for their customers but fail to deliver, resulting in unhappy clients and stalled growth.

Topics: Sales & Marketing

How do landscape employees choose the company to work for?

As a landscape business owner and consultant, the biggest challenge I hear about from other landscape company owners is how hard it is to find good help. Many landscape business owners are simply shooting in the dark to find employees for their businesses. They’re looking for warm bodies -- people to do the work at hand, right NOW. They aren’t focusing on the big picture of business development when they’re hunting for staff. They’re just happy to find anyone who can rescue them in the moment.

And therein lies the root of the problem. They’re allowing short-term needs to drive their long-term goals. And that’s no way to run a successful business. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to start thinking of staffing in the same way you think of building a landscape. It’s a process, not a project, and it has to be connected to a long-term vision of what you want your company to be next year, five years, ten years from now.

Topics: Staffing & Development