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Putting Your Knowledge on Paper:Why Are Landscape SOPs so Valuable?

All companies – landscaping businesses included – can run into problems when they don’t have a clear plan of action and a set of standards for any given task. If workers don’t know what to do and have no way of measuring how well they’re doing it, how will they get anything done? The result is often inefficiency, chaos, and confusion. What’s needed is a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business Clients & Services Staffing & Development

Want to be a more successful landscape business? Start analyzing your failures!

Nobody likes to fail. It’s uncomfortable, annoying, and even depressing. People instinctively try to avoid failure and when we fail, we don’t like to revisit those often painful experiences. Most of us prefer to simply forget about them and move on to something else more positive and pleasant.

But here’s the thing -- ignoring failure sets you up for failing again.

Instead, we need to embrace failure. Look it square in the eye and ask, “how and why did this happen?” As landscaping professionals it’s important that we look back at the prior year, understand what worked, and analyze what went wrong. Our mistakes can teach us what we need to do to improve.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

How the 2019 Landscape Season Taught Me to Be a Better Boss

There is an interesting organizational dynamic that most companies, including landscaping businesses, experience: leadership perception. There is often a fundamental disconnect between how we, as bosses, think we lead and how our employees think we lead. Regardless of who thinks what, the only way we can truly know if we are leading and managing well is by the results we get from our employees.

One of the major factors contributing to this interesting leadership dynamic is an underlying misunderstanding of the origins of “bad behavior.” In many cases, bosses interpret bad behavior in employees as the byproduct of a bad employee. What they fail to understand is their possible role in creating that bad behavior. They don’t realize that they can be culpable as well through their influence on that employee and his or her behavior.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business Staffing & Development

How to correct landscape business failure when you uncover the truth about your year

At the end of the year, most landscape business owners are totally worn out and ready to do nothing for a while. At least that defines me; certainly, the creative well feels a bit dry. For many in colder climes, there is no rest after the warm-weather season – it’s time now to shift gears and get ready for winter snow management.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

How to Avoid These 5 Ginormous Landscape Leadership Mistakes

As an owner, fessing up to missteps in business building and management is hard. When you know something isn’t going well in your operational systems or with your personnel, it’s easy to stand back and put your head in the sand or focus on something less challenging. The cost is your relational and professional credibility with your staff. You can’t afford that cost. It’s both too high and hard to come back from. So, what do you do? You have to face it head-on. Name it clearly without blaming or shaming anyone - especially yourself. Then, outline what needs to be done, write out the steps, and take action. 

Topics: Staffing & Development

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