Landscape Business Survey Analysis Part II: What is your single biggest challenge?

In Part II of The Garden Continuum Landscape Business Survey analysis we’re going to dig into the answers survey respondents provided to the question “What is your biggest challenge in running your landscape business?

What we discovered as we reviewed the variety of answers is that identifying a challenge is one thing, but facing it and making the effort to address it is quite another. Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do because the challenge often represents a personal block that can be difficult to overcome.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we discuss ways to tackle whatever challenges may stand in the way of growing your business and profits, let’s take a look at what fellow landscape business owners have identified as their key challenges – one of them might be yours as well.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

Landscape Business Survey Analysis Part I: What landscapers love about running a landscape business

As part of the business consulting side of The Garden Continuum, we recently conducted a survey of landscape business owners to better understand the factors that drive them to launch and grow their operations. Our survey revealed a number of interesting facts that we’d like to share with our readers in this first part of a three-part series.

Owning and operating a landscape business -- like many businesses -- can be a unique love/hate relationship. What makes each relationship unique is the highly personal elements each owner brings to the party – their drive, level of ambition, goals, threshold of pain (physical and mental), stress tolerance, and more.

Each of us likes and dislikes certain aspects of the business, and here’s where we have to be careful. What you like and dislike about running a business can create a yo-yo effect that can impact your ability to gain traction for your business. In other words, you can get in your own way if you’re not careful.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

Goal-Setting: A Landscape Business Growth Imperative for Success

Let’s face it: goal-setting is easier said than done. Remember all those New Year’s resolutions in the past that fell by the wayside in a matter of days? Or at least by the time the spring madness hit.

A major stumbling block for even the most well-intentioned goal-setting effort is that we tend to look in the wrong direction for inspiration. We focus outward, looking at other people and companies and things that we think are desirable. But these bright, shiny objects are distractions, not inspirations.

By focusing on something other than ourselves and the unique issues and situations we are facing in business, we put greater value on those external things, diminishing ourselves in the process. As a result, we risk not addressing the flaws or deficiencies that we should be addressing, layering more goals and to-do’s on top of what already exists and compounding the original issues.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

Is 2018 a Growth Year For Your Landscape Business?

It’s a brand new year. Spring and the new growing season are just three months away, so it’s time to start making plans and getting active with business development. Any business looking for reliable, sustainable growth has two choices – go wide or go deep.

Let’s be clear right up front – there is no right or wrong choice. You need to decide what will work best for your business brand and theme (that is, what your mission is and how you present your company and its services to the market) and stay aligned with what you do best. Many businesses fail because they stray too far from their core strengths and the skills and resources they can bring to bear.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

TGC Academy: The Year in Review

As 2017 draws to a close, I thought it’d be a good idea to look back at the year and what we’ve accomplished with TGC Academy, which was founded to provide business training and skill-building for both experienced and start-up landscape professionals.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over a year since we started publishing the TGC Academy blog. My hope was that it would become a timely, easy-to-access resource for landscape business owners because I understand, from first hand experience, that the day-to-day running and growing of a business can be a real struggle at times.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

5 crucial actions when you start a successful landscape business

One of the easiest things to do once you’ve started a landscape business is to dive right into the immediate projects at hand and plug away at every job that comes your way. It’s also one of the least productive things you can do, in the long run.

Wait, how can getting jobs done not be productive?

Because getting jobs done is not Job Number One, which is building your business – and you do that by working on business development from day one. Of course, that does NOT mean you shouldn’t be concerned about selling and completing projects on a timely basis – that’s vital for keeping your clients happy and creating positive cash flow. What it does mean is that you also need to carve out time to actively work on the business aspects of your fledgling company – new business development, payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and so on.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

The Top 5 things to do before you start a landscape business

Many people start a landscape business looking to make a killing. But, sadly, the only thing they end up killing, is the business. Why is this and how can you avoid it if you're seriously thinking about making the leap yourself?

First and foremost, you should not – and really cannot –start and grow a business that’s entirely about making money. It has to be about something else. If you’re thinking of launching a landscape business, you better be doing it because you love the idea of creating something beautiful, functional, and lasting on the land using plants and all manner of materials not to mention getting your hands dirty. The money comes after that. Why? Because if it's about the money first, the tail ends up wagging the dog and everything you do is colored by the desire to squeeze money out of it. Your decision-making becomes based on profits, not pleasing your clients. And that's no way to grow and sustain a landscape business successfully. And don’t get me wrong here - profit must be on the priority list - it’s just dangerous to make it the only priority.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

5 Reasons To NOT Start a Landscape Business

A surprising number of people think that just because they can clean up their yard, put down some mulch, and maybe even create a garden, it makes sense to go out and try to make money working in other people’s yards. Okay, I get it. That’s a great way to make some money in high school or college. It’s how my husband, Chris, and I both got our first taste of the business, so I have full respect for that.

If, however, you plan to do this for real - as in your career - you better be ready to build “mad skills”. Let’s start with plants.

It’s difficult – if not impossible – to be a successful landscape professional and not know at least the basics about plants. How can you properly design, install, prune or maintain things you can’t even name?

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

Learning to Cope: 3 Tips to help you take a temporary step away from your landscape business

John Lennon once famously said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." This, unfortunately, can be true for running a landscaping business. Sometimes life simply gets in the way and derails even the best-laid plans – unexpected medical emergencies, family calamities, and other "whoa, I wasn't expecting THAT" moments that can require you to let go of the reins and depend on others temporarily to take care of the daily business needs.

So, if you have to step away from your landscape business because of a life event, who has your back?

If you’ve done your homework right in setting up your business and hiring the right people, your team is already aligned with the business in general and each other in particular. They’ve got the synergies that enable them to say “no problem, we’ve got this.”

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Landscape Business?

Starting any new business can be a sleep-depriving, nail-biting experience for anyone, and starting a new landscape business is certainly no different. It takes time, money, perseverance and sometimes a lot of luck.

One of the frustrations I hear from landscape start-ups is that money always seems to be going out faster than it’s coming in. Freshly-minted landscape professionals complain that every time they turn around they have to buy something just to get the job done.

My response to all of the challenges and issues that can arise with starting a new landscape business is the same to every new owner: take the time to write a good business plan.

Topics: Building A Better Landscape Business