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

Landscape Business Survey Analysis - Part III: Where do you think you can improve your business?

In Part 3 of our Business Survey Analysis series we’re going to take a closer look at what landscape business owners think can improve their businesses. Of course, some of you might say “that’s easy – more time, money, and clients!” but it’s usually something more than that. Improving your business can be a real challenge because it often means you have to take something apart to get it corrected.

It’s easy to complain about what’s not working, and usually that’s exactly what’s being neglected. It’s human nature to avoid things we don’t like and so the areas in our businesses that need the most work are typically the areas that we tend to avoid working on.

Topics: Business Organization

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: Business Organization

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: Business Organization

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: Business Organization

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: Business Organization

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: Business Organization

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: Business Organization

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: Business Organization