If you’re struggling to build a landscape business, part of the problem may be that you have not firmly established your business goals. If you don’t know your goals, you don’t know where you’re going. Once you’ve determined your business goals you can develop a sound, workable strategy that will enable you to achieve them.
It all starts with establishing SMART goals. That is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound. If you haven’t heard of this traditional business strategy, it’s well-worth Googling it to learn more about it (here’s a nice little worksheet that can download to help you establish your own SMART goals).
In reality, most landscape companies really do have goals, they just don’t write them down and pay close attention to them. The first step is to think them through, then write them down and describe them clearly because they will form the action plan for running your business. And you need to be specific. If you’re going to grow your landscape company you need to identify how you’re going to do that – for example, “I want to grow my maintenance division this year by adding new clients and more services that will work well with the things I’m already doing.”
Being specific with your goals goes a long way in helping to make them measurable. For example, if you have determined that one goal is to add more services this year, did you, in fact, define those services, looking specifically how they align with what you do now? Did you actually follow through and add any new services this month, this quarter, this year?
Once you have your goals and associated details down on paper, the next step is to map them out – figure out what you realistically need in the way of time, people, equipment, money or other resources to make your goals happen. Mapping out a plan of action will help you determine if you have set goals you can realistically achieve. For example “I want my maintenance business to grow 10% this year over last and I already have the equipment and manpower to handle that kind of increase.”
Avoid setting open-ended goals, such as “I want to double my landscape business.” Not only is that kind of goal vague (what do you mean -- double in size? double in revenue?), but there's no timeline noted. Is that in one year or in 10 years? How will you determine if you were successful? Instead, try something like “I want to bring in X more dollars by the end of the year and I will do it by leasing X equipment and hiring X more workers in order to service X more clients..” On December 31st, it’ll be easy to see if you achieved that goal.
Here at The Garden Continuum, we could see our business changing during the economic downturn as consumer buying habits changed – people weren’t spending as freely on landscape development projects, and they were cutting back on the enhancement services to maintenance. We were faced with the reality that if things did not change for the better, our business would suffer.
As a result, we focused on changing our goals to address the changing business conditions. We set a 30% growth goal and identified ways to meet it, measuring it against those SMART principles I mentioned earlier. We then communicated the details of the plan to our staff and got everyone focused on accomplishing our new goals.
By carefully managing our goals and our activities to accomplish them, we exceeded our growth target and grew 35% in our first year of this goal - and during a recession! There was nothing magical about it. Because we established this goal and all the details around it in writing, and communicated it to the team, so we also established accountability – we were all responsible for making it happen. Goals not only give you a target, they give you hope and something to work towards together.
Here’s hoping you’ll establish your own SMART goals and achieve the growth and success you deserve and desire!