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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

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 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

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

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