Has your business ever had a setback? Of course, it has. Perhaps your right-hand person left to work for your biggest competitor. Maybe your top employee quit without notice and took a few key clients away. Even worse, perhaps you lost everything because of a bad business decision.

Whatever happened, whether it was a large or small setback, how you dealt with the issue most likely determined where you are today. Those who realize setbacks are simply part of the business process usually thrive, while those who dwell on problems routinely falter.

I am always extremely inspired interviewing landscapers. I don’t know what impresses me more: how honest and open they are about their stories, how incredibly courageous they are in fighting their fears or how unwavering their positivity is despite the setbacks they’ve endured.

Their stories move me, and I know they will encourage you. Not every day of running a business is a walk in the park.

In fact, according to Statistic Brain research, only 56 percent of agriculture businesses and 55 percent of service businesses survive after their first four years in business.

The major cause of failure for 46 percent of businesses was incompetence. Some of the specific pitfalls listed under incompetence include emotional pricing, living too high for the business, nonpayment of taxes, no knowledge of pricing, lack of planning, no knowledge of financing and lack of recordkeeping experience.

Thirty percent of these businesses failed as a result of unbalanced experience or lack of experience. Specific pitfalls in this category included poor credit granting practices, rapid expansion and inadequate borrowing practices.

Eleven percent of these businesses failed as a result of having a lack of experience in their line of goods and services. Specific pitfalls included carrying inadequate product inventory, having no knowledge of industry suppliers and wasting advertising budgets.

Finally, 1 percent of businesses failed as a result of neglect, fraud or disaster.

But as the landscape business owners taught me, and as Winston Churchill wisely said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Lessons From LawnSite:

Here’s a survival story from the LawnSite forums that New Jersey-based member CrystalCreek titled, “A long day.”

“We were working at a job site in town doing a new sod installation. It was a job that required six pallets. The property had a large, circular driveway that we pulled into towing a large, 10-ton trailer with the dump truck when all of a sudden I hear this horrible sound and the whole truck shakes and throws me around. When it all comes to an end and I can look outside, to my horror, my trailer is almost completely turned over. I jump out of the truck and realize that the driveway collapsed under the trailer leaving a 4-foot sink hole. Both axles snapped like twigs, and the trailer frame was twisted. The incident also broke the receiver off the truck, all the sod came loose and we had rolls all over the place, including the road.

“Since we didn’t ask for permission to use the driveway, the repair was on me. We had to hire a flatbed wrecker, which caused even more lawn damage, to take away the trailer. We also ended up bringing three extra guys to the site to finish the work costing me overtime. When it was all said and done, total damages to property, removal of trailer and repair to the truck was over $12,000. I never did anything with the trailer; I just bought a new one a few months later. All I can say is, ‘Thank God we have insurance.’

“Moral of the story: Always make sure the driveway is sound before you drive big boy toys onto it.”

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