Small business owners start their own businesses to be their own boss and make a good living for themselves and their family. During “Breakfast with Champions” at LANDSCAPES 2017, Ed Laflamme of The Harvest Group shared some tried and true ways to become rich and make the landscape business venture successful.
The key to success is planning. Stop what you are doing and take the time to make the plan for your company and determine who will be held accountable. Have dedicated planning sessions at your company and make sure employees know the plan and what it takes to make it happen. Have the discipline to follow through on the plan. Do fundamentals every day and avoid mistakes because mistakes cost a lot of money — they can even cost you in years of setback. That means having checkups and a review of the plan every quarter or even monthly. Your business plan should include details like who, what, when, where and why.
Without data, all you can do is guess, which is not a smart way to conduct business. The classic phrase is: You can manage what you don’t measure. Keep track of everything and have your employees help, too. Measuring everything will make creating/reviewing the business plan go smoothly. Whatever you measure will get improved. On your profit and loss (P&L) statement, be sure that gross margin is accurate and measured by department including: estimate, price and efficiency. Controlled growth is key to making money.
3. “Is there a better way?”
Steve Jobs asked this question during every company meeting at Apple with his employees: “Is there a better way?” Always be looking for a better way, an improvement to your services, a way to save time, a better system or process. Asking if there is a better way eliminates complacency. It can also help eliminate inefficiencies and do-overs. Make it a point to visit other landscape companies to see how they run their operations and what hurdles they’ve had to overcome. Good questions to ask your customers are “How have we been doing?” and “What can we be doing better?”
4. Lead & Learn
Good leaders lead and teach. But the best also learn from their employees. It is crucial to listen to feedback, questions and ideas from everyone on the team. Leaders make better decisions when they’re aware and informed. Engage with your employees, customers and even vendors to learn about their struggles and ideas to improve systems and processes.
5. Great People
Labor is the number one complaint from landscape business owners. A company can’t be successful without great people. Twenty percent of your employees are being solicited by other employers. Be sure to incentivize your employees, keep a career ladder showing how to advance at your company and include a skills matrix so that each employee can improve their skills accordingly.