Last year was the worst year I have ever had in business, and being honest about something like this scares me a bit. After all, Turf is a national publication that goes out to all of my peers in this industry. But, every company has issues — some small, some big and some earth-shattering. Ultimately, it’s how we deal with these issues that make the difference whether we prosper or not.

Below are some of the steps we are taking to improve the performance of our company this year. If you are suffering some of the same frustrations as an owner or manager that I am suffering, hopefully you will find the following thoughts helpful.

1. Don’t quit.

Even if you think that it’s the only option, there is a good chance if you quit and walk away from the company you spent all this time building that you will regret it. Rather than quitting, do whatever needs to be done to fix your company. If you are going to go out, then go out fighting and giving it your best.

2. Get outside help.

Yes, you may need to swallow your pride and get someone to help you. If you knew how to fix things yourself, you would have already done so. It’s time to find the right help. For example, if you are having money issues, find an experienced accountant or industry consultant that specializes in this sort of thing. They are out there, check with the National Association of Landscape Professionals if you need references.

3. Enlist your team.

Hey, I just told the entire landscape community that last year sucked for me. And, yes, I told my employees, too. Guess what? They helped me. A good team will have your back because, hopefully, you’ve had theirs over the years. If they know the problems, a lot of times they have good suggestions for helping to correct them. If you are worried they will quit if you tell them bad news, then maybe they are part of your problem.

4. There is no silver bullet.

Chances are your issues didn’t happen overnight. You will not be able to fix them overnight either. There is no quick fix or magic pill that will make everything better. Working hard, being persistent and being brutally honest are what it’s going to take to turn things around. You have to face whatever it is and commit to making changes for the better, which brings me to the next point.

5. Embrace change.

Yes, things are going to have to change and you are going to have to be that agent of change if you want your company to improve. Yes, there will be some opposition, but staying the same is not an option. You have to move forward.

6. Make a plan.

So you are not quitting, have received some outside help, got input from your team and are committed to making changes. Now you have to get a plan together and follow that plan. This is really important, but it is also important to remain flexible because your plan will change. Follow your plan to motivate your team and achieve your goals.

When things get bad, remember that there is help out there. We live in the world of Google and Yahoo, so there is a lot of information out there to help with your business problems. There are also many great books and articles that can give you direction and help you make the changes that need to be made.

I am still working through my issues and my plan is in place, my team is on board and I have some advisers helping me. I believe this year will be better than the last, and if we all follow the plan things will work out.

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