Lawn & Landscape
By Marty Grunder
Whether you’re a CEO or a dedicated team member, I bet you often feel as if there are never enough hours in the day to get done all you need to do. And now, with the rise of digital, when you’re virtually reachable 24/7 and your email inbox fills up nonstop, it can get overwhelming real quick.
At my business consultancy, we’ve been hearing this complaint more and more from our clients. How, they ask, can they get and stay ahead of it all? What should they be doing every day to move their business forward? How do you separate the signal from the noise?
There are a number of time-management strategies championed by business gurus but the one that has served me the best in running Grunder Landscaping over the years is to delineate a morning routine and then to rigorously stick to it. Research shows that willpower is at its strongest in the morning. The longer you delay your task list, the less likely you are to accomplish it.
That’s also, incidentally, why studies have consistently shown that those who work out in the morning are the most likely to stay fit over the long term. (Full disclosure: I stubbornly remain an evening athlete. You can’t do everything the way you’re supposed to all the time!)
Here are the six tasks I do every morning after I arrive at my office to set myself and my company up for success:
1. I review my to-do pile.
Before I leave the office at night, I organize my inbox into three categories: do now, delegate and save. That way when I get into my office in the morning I’m not wondering what awaits me. Instead, I do a quick review and attack the most pressing items first. Accomplish a few tasks right out of the gate and you’ll feel empowered to meet the rest of your day head-on.
2. I handwrite two thank-you notes and two business development notes.
These are simple, quick and solicitation-free — just a few lines thanking clients for their business, congratulating an area resident on their success or following up with a new contact I’ve made. It only takes a few minutes to plant a seed. Do it right and you can reap the benefits for years.
3. I assess billings, work orders and proposals, and compare our sales total to our budget.
I’m the CEO but I also remain the sales manager. Every morning I look at where we’re at, what sales we need to close and what’s in the pipeline. Is my sales team hitting the numbers they need to? If not, what can I do to help? No matter how big or successful your company or career gets, always keep an eye on the finances.
4. I check in on client relations.
Are there any outstanding issues I need to address? Are we really exceeding our clients’ expectations every step of the way? Are we actually doing what we said we’d do? Did my team leader follow up and follow through on the angry call we got yesterday? Do our new hires understand our commitment to our clients?
5. I send two follow-up emails to longtime clients.
My business has grown a lot over the years and with size comes distance. This is my regular, daily way of checking in with clients I may not have seen in a while. Are they still receiving the same level of service from us as before? Do they know how much I appreciate their continued business? No one wants to be taken for granted, especially those who helped get you where you are.
6. I schedule two calls to prospects and clients.
Never stop hustling. You can’t win at landscaping or at sales by sitting behind your desk, no matter how big a team you have to delegate to. I make sure I’m always getting in front of people whether it’s a scheduled consultation, grabbing lunch with another business owner or getting coffee with a community leader. When you make friends, you make sales. It’s so simple, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how many people overlook this.
I do my best to accomplish this list every workday morning without fail. With these crossed off my list, I feel prepared to meet whatever challenges the next 10 hours bring because I know we’re heading in the right direction.