Eight months ago, I made the biggest change I’ve ever made in my company and in my career. I took the reins of Grunder Landscaping and placed them firmly in the hands of my right-hand man Seth. Overnight, I went from having nine direct reports to just one.
For many of us, the notion of a board conjures up images of Fortune 500 companies, men in suits, and heated discussions about shareholder value. It can be hard to imagine what a board could do for a small, privately held landscaping company, or to think you have the time or the resources to build one. But in my experience, it’s an investment that can pay tremendous dividends for your company and your professional growth.
I am always, always looking for ways to get better at running my landscaping business. Sure, I’m proud of the company my team and I have built. But, as one of my mentors, John Maxwell, likes to say, “Of all the things a leader should fear, complacency heads the list.”
That’s why I try to take advantage of every opportunity to learn from other landscaping business owners, and why the willingness of our industry colleagues to help each other grow is one of the things I love the most about our field. This past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Bob Grover, who founded Pacific Landscape Management in 2001 in Portland, Oregon. Focused on commercial maintenance, Bob and his team have managed to grow their company to $22 million a year in annual revenue—a remarkable and inspiring feat.
Every year I partner with the National Association of Landscape Professionals to deliver sales boot camps for green industry professionals who want to sharpen their skills and improve their closing rates. I just got back from events in Dallas and Philly where we had a great turnout of super-engaged salespeople who kept me on my toes by asking a lot of really intelligent questions.
Afterward, I spent the flight home jotting down my thoughts and looking for the commonalities, and I kept thinking of this quote from Warren Buffet: “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” Because the truth is that you don’t need big gestures or expensive gimmicks to win at sales. You can get extraordinary results through ordinary actions if you’re smart and intentional about it. Here are three simple approaches you can start taking right now:
Lawn & Landscape
By Marty Grunder
Happy spring! I hope this month finds you getting outside a lot, for work and play. We had a long, cold winter in Ohio, and nothing feels better now than some time in the sun.
Nearly everyone in our industry is crazy-busy right now, and most of us have recently brought new hires on board to gear up for the season’s demands. It can be such a challenge to find and recruit good team members in our industry that by the time we do, it’s very tempting to want to check the box and move on.
But if you don’t take the time and energy to properly train and onboard new hires, then your team, your culture, and ultimately your bottom line will suffer.
It may be hard to believe after the long, cold winter many of us have had, but spring is about to spring. And when it does, landscape pros will go from calm to chaos as we’re launched into what my friend and mentor Mike Rorie calls the 100 Days of Hell. Like Christmas for retailers, this is the time that makes or breaks our companies’ year. How do you not only survive them but thrive, financially, emotionally and physically?
Recently, one of our most successful Marty Grunder! Inc. clients asked me what actions the CEO of a landscaping company should take on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. The head of a $5-million operation, this client is always looking for ways to improve and grow, as this question shows. And it’s a great question. So I put it to three of the smartest green-industry CEOs I know. Here’s what they had to say:
We’re busy right now at Marty Grunder! Inc., gearing up for our annual GROW! conference for landscape pros who are serious about growing their businesses. Scheduled for February in Tampa, Florida, the 2018 conference will be my 23rd straight year of putting on this event.
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been at this so long, especially on those days at my landscaping company when nothing seems to go the way I want it to and I realize just how much more I have yet to learn. In those moments I think, ‘What in the world am I doing teaching others?’
But that’s the great thing about conferences like GROW!
If you’re like me, you’re glad to see November roll around every year. For those of us not in the south, the landscaping season is at last winding down and we finally get to catch our breath. In Ohio, where I live, the weather is usually mild enough to still enjoy some time outdoors. And then there’s Thanksgiving, hands-down the best day of eating all year.