Recently I asked two of my mentors, Frank Mariani of Mariani Landscape in Chicago and Mike Bogan, CEO of LandCare in San Diego and our host for the 2019 NALP Field Trip, what motivates them to continue to grow their enormously successful companies. Here’s what they shared with me:
In my 35 years of running Grunder Landscaping and another 20 or so running a green-industry consultancy, I have toured more landscaping companies than I can count. And yet I never, ever tire of it. Why? Because, in my experience, it is the single fastest way you can learn ways to make your own business better.
With spring in full bloom now, most of us are going nonstop from early in the morning until late in the evening. The pace is unrelenting but, we tell ourselves, we just have to get through these super-busy months and then we’ll get back to all the “priorities” we’ve let slide—from thinking about our long-term business strategy and spending quality time with our families, to eating right and staying fit. But if you want to win at business and at life you have to plan for your future now.
As we all know, most everyone in our industry is struggling with finding and keeping good workers. Yet when our executive coaches Jim Cali and Jason New, who facilitate several of our ACE Peer Groups, ask owners how much time a week their spending on solving their labor problems, they almost always hear the same answer: “Well, a couple hours, but that’s because I have so many other things to do!”
Now, as an owner of a landscaping company myself, I can completely relate to that, but I also know that if you don’t make confronting your greatest challenge a priority, you’ll never get past it and your business won’t thrive.
Recently, I was conducting an onsite consultation for a landscaping company whose owner had an ambitious vision for his business. He thought they were doing okay but he knew he could accomplish so much more if only his team were more engaged and invested in the company’s success.
Sound familiar? I hear this a lot. And every time I do, I ask the owner what it is he or she is doing to foster and drive that engagement.
We can’t grow our companies without hiring and nurturing young people, and without being open to their ideas and insights. I was reminded of this again this week when I headed out to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City to spend some time sharing what I know about our industry with the students in their top-notch horticulture program. As much as I hope I helped them, they helped me to see the challenges we’re facing at Grunder Landscaping in new ways: