As we all know, our prospects and clients have a lot of landscaping companies to choose from—some 505,643 to be exact, according to the most recent IBISWorld Report on the state of our industry in the US. So how do you distinguish yourself from so many competitors? How do you stand out in a sea of sameness?
The other day I finished up what I had to get done at the office and made a mad dash for the fitness class I take with my wife. The gym is located in a busy shopping and restaurant complex and it’s always a challenge to get there and get parked in time.
So naturally I was a bit frustrated when I pulled into the lot and found myself blocked by an idling construction truck and a crew taking their nice sweet time packing up. I waited, and waited, and waited as they chatted and laughed with each other and completely ignored me and the line of cars that had formed behind me. I tapped on my horn to get their attention but they just gave me a dirty look and then went right back to chatting, until finally they left.
After having just gotten off the phone with Jim McCutcheon, CEO of HighGrove Partners in Atlanta, I had some great motivation to write this column. A trained landscape architect by way of the University of Georgia, Jim is also one of the savviest businessmen I know, steering his company to become an acclaimed leader in commercial landscaping services, and demonstrating a dedication to our profession that’s as contagious as it is inspiring.
I had called Jim to iron out the final details on a fun educational event the great Frank Mariani and I will be holding (“Frank and Marty’s Excellent Adventure”) with the National Association of Landscape Professionals at HighGrove in August. As with every conversation I’ve had with Jim in the seven years since Frank introduced us, I was struck by just how much there is to learn from the man.
Here are some of the most valuable lessons I’ve come away with: