We asked LMN consultants, VIPs and co-founders to share their success secrets
The beginning of the year is a great time to evaluate your business strategies, set goals and put in place the practices that will help your landscaping business grow. But don’t worry if you weren’t right on the ball with your New Year’s resolutions anytime is the right time for a business-building shift in mindset or focus.
We turned to the wisdom and experience of the LMN Consultants community to learn just how it is that the most successful landscaping entrepreneurs and companies got that way. In this post, you’ll find innovative and actionable tips they’ve shared to help you prioritize and focus on your highest-impact opportunities for 2020.
Keeping yourself and your team motivated is tough work, especially once you get into the grind of your high season.
Sahra Linneman of The Green Executive says you need to get moving—then keep going! “Do that thing you've been putting off,” she says.
Avoid procrastination and at least get the ball rolling on your largest and most intimidating tasks or goals. Don’t be afraid to delegate. Importantly, remember to break your landscaping business goals into milestones so you have a chance to recognize the progress you’re making. Sahra says, “You'll be so glad you did that you'll be over the moon with pride and energy. But don't stop there... do the next thing you've been putting off and keep it rolling.”
Here’s a counterintuitive secret you really can take to heart: exhaustion does not equal success. Success is neither defined by nor reliant upon the sheer number of hours you log in a week.
In the opinion of business consultant Frank Bourque (CCPI, ARPT), managing your time more efficiently could be one of your most rewarding and freeing achievements of 2020.
“Doing more of what’s important and focusing on the most efficient way to do it can give you back more time for other meaningful things you enjoy,” he says. “This may be getting to spend more time with those you love, or simply feeling more freedom because you gain control over your time, your schedule and your life again.” He notes that improving your time management can also help improve sales, as you become more efficient and able to complete more profitable work. According to Frank:
Caleb and Brittany Auman, owner/operators of the successful Ohio landscaping firm Auman Landscape, agree that getting a handle on your time can be one of the most impactful improvements you can make in your business.
“For us, the secret to wealth, health, and happiness is time. Take the time to budget and plan your finances. When you focus on getting your finances in order everything else will fall into place,” Caleb recommends.
Speaking of getting your finances in shape, it’s difficult to know just where and when to invest to produce the most positive results for your landscaping business. Adam Linnemann of The Green Executive shares an innovative tip for structuring your landscaping company for revenue maximization and the possibility of tax mitigation.
“Always consult with your Certified Public Accountant first, but consider a quitclaim deed,” Adam says. “Transfer ownership of your shop facility property into another separate entity and lease this property back to your company for additional revenue and means of income. There may be some favorable tax advantages in doing so.”
Janna Bradley, COO and co-founder of LMN, says it’s critical that you invest in key overhead expenses early on, and definitely as soon as possible if it wasn’t feasible before now. “Invest in recruiting (and keeping) a great office staff and of course, in the right software,” she says.
Of course, you need to invest in yourself every bit as much as you do in your business. Adam Linnemann also recommends making a gym membership part of your routine. He says, “Exercise reduces stress and is good for your health. The gym is actually a fine place to network, too. Make friends and build relationships with your network of people. This will result in future sales and a healthier lifestyle!”
Caleb and Brittany Auman remind us that our health is something too many take for granted. “We've found that we feel better when we take time to ourselves to focus on our family, relationship, and hobbies,” Brittany says. “Whether it’s kayaking, riding horses, or something else it just gives us an opportunity to re-focus, it’s important to take that time. As a couple, we try to take one day per month (this past year it was more like once a quarter) and do a date day. We still talk business and family stuff, but it’s a day to reconnect and redirect our priorities.”
Mark Bradley, CEO and co-founder here at LMN, reminds landscape business owners to invest in your most valuable assets—your employees.
“Share your vision with the great people you have on staff and create key performance metrics for everyone in the organization,” he says. Then, Mark recommends, get out of their way! “As the owner, it’s important that you have a high-level, 360° view of everything that’s going on, but only take action when things are not working.”
It’s important that employees know they have the space to make mistakes and learn for themselves. “Teach your more experienced employees to invest time in teaching and coaching new staff, so that they can personally advance within the company,” Mark says. It’s important that you are not the only force driving innovation in the company. You can motivate employees with bonuses tied to individual and group success.
It’s important to be part of an active community of professionals passionate about the industry and artistry of landscaping. These are the people who will perennially teach you, inspire you, and help drive your growth in myriad ways.
Neil Glatt of Grow The Bench says that over the course of his career, the time he has invested in learning and mentoring others has had a compound interest effect.
“Keep your ear to the ground and purposefully build a community,” Janna Bradley adds. Don’t forget that your customers can be an important part of your community.
“We (LMN) wouldn’t be where we are today had we not actively listened to our users and their feedback,” Janna says. For example, the LMN Users Group on Facebook has over 1,300 members and many participate daily. It’s important to not only encourage feedback but to make sure you’re providing channels to solicit and respond to it.
What drives you and the decisions you make for your business? For the owners of Auman Landscape, their happiness is their ‘why.’
“If you do not enjoy being a business owner, why own a business that takes up countless hours of your life?” Brittany Auman wonders.
Frank Bourque notes that when you bring more focus, you bring more value to others such as your clients, employees and family. “It will make it easier for them to also want to give you more as well,” he says. “A simple way to do this is only say ‘yes’ to any given ask if you are absolutely willing to commit to it. Do what you say you will do and then do a just a little more. Everyone likes good surprises…”
One technique that Neil Glatt uses to enhance his focus is to set boundaries around his commitments to others.
“I don’t attend meetings unless I understand the purpose, believe it is beneficial and necessary, ensure everyone is prepared, and the time allotted is appropriate,” Neil says. He adds, “I don’t waste time with prospects who won’t buy and I won’t send out a quote unless the person asking for it meets stringent requirements.”
Neil also uses templates for the emails he sends most often and recommends leveraging technology to automate repetitive tasks. “All of this allows me to accomplish so much with minimal time invested. So no, I’m not that busy. I no longer see being busy as a badge of honor. I strive for efficiency.”
Are there practices shared by our expert consultants and community here that you think you can incorporate into your routine for the coming year? Or has this post inspired you to make other changes or shift your perspective in a particular way? Share your thoughts in the comments!
And before you go, stop by The LMN Academy to access free online training resources and browse upcoming in-person training opportunities that will help grow your business this year and beyond. Have questions? Reach out by phone or email and a member of the LMN Team will get back to you ASAP to see how we can help.
To your continued landscaping business success with 2020 vision!