Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beverly Hills, baby!

It's time again for Rain Bird's Intelligent Use of Water Film competition. And that means you have another chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Southern California this October!

At the beautiful Paley Center in Beverly Hills, you'll join other Green Industry professionals and journalists in watching the films unfold on the big screen. The annual event helps recognize great filmmaking that raises awareness of the need to preserve the world's most fundamental resource. At the end of the screening, the audience will have an opportunity to name the year’s best film. 

Enter the sweepstakes here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Big clients CAN kill you

By Jeffrey Scott, MBA

It almost happened to me: the biggest client we ever had (million ++), at a time when we really needed the money and cash (think: recession...15 years ago). He was a pain through negotiations, and yet we bit our tongues and signed him up with a big margin. Big mistake. 

This client played all kinds of tricks on us, and he never intended to pay his final 10%. In fact, he brought troubles that I don't even want to recount in print. Sure, his cash helped us...initially....but his chaos hurt us. I have learned my lesson. The clients you say "No" to can be your best clients!

The other problem with big clients is they upset your sales cycle. You run out of time to develop new business because you are so busy with the "big" job. Trust me, this happens.

Are you feeling a cash crunch or a profit lull? Don't look for a silver bullet. Look for a better system and a better approach to your business. More of the same is just that....more sales on top of a bad financial or operational structure will do you more harm -- amplified.

When my consulting clients ask me to help them with sales, I don't automatically say, "Yes." I say, "Yes, tell me what's going on in the business." Sometimes sales will balance out your overhead, and sometimes it will make you lose more money.

Big clients are fun to brag about, but they can kill your morale and your wallet.

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, grew his landscape firm into a $10 million enterprise. He now helps owners transform and profitably grow their landscape businesses by coaching them within a peer group format. Learn about his peer groups at www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com or contact him at jeff@jeffreyscott.biz.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care

Randy's Take
While flying to Chicago with 2 buddies for a golf getaway (one of them is from there) I am reading "The Big Miss" by Hank Haney. It's about his time coaching Tiger Woods. I keep referring back to a folded page featuring a quote from Kevin Kleven: "Nobody cares how much youu know until they know how much you care."

Man, how appropriate is that saying? Take some time to reflect on that statement. It really sinks in.  As an owner , a management person, foreman or supervisor are you a know-it-all and can't seem to get your point or points across? Does anyone seem to care? Do they tune out when you're talking? Does their body language twist and turn when you speak?

Well, just maybe you have come across as a know-it-all and don't or haven't bonded with your team. Whether it is upper, middle or lower management, you have to have a connection with your team. And those in the hierarchy or chain of command must bond with their team and subordinates. 

You or they don't have to be best buds. Your team just needs to know you care about them. Caring means a lot. Whether it is listening to their needs or wants, take the time to listen to them. More importantly, ask about how their day went, how their weekend was, how their family's doing -- anything and everything about them. Do not make it about you! Let them talk. Remember what they talked about and what interested them. Then when you see them again, bring it up.

Let them know you care. When they know you care, they will be interested in what you say and what you want to teach them. I guarantee they will work harder and smarter for you as well. Try it. If it doesn't work, email me and we'll work on another solution.

Have an awesome day and week! Enjoy your summer and remember, we need to have fun along the way so we can be better bosses, managers and people. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Least we could do

It's hard not to get choked up when you're taking part in PLANET's Renewal & Remembrance event at Arlington National Cemetery. Here, for the past 16 years, Green Industry volunteers have convened to donate their time and materials to help preserve the hallowed grounds where so many of our country's finest men and women rest.

I caught myself tearing up during the Pledge of Allegiance, changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier and especially when a funeral procession rolled by and all the volunteers shut down their equipment as the caisson, troops and band passed. I'm kind of a crybaby, so it's no surprise, but I know I wasn't the only one welling up.

The 400 volunteers took a moment of silence during the opening ceremony this morning, and it seems as if another one's in order for those who couldn't make it.

But first, a recommendation: If you've never participated in this event, put it on your calendar for next year. I promise you won't regret it. Such service is a rite of passage, and the least we all could do. --Marisa Palmieri

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Social media cheat sheet

Social media adoption among Green Industry businesses has vastly improved over the past few years, but it's likely many companies are participating in just one or two sites and haven't quite figured out the rest yet.

To help you decipher all of the different platforms and whether or not you should be using them, Chris Heiler, social media guru and founder/president of LandscapeLeadership.com, created this cool infographic. We especially like the "best for" box, which spells out the practical application of each tool. --Marisa Palmieri

Infographic by Landscape Leadership

Monday, July 02, 2012

Angry Birds?

Clean uniforms and tidy trucks are a point of distinction for many landscape and lawn care companies. Do you ever feel like you can't keep the bird droppings off of your vehicles, no matter how often your crews wash them? 

Are your trucks red? A new study suggests they're birds' favorite targets.

A recent study conducted by British auto retailer Halfords analyzed 1,100 cars over two days, the Huffington Post reports. At the end of the period, 18 percent of the pooped-on cars were red, 14 percent were blue and 11 percent were black. White vehicles made up 7 percent, followed by gray/silver (3 percent) and green, which netted only 1 percent of the droppings. 

Maybe it's time to think about switching to green trucks. --Marisa Palmieri