As the lawn care industry slows down, lawn spray business owners finally have the chance to reflect on the year that’s ended and solidify plans for moving ahead. This month, Graham’s national sales director Teddy Mathis offers some ideas to help your business grow in the new year.
– Annual market research will help you keep up with developments in the industry, what your competitors are up to, and changes among your customers and their various demographics. How is COVID affecting home sales in your area? Should you consider expanding your range of services? Is that new product line worth a try?
– Assess your equipment. Is it still the most efficient and effective match for your needs? This is an area where we at Graham Spray Equipment can help a lot – for example, by equipping trucks to provide multiple services, so you can route geographically instead of by grass type or task.
– If you don’t already, make a budget annually. Most owners don’t budget and just operate off of what’s in the bank account. That’s Business Failure 101.
Another mistake made by most in the industry is not allocating money for marketing, which is crucial for growth. When I started my own business, I committed 10% of revenue to marketing. As my company grew, I gradually decreased that number to 3%.
– Owners of any kind of small business should dedicate themselves to ongoing business training. People get into the lawn care industry because they’re interested in agriculture and willing to work hard, but they’re not necessarily good businesspeople or leaders. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources, books and blogs and classes, that will help.
– Your CUSTOMERS are first. Your EMPLOYEES are second. Employees are not 10th on the list. They are VITAL if you’re going to scale and grow a business. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but an employee is a tool – the most complicated tool you’ll ever have to work with. Like any tools, you need to understand how they work to get the most out of them, and they require maintenance to stay at peak performance. I can’t stress this enough — UNDERSTAND YOUR EMPLOYEES. Most don’t put a minute into doing so.
– Two people whose work I have found helpful:
– Dave Ramsey for money management – great common-sense tips for budgeting.
– John Maxwell on leadership – great tips for developing the leader within you and
leaders around you. He’s also got some great podcasts with advice for retaining
customers and employees.
– The two books I would recommend might seem like unusual choices at first because they’re primarily about relationships within families, but they’ve helped me a lot in business.
– Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence
– The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
When you can effectively communicate to people that you care about them, the relationship is stronger, whether it’s a business relationship with a customer or any other kind.
[Proposed conclusion, if we and Teddy think it’s appropriate:]
These are some of the lessons and resources that I’ve found valuable when I was building my own business and now that I’m working to help build Graham’s.