5 Steps in Building Your Business

 

The following are 5 basic steps in building a successful lawn care or landscape business.  In addition to these steps, you should be conscious of developing and building your brand from the very beginning.  Your brand or image is how consumers perceive your company (if they are aware of you at all).  Changing that perception can be much more difficult than developing it to begin with.  Read more about BRANDS AND BRAND IMAGE.

 

If you're driving an old rusted truck then that's the image your customers and prospects will have of you.  If your website looks like it was created by a third grader, the perception of your company will be reflected as such.  If your techs are servicing properties in muscle shirts and ripped jeans, your brand may be more closely associated with hooligans than a professional service organization.

 

Brand or image is something you’ve been creating since the moment you serviced your first customer – whether you were aware of it or not.  The sooner and more you pay attention to it, the better your chances of creating a brand that is perceived well and remembered in the market place.

 

1. Know your market and your customers.

First – know the market: know what people want to buy and be prepared to sell it to them.

Second – know your customers: not all customers are created equal. Profile customers regularly and monitor profitability.  Which are your most profitable segments?  Identify your most profitable segments by geography and demographics and target your marketing accordingly.  And of course, treat your most profitable customers like they are very special.  They are.

 

2. Build route density.

Route density is a big key to profitability. Target your marketing in a way that builds profitable routes. Keep drive time in mind when creating your marketing plans and mail drop schedules.  Traffic and access (bridges, toll roads) does come into play.

 

3. Build up your team’s bench.

Preparing for growth is crucial and you’re in a “people” business.  Many companies pass up growth opportunities because they don’t have the staff to take on new business.  The best companies don’t miss growth opportunities because they build their bench and have people ready to handle opportunities.  You’re company and brand is only as good as the quality of employees you have representing you.

 

4. Build cash reserves for future growth.

Lack of capital can limit your company’s growth.  Build cash reserves wherever possible and establish a business credit line so that when opportunities arise, your company has the capital to fund it.

 

5. Maintain consistent marketing efforts.

It is important to maintain consistent sales and marketing on an ongoing basis.  It takes time to build sales traction; try not to lose it once you have it.  Whenever possible keep your marketing programs moving forward, especially in tough economic times when sales are tough to come by.  Reducing overhead by eliminating or extremely cutting back marketing cost is a normal reaction to tough times – but it’s the wrong one.  Instead, tighten your marketing to your most profitable segments and consider eliminating customer routes that are not profitable.  There is a momentum to marketing.  Once you stop, you lose that momentum and brand awareness and it could take years to get back to where you are.