A question that I see a lot on the chat rooms and from the younger landscape contractors is how do I grow my business? The answer my friends is more about your passions than about growing the business. First, there are two types of landscape contractors in the world: 1) The person who has a passion for the landscape industry and business, who wants to work outdooors or with plants and 2) The business person who starts in the landscape business because an opportunity came along. Both would ask the question and get much different answers.
The person who has the passion for the outdoors and working in the horticulture world is more likely to select segments of the landscape industry that offer more plant related involvement, perhaps the maintenance side of the industry. The business person is more likely to select a part of the industry that allows more challenges and business ability, perhaps the bid/build world. Growing your business is as much about why you started a business in the landscape industry as it is any other reason. What direction you take your business is going to depend on where you want the business to go. Are you looking for a quick sales opportunity or are you building a business for your children to take over in the future?
After you make the decision where the business is headed, then I think you can start to consider growth opportunities. You need to know were you are going to end up. An exit strategy is a good place to start. Many business gurus suggest that when start a business the exit strategy is part of the planning done at the beginning. Knowing were you are getting off this business train is very important to any growth consideration. Growth can occur in your core business, it can come by entering a new line of work, and it can come from a totally unrelated portion of the business world. So when someone sayes, “I want to grow my business”, the answer is more complex than just growing your core business or expanding into a different part of the landscape industry.
Business is a complex enitity., Emotions, timing, family, financial considerations all play an important role in your business life. So the question is much more complex than it may seem. Think about the planning that you have completed and where does it suggest your growth come from? The question itself suggests that you have not done the planning necessary for your business to grow. Growth can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. So ask yourself the questions, why do I want to grow and what does my strategic plan tell me to do?
If you don’t have a strategic plan, create one. If you have not addressed the exit strategy, create it. Before you talk about growth, think about where your passion lays.