It doesn’t matter what part of the industry you service, there are challenges common to everyone in the landscape industry. Both design-build firms and maintenance companies all want to attract more qualified prospects and close more sales. Applicators and irrigation companies still need to recruit, hire, and manage outstanding employees. And we all need to use computers and the internet in the course of running our businesses.
Describeit exists to help landscape business owners succeed, so we thought about some challenges common to all landscape professionals and put together a list of resources, grouped by category. Take a look and if you think we missed a good one, drop us an email and we’ll check it out.
Landscape Sales & Marketing
One of the best ways to grow in your business is to have a team of advisors to help coach you and push you to the next level. That’s not always practical, but at least there are some super smart folks out there giving out a ton of information online. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Landscape Leadership – Chris Heiler’s background as a landscape designer has helped him as an industry consultant. His blog and podcast provide loads of actionable content on everything from software reviews to managing your sales staff.
- From Design2Build: Jody Shilan is another landscape designer-turned-consultant with a great blog and a stellar podcast. One of my favorite “golden nuggets” that Jody gave me was his tips on creating an unbiddable drawing. You could learn a lot from Jody.
- The National Association of Landscape Professionals (formerly PLANET) hosts some excellent webinar series on all sorts of landscape sales and business topics. You can also learn about symposia, peer groups, and more.
- The Landscape Business Pro Podcast – Stan Genadek is a landscape industry veteran who has built up a pretty awesome podcast. His guests range from consultants offering a high-level view of how to grow your business to some of the current crop of landscape industry YouTube stars. Definitely worth a listen in your truck, at the gym, or on a machine.
- MarkupandProfit.com is a blog and e-newsletter that I look forward to seeing in my inbox. Topics range from high level business management topics like overhead recovery and margins, to mundane but frustrating topics like customers asking to supply their own materials. It’s geared to the trades in general as opposed to just the landscape industry but the info applies to all of us.
Management & Personnel
People are essential to growth. They’re also notoriously difficult to manage, and owners and managers in the landscape industry face the additional challenges of a seasonal workforce. Whether you’re researching overtime rules or figuring out salary and bonus structures, there are resources out there for you.
- ADP, the massive payroll company, offers several resources for small business through their website. Solutions for Small Business is a blog with nuts and bolts info on employment law, HR policies, and more. If you really want to go down the rabbit hole and look at bigger picture trends, the ADP Research Institute has a wealth of information. And, of course, they do payroll.
- Jeffrey Scott is a landscape industry consultant who I’ve followed for years. He offers webinars, seminars, peer groups, and coaching. His e-newsletter always has great tips, especially when it comes to managing and developing your staff.
- For when you need to dig deep into HR issues but you want something that’s actually enjoyable to read, check out Steve Boese’s HR Technology blog. Steve also teaches classes on human resources, where his ability to educate and help you understand complex topics really comes to light.
Computers & The Web
bigstock-Happy-couple-using-laptop-in-t-47913287_copyTechnology and the internet are both changing at a rapid pace and it can be hard to keep up. Doing so, however, gives you a great leg up on the competition. Here are some resources for staying out in front.
- The Daily Egg is a blog about conversion optimization. In simpler terms: it’s there to help you figure out how to get people to your website and turn those visitors into customers.
- Understanding Google Business and My Local Search may not be the most exciting blog title but don’t let that stop you. Mike Blumenthal helps you understand the sometimes impenetrable workings of Google Local, which is key to customers finding your business online.
- Marcus Sheridan is The Sales Lion. Marcus used blogging and social media to turn his pool business around after it was hit hard by the recession. That has turned into a career built on teaching small businesses how to use the potent mix of their internal resources and the web to attract qualified buyers. Great stuff.
- If you’re a landscape designer and you use SketchUp for your 3D designs you need to check out Sketchucation. The forum was started almost a decade ago and it’s a global community of amazing 3D artists. It includes not only landscape designers but architects, interior designers, graphic designers, and even comic book artists. It’s a place to learn and to become inspired.
Describeit is a powerful software sales tool for landscape professionals and we’re always on the lookout for any ways we can help you succeed. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss a post that might help solve your latest problem, click the button below to subscribe to the blog.
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