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Profit Power: Best practices for staying calm, cool and collected during the busy season

April 13, 2021 -  By
Clock and calendar (Photo: Misha Shutkevych / iStock / Getty Images /Getty Images Plus)

Photo: Misha Shutkevych / iStock / Getty Images /Getty Images Plus

How do you stay calm, cool and collected during the busy season?

Do you have a system that works well for you?

I asked the high-performing clients in my community this question, and the answers were eye opening in their consistency. There is a common thread in what the best entrepreneurs do in both their personal lives and their approach to the business.

Here is a checklist I created so you can see how many of these best practices you follow.

I also added some anecdotes from these clients down below, that elaborate on the most important elements.

Personal best practices to stay calm and collected

  • Maintain your personal fitness regimen during the busy season.
  • Eat well (don’t succumb to fast food).
  • Spend time in nature on a regular basis: gardening, pruning, walking in the forest, fishing, boating, etc.
  • Turn the phone off when with your family.
  • Practice some form of daily meditation, breathing, enumerating your gratitudes.
  • Get out of the office to change focus.
  • Sleep well, getting full nights rest.
  • Stay spiritual, e.g., reading the Bible, or whatever this means for you.
  • Maintain self-awareness, focus on the big picture, e.g., family, knowing “this too shall pass.”

How many of these do you adhere to?

Business best practices to keep organized, calm and productive

  • Communicate (and overcommunicate) to remove the doubt from people’s minds (employees and clients) and keep everyone in the loop. Communicate even when the update is “there is no update.”
  • Have a business plan and anticipate bottle necks before they happen; i.e., be proactive.
  • Spend quiet/alone time in the morning and evening for daily and weekly planning.
  • Interact with your crews, e.g., at your yard or on your job sites, to keep you engaged and keep them pumped.
  • Delegate: proactively before the season and reactively as things fall on your plate.
  • Receive clear metrics of success: sales, operations and morale.
  • Be a positive force with yourself and with your people.
  • Remind people of their past successes, current importance and a timeline when the storm will pass.
  • Have a Plan B, in case things don’t work out per plan; again, be proactive.

How many of these do you adhere to?

Here are a few best practice anecdotes from my top clients on how to proactively overcome the stress and chaos of the busy season.

Grow the team: I enjoy watching and supporting my team to grow through adversity. I’m developing a greater purpose; I’m enjoying watching many on our team grow and succeed at levels they never thought they could.

Delegation: Wake up early to have quiet time to myself. During this time, I write down my to-do list. I delegate everything I can from that list. I also write down/journal my gratitude, a minimum of seven things I’m grateful for. This spikes my dopamine and puts me in a good mood to roll with the punches the rest of the day.

Communication: Staying calm and collected through the busy season is accomplished through solid communication. Communicating on an expected rhythm with clients and staff keeps me on top of things and reduces miscommunications. This includes the “no update, update,” meaning that even communicating the fact that you have no new info to bring up is still valuable. I provide my clients with “no update updates” weekly, if there is nothing of substance for an actual weekly update. It’s all about consistent communication. Clients and staff are not left wondering what’s going on if they haven’t heard from you.

Complete task fully: I don’t have too many projects/tasks unfinished. The unfinished projects on the mind create more stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

Helping your team: I connect with a team member and helping them personally – helps me remember that I have it really good,

Perspective: Reminding myself that this day or month or year is not as important as the whole process. If we have a bad week or month, it is OK because we are in this thing for the long run.

Proactive planning: I think surviving the busy season starts well before the season begins. Anticipate bottlenecks and delegate appropriate tasks to competent staff to reduce these pinch points. Support them in their new responsibilities, but don’t let them hand the tasks back because it’s “hard” for them (and easy for us to reaccept).

Grease the wheels: I try to stay out of the way of my team and avoid big change as much as possible during the months of April, May and June.

Be the beacon of positivity: I also keep telling myself with we have been through worse things in the past, and we win more than we lose as a team. I always try to stay positive with them and don’t share bad thoughts to make them worry during that time of the year.

Mindset: It’s all about the mindset! Time to take action. Communicate with clear expectations in everything I do. Team huddles, weekly meetings.

Focus on bigger picture: I listen to industry related podcasts like Jeffrey Scott’s “The Ultimate Landscape CEO” while driving. It takes my mind off of the immediate chaos and demands of the spring push and introduces big picture topics and ideas. I get out of my car with a renewed energy and sense of optimism.

Minimize surprises: To minimize surprises, I focus on the things I have control over and arrive early at my office to prepare for the day. I also set expectations at the end of the day for the next. Inevitably, there will be some surprises every day, but being well-prepared reduces the associated chaos.

Customer communication: When the customer begins getting frustrated, it’s very difficult to regain their trust and confidence. Every customer has a different communication styles, but it’s rare for them to become frustrated when we overcommunicate. Reducing customer frustration may be the No. 1 practice to keep everyone calm, cool and collected.

Nature walks. For me, it is taking a quick walk in the woods; I call it canopy time. If I can’t get into the woods, I close my eyes and focus on my breathing.

Running longer: I try to focus on something outside of work that takes my mind away or gives me something else to focus on. I usually start running more often and longer runs. This also gives my body a healthy outlet to release the stress. I also find that if my body is in good shape, I typically handle stress better. When I am out of shape, I feel the effects of stress more.

Fishing. I try to take the time to do something outdoors away from work and tech to break what can sometimes be a bottomless work thought chain. It seems as though a change in environment allows me to take a mental break more easily than trying to do so in or around the environment in which I work. For me, it’s usually fishing!

Your challenge: Two stages of proactivity.

1. Find your unique rhythm that works for you, and keep to it every day and week no matter how busy and stressful it gets.

2. As you grow, make sure your leaders do the same. Teach and guide them to find their balance and proactively reduce the stress within the business and themselves.

Good luck this spring.

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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com.

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