Business Insider: Why taking calculated risks helps you grow beyond your budget

November 15, 2023 -  By
(Photo: SARINYAPINNGAM/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

(Photo: SARINYAPINNGAM/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

I’m a big believer in budgets. Your ability to manage monthly budgets tied to revenue and billable hours is critical. It is the difference between winning and losing.

However, proper budgeting is not enough for massive success. You must be willing to take chances and grab the big opportunities that will accelerate your progress.

I recently interviewed my good friends and clients, brothers Wade and Dustin Vugteveen of DeHamer Landscaping in Grand Rapids, Mich. We discussed the rapid growth of their business. It was clear they made big moves outside of their annual budgets.

(Listen to their full story on my podcast, The Ultimate Landscape CEO.)

Opportunities outside of your budget

Wade reminded me that after their very first visit to my Leader’s Edge peer group, he and his brother immediately decided to raise their game in snow and ice management.

After seeing the financial success of their peers in similar snow markets, they went big. They bought loaders, hired a salesperson and took a large, calculated risk.

The timing was right, and it paid off handsomely.

Over hiring

The first coaching assignment I gave them was to hire a professional office manager: an A+ player.

Hiring this office manager allowed Wade, the managing partner of the business, to get his hands out of bookkeeping and billing. Amazingly (for their size), he was still doing it all.

They received 100 resumes and hired the top applicant. She took over for Wade and did his job better and faster.

Within two years, she also took over their installation division. She was raising the bar inside the company.

What is an A+ player?

An A+ Player has the skills and experience to operate expertly at a higher future level. You are hiring for tomorrow when you bring in an A+ player today.

A+ players cost more. So, don’t get hemmed in by frugality, especially when restructuring your own role. Stretch your hiring budget, and that person will stretch your organization.

Fast growth creates a mess

As DeHamer Landscaping began to scale quickly, things got messy. The owners needed a COO to pull together the loose ends as well as do the blocking and tackling.

They hired a proven implementer who had led a local electrical contractor to success. This new role was not in their budget, but fast growth dictated the need.

Needless to say, the investment paid off, and De Hamer Landscaping built a platform for even stronger, faster growth.

Hiring is easy

I hear repeatedly how difficult hiring is. You should not use this as an excuse to grow slowly. It just means you need to take a better approach.

Here’s two suggestions for how to do that:

1. Build a reputation as a destination company and you will attract and retain great employees. Past employees will clamor to get back in.

2. Use professional recruiters and headhunters to greatly widen your hiring pool.

Special skills

Managing fast growth requires a specific set of skills. This includes:

1. Financial savvy and good financing. It requires access to cash, excellent operational margins and financial accountability up and down the organization.

2. Adaptability and innovation. The faster you grow, the quicker problems and opportunities will hit you head on. Dealing with them requires a strong and flexible team that can pivot while making thoughtful decisions.

3. Understanding the market. Growth is not arbitrary. It is driven by what’s in the best interest of your clients and your team, and it fills unmet needs in the market that line up with your vision and mission.

Fast growth is a team sport. While you are considering your next bold move, you still need someone holding the team accountable, watching out for quality and service and managing your daily, weekly and monthly numbers. It takes a special team to scale quickly!

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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

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