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Editor’s Note: Competitive spirit

October 16, 2018 -  By
Headshot: Marisa Palmieri

Headshot: Marisa Palmieri

The industry is being squeezed between lowballers and big national contractors,” a reader wrote to me recently.

I have heard this dilemma before in several different forms. The question always comes down to, “How do I compete to win when I’m facing both larger competitors and lowballers?”

We selected this question as the theme of our 2019 Business Planner issue. We’ve lined up eight articles for you from various landscape industry experts all centered on this topic. You’ll read about how a stable team is your competitive advantage, why you should measure it and how to do so from James Cali and Jason New. You’ll hear from financial expert Greg Herring, who discusses a few key reports you may want to begin tracking and how they can help you make above-average profits.

I couldn’t have picked a more fitting topic to run alongside our cover story on Grunder Landscaping Co. this month. President and CEO Marty Grunder is a self-proclaimed “competitive S.O.B.”

Many people who have achieved his level of success would be complacent and happy enough to run their award-winning, nearly $6-million company with an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. But not Marty.

Grunder Landscape Co. certainly wasn’t broken, but last year a few of Marty’s friends shined a light on his company and several areas of opportunity. He didn’t ask for their help. He could have politely declined their feedback and went about his business. But he didn’t. He heard their critiques with an open mind.

“I’m not really wired to just be OK,” Marty says. He talks about his wife, Lisa, and his four children: Grant, Lily, Katie and Emily.

“I want them to know that I’m trying every single day to be the best dad, husband, businessperson and person in general, that I can be,” he says. “It’s like Jim Collins says in Good to Great, ‘Good is the enemy of great.’ If we think we’re so good that we don’t have any work to do, that’s a problem.”

Talk about a competitive advantage. Check out the cover story to learn more about Marty, his firm and the changes they’re implementing to improve today and in the future.

Also starting this month, Marty joins LM with a new, monthly column. He’ll share the unique insights he’s learned from being both a landscape professional and an industry consultant.

We welcome his competitive spirit, and we look forward to growing together.

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Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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