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Profit Power: Start the year strong

January 25, 2016 -  By

Starting the year strong means getting everyone on the same page, motivated to pull in the same direction as you. Here are eight steps to ensure a successful 2016–and at the end, an invite to a webinar I am holding that explores these strategies in depth.

  1. Decide how you want to do business, and then get everyone on the same page. You want to set the tone for how your business operates. What is your service philosophy towards clients? What are your Dos and Don’ts policies that are sacrosanct and must be followed for your company to run seamlessly? Lastly, what are your company values by which you will run your business? Setting the tone for these at the beginning of the year reminds old employees and on boards new employees to your “company way” of doing business.
  2. Breakdown annual sales targets into specific goals for salespeople and crew leaders. Your budget is based on a set of revenue and sales goals: the minimum revenue goals you need to “sell and build” to reach your minimum profit – that both your sales people and your crew need to understand and be prepared to execute. Your sales people also need to set stretch sales goals. Keep in mind that not all salespeople will hit their stretch goals (or even their expected goals) each year, so you don’t want to plan for perfection; you need wiggle room in your cumulative goals, so you still hit your annual revenue budget even when not all sales goals are hit.
  3. Motivate employees by showing them how to get a raise and a bonus (incentive). Regarding base pay: Every employee should know what they need to do to get a raise; they should have specific learning goals related to their career ladder that they need to achieve to get a raise. Regarding a bonus: Once every employee knows their goals, show them what’s in it for them. Encourage them to think like an owner by rewarding them for hitting benchmarks that also reward the company. A good incentive system turns working into a game – and who doesn’t like playing and winning a game?
  4. Steer all employees to the personal goals they need to achieve to meet expectations. Related to the point before, every single employee plays an important role (cog) in the machinations of your company. They need direction and feedback so they know how they are doing, what they should keep doing, and what they should both stop and start doing. Sitting down with them one-on-one, a few times throughout the year will keep them focused on their own goals and align them to larger goal of the company.
  5. Mandate communication expectations, so the whole team stays on track even as the spring rush hits. You need a communication system of daily, weekly and monthly communication in order to keep your entire company on track. The daily communication is the most important. For example, at the crew level, mandate how communication needs to happen each day to make your company work smoothly.
    • A daily huddle to kick-start the morning.
    • Crew checking in before the end of the day, altering the boss to their status.
    • Administrative work completed and handed in and at end of day (where applicable).

    Decide your daily, weekly and monthly communication strategy, and stick to it.

  6. Reset client service standards. It is easy to forget that the client is the most important factor in the rush of work in the spring. Sit down with your clients this winter, invite a group for lunch, and have a conversation with them – and record it – and use their feedback to motivate and focus your troops. Find out from their perspective what you do well, where you can improve, and if there are additional services they wish you offered.
  7. Ensure your employees live a culture of constant, never-ending improvement, so the whole team is engaged to “win” in 2016. Do your employees feel safe to suggest better ways of working? Do they feel safe to tell you the tools they need? If you want to engage their hearts you need to engage their minds; they need to feel the freedom to give feedback, make requests, and comment on things they see that are not in alignment with the company goals and values. Free flowing two-way communication is critical to a healthy growing company.
  8. Clarify the owners role in day-to-day operations to ensure this plan stays on track. Lastly, the owner needs to make it clear to him/her self what the role is they need to play. To be a successful leader of a company think “marching band leader,” you can’t lead the band and be playing the trumpet in the band, and worse, you can’t be playing multiple instruments in the band at the same time while you are also trying to lead it. You have to decide your specific role, and delegate the non-crucial activities to your 2nd’s in command and even further down the line to your forepeople, supervisors, and office staff.

Webinar invite: Jeffrey Scott will lead a 90-minute webinar to on this topic and show you in depth tools and tactics for implementing these eight points, go to

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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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