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Profit Power: Time to be bold

February 24, 2016 -  By

Have you ever lost 20-30 percent of your business in one fell swoop? A new Leader’s Edge peer group member of mine decided to not get upset when more than half-million dollars of his business walked out the door.

Instead of chasing growth, he opted to shrink the company (temporarily), pruning it like an overgrown tree. The result? A swing of $440,000 in profit to the good, nice bonuses paid out and a new full benefits package announced. Plans for next year? Another $150,000 in additional profit planned. Now that is bold.

What do successful contractors have in common? They make bold moves in good times and bad, and consistently outpace the market.

The larger and more successful your firm, the bolder you need to be. Why? Because larger/older contractors can become complacent and lose their edge due to their success. It’s called The Success Trap.

Here are six more examples of inspiring breakthrough moves, taken straight from my notes of a peer group meeting I led this month. I hope you’ll find them as bold and inspiring as I do.

1. Efficiency gains: After I measured each company’s efficiency, one contractor decided to focus on the bold goal of increasing efficiency from 75 percent up to 95 percent. This move will add a huge amount of value to clients, employees and the company. (How much waste are you tolerating?)

2. Client spin off: A company with a commercial and residential split decided to eliminate one of the two focuses, and shift the company towards a single client segment. He decided that less is more! (Are you over extended?)

3. Family performance: A family-run business is transforming itself with the CEO asking the other family members to raise their productivity to market levels to stay viable in their positions. (Are people too comfortable in your company?)

4. Raise profit expectations: Another contractor has enjoyed a low debt company making average profits. He announced he would ask his leadership team to hit 15 percent profit, by enacting more detailed budgeting, consistent accountability and ruthless tracking of inefficiencies and job costs. (Are your expectations too low? Who is raising the bar for you?)

5. Double down: A Midwest company owner is asking his longstanding employee (and good friend) to focus his role and double his sales output. This new sales target is in line with high-profit standards. (How would your company perform if each salesperson performed at or near the highest expectations?)

6. On the bus or off: A fast-growing, profitable firm gave one of its key leaders an ultimatum: You must get in line with our values. Such a bold conversation will reap big rewards. (Is there a difficult conversation you need to have?)

To perform like a leader, you must make bold moves, in good times and bad. Here are three ideas for taking action:

1. Streamline your company goals and focus on fewer moves, but make them bolder. Ideally choose one big bold company goal for 2016 or at most three moderately bold goals.

2. Ask every division to focus on one bold action or improvement.

3. Set bold learning goals. Growth happens from the inside out. What professional growth step will you take that will drive your business success?

This article is tagged with , , , and posted in Blog
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

1 Comment on "Profit Power: Time to be bold"

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  1. Gregg Robertson says:

    Great article Jeffrey! Good lesson that revenue growth doesn’t necessarily lead to profit growth!