For most landscape contractors (at least in the northern half of the country), winter is a somewhat slower time of the year. Before the pandemic, it was possible to travel and take a vacation to recharge the internal battery. Not so much now. So how does one use winter to pull back from the busy season and prevent burnout safely? How does one get energized and excited about the coming year? We have a few suggestions.
Besides plants, gardening, and the green industry, at RightPlantz we are fanatical about working out. You do not need to train for a triathlon or a marathon to benefit from good exercise. A good workout gets the heart pumping, works the lungs, clears the head and helps one sleep better. All of these help to provide you with clarity and energy to face new challenges.
Can’t go to the gym, not a problem. Take a walk, do pushups and other body weight exercises, or even lift five gallon buckets filled with sand (to an appropriate level, of course). Do whatever feels good to you but do something.
One trick to keep in mind so exercise doesn’t get put off, actually put it on the calendar.
Create A Budget
Maybe you’re a numbers person, maybe not. Either way, if you own a business you need a budget. A budget is your financial roadmap for the year. It tells you what you need to charge in order to cover your direct expenses, recover your overhead, and make a profit you deserve.
Making a budget is not easy and the result is certainly not perfect, but it is vital to have your business perform financially the way you need it to.
Buy From A Local Business
Strong communities make for strong businesses. Most residential landscapers and home improvement contractors had a pretty good year during the pandemic. People stayed home, didn’t take vacations, looked around at their homes and decided to invest in improvements. This is not true for local restaurants and shops. The owners of these businesses need everyone’s help. Buy local. Help strengthen your community.
Call A Friend
Now more than ever, people need connections and to know that others care about them. So do we. Reach out to an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and let them know what they mean to you. They’ll feel better, and so will you.
Map Out A Marketing Plan
Business growth often requires marketing. Marketing should not be half-assed. Decide where you want your business to grow and devise a plan on how to reach out to the customers that want to buy those services. Set an annual amount to spend (remember the budget section above?) and consider how to best spend that money for the best return on the dollar.
Take A Mini-Sabbatical
If you are feeling exhausted or anxious about the last year, now may be the right time to shut it down for a few days. When we say shut it down, we mean it. No internet, no social media, no cell phone. In reality, it may not be possible to completely shut these things out of your life but do the best you can. Consider renting an Air BnB somewhere remote to really get away from it. Your brain needs time to rest. You will feel amazing afterwards.
Just in case you do not know, SOP’s are Standard Operating Procedures. These are instructions on how to do any and every facet of your business. If you hope to be able to step away from the day to day operations of your business in order to focus on bigger picture items (like creating a budget or a marketing plan for instance), then you need to start creating SOP’s. Start with easy ones. They get easier to write after some practice. A great place to start is be reading the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. It is a blueprint on documenting your business.
Find A Mentor
Having someone in your life who has been there before is a gold mine. A good mentor can guide you and help you grow. They are also an outside brain and voice that helps you see things differently than you may see things. A good mentor can be your greatest champion. Most successful business people are happy to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. If you do not have someone in your life you feel comfortable asking, seek out the SBA Score program. They have free mentors available.
Network Virtually With Industry Peers
One of the great things about the green industry is that people are happy to help others and share insights. You don’t have to go it alone. Finding peers you can speak to regularly or ask for input from is invaluable. You will probably find that any issues you are facing in your business are the same issues others have had at one point or another.
Take A Class
Always be learning. It is always good to learn something new and expand one’s horizons. The industry is packed with free seminars and webinars for whatever area of expertise your company offers. You can find a podcast for just about any and every subject under the sun. Want to go deeper, look to Coursea for an amazing catalogue of quality college classes, many of which are free. The bottom line is, no matter what subject you choose to dig into, green industry or not, knowledge is power.
One other easy and relaxing way to expand the mind is through reading. Whether you get lost in a fiction story or want to gain some new perspective from a work of non-fiction, reading is a terrific way to expand the mind. Side Note – We are reading Atomic Habits by right now.
Growing Better Gardeners is not just our tagline, it is our mission.
RightPlantz is the leading digital marketplace connecting homeowners and garden enthusiasts with local green industry professionals. RightPlantz is where gardening starts. Millions of homeowners around the country search for landscape, lawn care, arborists, irrigation installation and garden centers companies every year. RightPlantz is where green industry businesses grow.