Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marty Grunder


Don’t play the waiting game

Industry Voices

September 1, 2014

Marty Grunder

I want to share with you my favorite quote. I’m not sure who said it or where I even heard it, but I use it all the time and I love it.

“Good things come to those who wait; however, only the things left behind by those who did not.”

For the landscapers I teach how to grow their businesses, it is wisdom they need to follow. To be blunt and challenge you, how long do you wait to take action and how many things around your landscaping company aren’t going well because you haven’t taken action? I know there are a lot of things you need to do. You know you should do them. You just aren’t doing them.

In my ACE groups (Accountability Creates Excellence) we push on each other to take action and get things done. The logic we teach our clients is quite simple. We think that taking action in an area consistent with our strategy is better than sitting still and waiting. Sure, you’ll make mistakes, but most times it’s a lack of action that cripples our businesses. In a recent meeting we had, one of my clients, Matt, proclaimed that since our last meeting “he fired Tommy.” We had heard about Tommy at the previous meeting and how he just wasn’t doing what needed to be done.

The group praised Matt for his action and I could tell Matt felt great about taking action. Rather than doing what most landscapers I see do, he did the hard thing and told someone they could not work at his business any longer. A hard thing to do, unless you look at it from the perspective that the sooner you get the bad ones off the bus and more good ones on the bus, the sooner you can work on more important things that make money.

Brian, another ACE client, used to be someone who blamed everyone else for his issues, never taking responsibility for the results he was getting. After some coaching by my colleagues, Brian has taken his business to the $1-million level by taking action. He puts out a regular newsletter, he has focused his business on residential design/build and has made taking action his top priority. He doesn’t see it. However, I do. I have told him many times that he’s not even the same person I met 10 years ago. He’s a businessman destined for big-time success because he now knows what he wants and takes action.

Where we start isn’t normally where we finish. Along the way we learn more about ourselves and by gaining more knowledge and experience, we are empowered to make decisions. Smart landscapers don’t chase every new idea, piece of equipment or client. They have a strategy in place.

They know who their ideal client is; they know who their ideal team member is and they know what they do best and find others to do what they don’t do well. Empowered with these talents, they tend to take action – and more times than not – the right actions. Having a strategy is the key.

Two other owners I know, Mike and Chris, have grown their landscaping company to close to $4 million in eight years. Think about that, folks. And they are profitable. In my eighth year, I was doing $1 million, not $4 million. They have done this by taking action – actions supported by a strategy, a filter of sorts. These “filters” are what we need to run our ideas through. Grunder Landscaping Co. is focused on high-end residential design/build and maintenance. While it is easy to get excited about the contractor wanting us to bid the new shopping center, we’re not good at that and we’re not going to chase that “squirrel.”

The actions I direct my team to take are the ones that I know have a high probability to work. When we see a new hire not even closely measuring up to what we thought they were, we get them out of our company.

For years, my actions were mostly two types. I either sat and procrastinated, taking no action, or I jumped into things that had nothing to do with the strategy we had laid out for our company. Neither one is good. The best kind of action is a well-focused, intentional move locked in on the desired target.

Identify your ideal client, identify your ideal team member and, by all means, write down on a piece of paper in great detail in no more than three sentences how you know you will be successful one year, two years and three years from now. Armed with that, take action. As Victor Kiam, a very successful businessman, once said, “Procrastination is the language of the poor.” Take some action, you’ll be glad you did.


Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See www.martygrunder.com; mail