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More than pretty lawns

Features - Lawn Care, Industry News

Greenscape connects with a green industry movement to define its mission, attract employees who believe it and clients who can benefit from it.

Brooke N. Bates | March 20, 2014

For 35 years, Greenscape has focused on delivering “outstanding results through great service,” as its mission states. But only recently did the landscape design, build, management firm in Holly Springs, N.C., begin to articulate why it’s committed to giving clients green spaces.

With a slow-and-steady approach to sustainable growth, President Daniel Currin leads the company his father, Michael, founded in 1979, in addition to three Weed Man franchises that deliver lawn care services. Collectively, the companies have added 30 employees in the past couple years, now totaling more than 160 at peak. Greenscape has always been committed to recruiting and reinvesting in the right employees to manifest the company mission.

But recently, Greenscape learned three little words to define its mission, helping attract teammates – and customers – who share it.

“The thing that we’ve recently connected with, both internally and with our clients, has been the whole Come Alive Outside movement,” Currin says. “We’re connecting with that as why we come to work every day. It’s a way to communicate our ‘why’ and identify other people’s ‘why,’ which is our goal at the end of the day: to do business with people that believe what we believe.”
 

Business benefits.

Established in 2010, the Come Alive Outside movement rose in response to the country’s decrease in health and increase in obesity due to sedentary, indoor lifestyles. Citing the health and social benefits of spending time in nature, communities and corporations are taking strides to activate people outside.

The concept clicked for Currin and his team by articulating the concepts they were already discussing with customers. In fact, it was Greenscapes’ commercial clients who first envisioned Come Alive Outside projects – just not in those words.

Unified brands under one vision

The thought of running three Weed Man lawn care franchises in addition to a 35-year-old design/build and landscape management company might overwhelm some people.

But for Greenscape President Daniel Currin, it’s simple. To successfully manage two separate brands that sell different – but complementary – services, he keeps them clearly defined externally, but unified internally.

“We take advantage of economies of scale when it comes to behind-the-scenes, back-of-the-house (functions like) finance and HR,” Currin says. “But on the front lines, people are usually working for one brand.” That means each business has its own crews in its own trucks providing its own services. However, there’s often crossover – as the Weed Man lawn care program is included under the basic Greenscape maintenance package – so it’s crucial to maintain unity between teams.

Internally, Currin wants everyone to feel like part of one big, happy family that shares a common goal. So collectively, everyone bonds together as “The Green Team.”

“We don’t use it too much externally because we don’t want to create more confusion for the customer,” Currin says. “So you might represent one brand or the other to the customer, but internally, we’re all part of the Green Team with our Green Team mission, vision, principles and values.”

By aligning the lawn care and landscaping teams with a common focus, Currin builds a cohesive team that works together under a unified mission to maximize results and achieve growth.

“We might have different business strategies and sales goals, but ultimately, our principles and values, our mission and vision are the same,” Currin says. “That’s how we’re able to run both companies at one time.”

“You see corporations seeing that there is true value in keeping their employees’ health and wellness up, so they’ve been investing in nature trails and engaging outdoor spaces for employees to use,” Currin says.

“You see homeowners associations and apartment complexes updating their outdoor spaces to pull residents outside and reconnect socially with people in the neighborhood. What’s interesting is they’re very much for-profit and they say, ‘This is worth spending big money on to separate ourselves when we’re competing for tenants, because tenants find real value in outdoor living space.’”

Though Come Alive Outside focuses on the health and social benefits of outdoor activity, Greenscape’s customers have also recognized business benefits. As companies realize the value of functional outdoor spaces, they’re investing more – often, using budgets not typically spent on landscaping.

“It’s generating new revenue because some of these projects are being funded outside of traditional landscape maintenance budgets,” Currin says. “They’re being funded out of employee benefit budgets or HR budgets or even wellness budgets. In the past, companies weren’t spending this money with our industry, because we weren’t providing the solutions they were looking for. So, we reshaped the conversation.”

By switching perspectives, Currin made business about much more than pretty lawns. The enhanced value proposition helped him tap into new opportunities.

“In the past, when you go in and talk to people about landscaping or mowing their grass, it’s a short conversation,” he says. “But when we talk about Come Alive Outside and the impact on the community, it’s led to some fascinating conversations, minimally, and some great opportunities. We’ve been able to connect with people at a different level because it’s a higher value proposition when you’re talking about health and wellness and social connection and the environment.”
 

Something to believe in.

While Come Alive Outside has amplified Greenscape’s sales pitch, it’s not just a pitch. The company has an authentic connection with the concept – which is why it works.

The movement quickly became a passion of employees, guiding community outreach and non-profit volunteer work for charities like the Boys & Girls Club. The shared philosophy unifies them under the mission. “It’s not just, ‘I’m coming here to mow grass,’” Currin says, “‘but I come here to have an impact on the people I serve.’”

As Come Alive Outside aligns the organization, it leads Greenscape toward clients and projects that fit the vision. Currin says: “We’ve been going after clients who look at landscaping as an investment, who want to get a return by attracting more people to their shops, or getting employees to engage more, or creating more value for neighborhoods. It’s helped us better define what our ideal customer looks like.”

Greenscape’s ideal clients aren’t just commercial and high-end residential buyers of landscaping services. Through Weed Man franchises, the company also serves basic lawn care needs at lower price points – and much higher volume. Currin says these services will be crucial to the vision. “If you look at turfgrass as being one of the most common green spaces we have,” he says, “then it’s a huge part of creating engaging green spaces for people to use and enjoy.”

As Greenscape dives into a Come Alive Outside mentality, the company’s programs and products shift into alignment. Just look at the basic Weed Man lawn care package. In the past, the minimal program only covered the front yard, because a nice lawn required neighbors’ envy.

“But most people don’t use their front yards to ‘Come Alive Outside,’” Currin says. “They use their backyards. So our flip in philosophy is: If you buy our program, minimally, we’ve got to do your backyard. Don’t worry about the front yard, because it’s not about what the neighbors think anymore. So as we get the ‘why’ lined up, the ‘how’ and ‘what’ we do is going to fall in line.”
 

 

Now, with the why in place, Greenscape is positioned to grow beyond projected 2014 revenue of more than $13 million – and keep delivering results that transcend beyond pretty lawns.

“Obviously we’re in the green industry, but our value creation has more to do with our ability to create engaging green spaces for people to ‘Come Alive Outside’ in,” Currin says.

“If we can enhance outdoor environments and create engaging spaces to pull people outside, then we can start to improve overall health and wellness.”

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