It’s winter; time for some time off, right?
Wrong. Truly believe that our season is set up by what we landscapers do in the winter, more so than anything else.
So, this month’s column is a list of things you should be doing this winter to help you and your team get the most out of 2013. For planning purposes, let’s just say winter is from Dec. 15 to March 1 (or 11 weeks).
1. Go through every truck and piece of equipment and do the maintenance needed so you can avoid breakdowns during the season.
2. Buy Dr. John Maxwell’s “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork” on DVD and go through it with your team; take two laws a week until you are done.
3. Meet with your top 50 clients in person and ask them what you should stop doing, keep doing, and start doing.
4. Go see another successful landscaper in another state and benchmark your company against theirs.
5. Read one book on sales; I recommend “Brian Tracy’s Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets.”
6. Read one book on leadership; I recommend Mark Sanborn’s “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere, Can Make a Positive Difference.”
7. Read one book on branding; I recommend “Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison” by Joe Calloway.
8. Read a book on business planning; I recommend Patrick Lencioni’s “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business.”
9. Sign up for three webinars or training sessions that you personally are going to participate in.
10. Go to Marty Grunder’s GROW! 2013 in Nashville in February (sorry, shameless plug).
11. Take two hours a week to sit in a quiet place and think about what you want out of life and define the gap between the dream and reality.
12. Write out two procedures per week for things that you do that everyone seems to know but have never been written out.
13. Put together job descriptions for all your people.
14. Review the performance of your work in the last season and see what you can do to be more efficient.
15. If you don’t use work orders for any and all work performed by your company, then change that and get work orders.
16. If you don’t have a schedule board or some organized manner of planning any and all work, get one.
17. If you don’t have ten job site signs that can be put up in your best projects, get them made.
18. Put a marketing plan in place, don’t have one? Visit our website. (www.martygrunder.com) and download the example we have for you there.
19. Take every person on your leadership team to lunch once a month and talk, just talk. Don’t worry about an agenda; it will find itself.
20. Start an exercise program and eliminate fatty foods and sweets from your diet and see if you can establish some good habits before spring starts.
21. Take a look at your hiring process and make it better; see 22-28 for specifics.
22. Define your ideal team member; have your team help you; be detailed.
23. Design your employment applications to allow you to find more ideal team members by asking the right questions.
24. Look into drug testing and background checks if you don’t do them now.
25. Keep in touch with all seasonal workers who have been laid off so the good ones come back!
26. Write out what you can do better to attain more ideal team members in 2013.
27. Write out what you can do better to retain more ideal team members in 2013.
28. Write out what you can do better to train more ideal team members in 2013.
29. Define your ideal client.
30. Come up with a plan that allows you to communicate/reach out to more of these ideal clients.
31. Go see mom, dad and anyone else that maybe you don’t have time to see during the growing season.
Look, the winter should be a time to rest and catch up on some things. I could go on and on with these ideas. Bottom line: use your winter wisely.
Now is the time to get a plan together, both from a tactical and strategical perspective, to make 2013 the best year ever.
Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See www.martygrunder.com; mail