Tips from the Top: Mark Forsythe, Mainscape

President Mark Forsythe shares how Mainscape has found success with just the right combination of the basics.

December 5, 2012

Have a little faith. That’s what Mainscape has practiced from the very beginning. Faith in their people, faith in the quality of their work and the faith to step outside of their comfort zone is what has guided the company into the ranks of the Top 100.

When owner Dave Mazanowski was going to school at Ball State University, he was doing some summer mission work in the community and he and his group basically needed something to support themselves while they did that. So, they started a grass-cutting and general yard work company and they did that every summer and into the fall until they graduated. When they graduated, Dave knew that he could either move on and get a different job, or he could keep doing the landscaping thing, so he chose to keep doing the landscape thing.

I started with the company in 2002 running operations in Indiana. The first big milestone was expanding outside of the state in 2004. We started doing some work out in California. We were trying to learn then if we could do work that wasn’t necessarily right in our backyard. Since then, our average growth rate has been right around 20 percent a year.

About a year and a half ago, we went through a buyout from Dave’s brother, who was 50 percent owner for about 20 years. So now Dave is back to being the sole owner of the company.

We try to bring on the best people that we can find – really good people – who have that mindset and mentality of continuous improvement and who are entrepreneurially oriented, people who want to grow and develop. That’s what we focus on doing.

From a cultural standpoint, when we make a mistake, we’re very open to talking about it. Every mistake we make, we are diligent about looking at what it is we did wrong and how we can fix it.

We can look back and say we’re better now than we were a year ago, and I feel like we’ve always been able to say that. I think that’s pretty important.

Growing requires a couple of different things, but one of them is a passion to go do it. If you don’t have a deep-down desire to do it, you won’t be able to do it. It’s got to be something you really want to do.

One of the most dangerous things about growing fast is losing control of what you’ve got. It always seems like it’s easier when you’re talking numbers – 15 percent doesn’t seem that big. But when you actually go do it, you have to add all those people and capital and coordinate and manage customer relationships and employee relationships.

I never feel like we are doing anything special or rocket science. It’s all very basic principles that we follow. I read a lot of different journals and websites and encourage our team to go and learn as much as they can about better ways to do things, and take those things and apply them.

I wouldn’t say there’s a specific best management practice put in place. We’re probably dabbling in all of them in some way shape or form.