We are positioning ourselves for a lot of growth actually. There will be bumps, but we'll learn and keep moving. If you look back in this thread, you'll see that my International was totaled a few years ago. While it was a sore spot, nothing bugged me more than the question that a local successful landscape company owner asked me after towing the wreckage to his yard.........."what are you going to do". His question was directed towards was I going to be a quitter or was I going to pick up the pieces and press on. It irritated me deeply to think this would stop me, but that's just one piece of motivation over the years and that one always stands out in my mind. Point being, we're going to continue to grow.
For the fun of it, here's a thought.........I'd like to see 10 mowing crews, 4 spray techs, 2 landscape crews and 2 hardscape crews etc, but that is not going to happen over night. It will take lots of work and great people to help us get there. We have property to buy, a lot of our own issues to fix and a lot of building to do but we'll get there.
-Currently, I design/sell patios and landscapes, while overseeing everything else.
-I have an operations manager with 25+yrs in the landscape/tree industry who stays in touch with the crews, runs the International, stages material, stages equipment, gets things fixed, maintains our yard and does a hell of a job. I speak with him for only a few minutes each morning to review what we're doing and let him run his own day. After this year, he'll really be ready to roll into a true "operations manager" because he will have had a year to work with us and see everything. The idea is he will have a driver under him next year to do all of the running around for him while he orchestrates more.
-Maintenance grew fast and too fast to be honest. We were prepared for the marketing we did but the referrals that we received this spring was very overwhelming and we were not prepared. Add to that our software turned out to be a big flop. This brought on the addition of a second maintenance manager and they have their general north/south areas that they cover. They chase leads, sell, schedule, enter and invoice all of the maintenance services with minimal input from me. Sort of freaked me out at first to give up control but I knew I was in the way, plus they told me. My senior maintenance manager has 19 years in the industry, isn't cheap and has done a great job growing that part of the company. The next thing to sort out with them is how we will handle managers and sales people, because at some point they will have more customers than they can manage + do sales. I think that obstacle will be met at the end of 2014. Rain days are an excellent time to grab breakfast at Bob Evans and sit there discussing the company for a couple hours.
-A landscape designer or architect is also on the horizon. I love what I do, but that's something else I will have to let go of in time and that may also be 2014. Whether that person designs and sells or just designs, I don't know. I too will reach my limit of what I can manage with just design/sells and have to focus more on the business itself.
-GROW is a great event, especially for your first visit and Marty is first class. I didn't get a lot out of the second one I went to and did not go in 2013 but might 2014. It could have been my mindset at the time, it could have been they just weren't hitting on things I was looking to hear about, maybe I didn't know what I needed to hear. I know each year, and this year in particular, I start thinking less and less like a landscaper and more like a business owner.
-Speaking of talking about the company with my guys, we will be having a "Field Day" here in a couple of weeks. Amongst the four of us mighty managers, I assigned different areas for each person to present and talk to the guys about. We are going over EVERYTHING. How to wash the truck, how to make mix gas, how to operate a mower, how to clean up around the shop, how to back a truck, how to talk to customers, how to back up a truck, how to properly fill out a time sheet, how to prune, how to edge, how to mulch, how to plant, safety items etc etc etc. I want the crews to hear from someone besides just me. Mondays aren't always really full days for the maintenance guys. The idea is we will schedule for everybody in the company to be back at the shop at 12noon sharp. We will have bunch of pizza from one of our customers pizza restaurant (got to support your locals) and then get into everything. I'm also taking pictures to print and put up of people doing their jobs. At the end, we're having a competition with a tennis ball and backpack blower. The winner gets a TV while 2nd and 3rd will get a $100 and $50 cash prize. A lot will be learned, a lot will be refreshing what they know, a lot of team building will take place and I'm really looking forward to it.
-Take time away from work. Mother's Day weekend was my 7 year anniversary of being in business for myself full time. I didn't start when I was 16, I lost my job at 22. That was the kick in the butt it took to go out on my own and I worked my butt off. The last 7 years is blur and I can barely remember much of it to be honest. I'm slowing down to smell the roses so-to-speak but I've done that by handing over responsibility and hiring. My parents aren't getting younger, nor am I and there is more to life than work. I would hate to have another 7 years fly by and have just a bunch of pretty but worthless trucks to show for it. Find a balance.