Planning for long term success?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by hue-nut, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. hue-nut

    hue-nut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Would you say that you are thinking and planning accordingly for the long term success of your business or are you satisfied with the short term gain of the money you made this year? There is part of me that is very comfortable just doing what I did this year and hoping for the best next year. I guess it is kinda like going into the season blind, just hoping that what worked last year will work again this coming year. However I am really working hard to take advantage of these slow days of winter to plan strategically for the long term success of my business. Taking into consideration what I did last year that worked as well as thinking about innovative ways to better serve my market next year. I am a firm believer that those of us who will be most successful at what we do will be able to adapt to meet the needs of the market in our area. Its survival of the fittest, and those with the ability to plan strategically and successfully implement their plans will survive. I don't want to be lulled into a false sense of security based on my success this past year, I want to see my business grow in sustainable ways.
  2. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,034

    I want to grow, and keep growing. Why, because I am looking to build a business system that is not "All about me" but will pay even if I do not work 12 long hours a day.

  3. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Good thoughts, hue-nut. That is really why you need to look at your business as a year round thing. It's a great idea to use the slow times to plan ahead and make improvements to your business. I usually start my business plan in October, before fall clean-ups start. Nothing formal, I just start writing down ideas- plans for next year, equipment upgrades, advertising, clients to drop, etc. Then after New Years, I really sit down and write it all out. Then comes the hard part-implementing it.
    I had a great year this year, I blew away the numbers I had planned on. I'm thankful, but I can't sit back and relax, it could always be better. I'm looking forward to next year.
  4. prostriper

    prostriper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 336

    AL Inc's signature pretty much sums it up. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. A business should always be in planning mode. This industry as well as most others are full of problems that could erupt that you need to have a strategic plan for. Such as liability suits, loss of a large amount of clientèle loss or catastrophic damage of equipment, etc. Just because your equipment was flawless this year doesn't mean that it won't go down hill next.

    As a small company you should always plan for small growth as not to overdo yourself. A 5-10% increase each year will keep you in a comfort zone that you can plan more accordingly for.

    Many businesses think that they can just sit back and things will continue on as they are. Most of them are no longer in business. Those that succeed, that are more than a couple of years in, are planning 2-5 years ahead. When writing up and formulating a plan you always want to make sure it is adaptable and always be modifying it for your current situation.

    A phrase that is echoed by many business scholars and is a signature of someone here is " Those who fail to plan, plan to fail".
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Yes, I certainly intend on continuing exactly what I am doing right now, which is:
    - Raising prices (in my case, I just want them at a steady $60 pmh vs. the current UP to $60 pmh).
    - Advertising heavily.
    - Buying loots of parts and supplies when on sale.
    - Buying better, faster, newer equipment.
    - Reducing cost.
    - Concentrating on turning out better quality (in even less time).
    - Further automating the processing of repetitive transactions.
    - Enable myself to do more and more w/out dealer support.
    - Continue to fine tune and adjust current methods to maximize profit.
    etc, etc...
  6. LLandscaping

    LLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,016

    We are planning for long term success. In 2005 we switched most of our accounts to yearly lawn agreement and we have been able to make more money dealing with less customers. We are still far from our goal but it is best to grow slowly. In our business it is all about seperating yourself from the competition. We want to grow but also are looking for a certain type of customers. We want full service accounts that want year around service.
  7. hue-nut

    hue-nut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    These are some great thoughts guys. I would say that I've been looking at the green market around here, finding areas that my business can fill the gaps. I do not want to simply be doing what everyone else is doing and promising to do it better. I don't want to compete that way, becuase when it comes down to it, how much better do I cut the grass than you? I want to find innovative ways to give my customers a service that they cannot be without. I guess I am talking about offering more than a mow, blow, trim, shrub work, ect. I would like to offer a service that resembles that of the AZ Gardener. This is a very high end niche, there is not room in every area for this service, but where I am at this is a much needed service. I've been dabbling in this type of service for the past two years and am learning alot.
  8. prostriper

    prostriper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 336

    On the path to starting higher end full service work you have to start slow and work your way up as you build your portfolio. It is not something you just want to jump into. Now I say this not knowing your background. But it takes time. You really have to know your stuff. And realize that when you get into the higher end work your profit margin will go down even though you may be making more profit. And this comes with considerable headaches.

    If that is your goal, by all means, run like he!! and work your fingers to the bone and you will get there. You just never want to be in a hurry to do it. AZ has a story of how he got where he got on here. Take a peek at it and you will see what I mean. It is one he!! of a fight.

    But good luck in your endeavor and I wish you the best of luck in it.
  9. hue-nut

    hue-nut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Well put pro striper. I've been reading AZ's story in bits and pieces and it is a great one. I definately agree that this is the type of service that takes years to really develop. It's is somthing that I want to tackle though, thanks for your input.

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