Big Things Can Come in Small Packages

In late July, I'd spent a day out in the field with a North Carolina company called Manicured Lawn & Landscaping. When I'd first contacted the owner, Mike Stegall, he brushed off his initial shock and asked me why in the world I would want to do a story on a little company like his.

I told Mike that my previous visit was with a huge company down in Florida, and I wanted a quick reminder of how "the other half" lived. By other half I mean one- or two-crew companies, which represent at least half of the landscape companies out there today.

Actually, I didn't pick Manicured Lawn & Landscaping just because they are a smaller company. I picked them because of what one of their customers wrote to me a couple of years ago. The customer thought I should do a story on Manicured because, and I'm paraphrasing here, they are great guys who do a great job, and are professional, courteous and reliable. Interesting … that pretty much sums up the mission statement for every huge company out there.

Manicured Lawn & Landscaping's mission statement reads as follows: "Provide our customers with a superior product, offer it at a competitive price, and accomplish it in a professional manner." A statement on Brickman's website, from its founder, reads as follows: "We are in the business to serve and satisfy our customers by listening to them and responding with services that meet and exceed their expectations."

When you get down to it, each of these missions are the same, aren't they? Whether you have one crew, 10 or 100, this business is about providing a service the consumer needs—in a way that positions you as "the best" in the mind of the consumer. That's really what any business is about.

While Manicured Lawn & Landscaping doesn't have the resources to serve large commercial clients, that's OK—because that's not the business they even want to be in. They are a residential/small commercial company, as are most of the landscape companies operating today. But that doesn't mean they can't be a professional, valuable player in the Green Industry.

Mike Stegall has a systematic approach to making his "small" company look "big" to his customers. It begins and ends with reputation. In between are things like professionalism, uniforms, well-kept equipment, his Super Lawn Truck, attention to detail and responsiveness. He's loyal to local vendors. He's a job creator. Basically, his company is a value to the community.

I wanted to do a story on a "small" company like Manicured Lawn & Landscaping to remind our thousands and thousands of readers that being small doesn't disqualify you from doing great things. If you're doing great things and would like to share what they are, please email or call me.