It is critical that you build relationships with a CPA firm and legal and insurance professionals. Now that your little business is growing into a bigger business, it will be a target. Your company will be susceptible to lawsuits from disgruntled employees and visits from a myriad of governmental agencies in search of needed revenue. It’s best to be bulletproof and ready when it happens.
Equipment. As your business grows, it can be tempting to add equipment when it feels necessary, and even more tempting to finance it. I would strongly encourage business owners to use financing sparingly, as you can easily find yourself in business only to service your debt and nothing more. What’s worse is that the equipment value is destroyed much quicker than it is paid off by monthly payments. It's business owners overextending themselves on debt that usually leads to a contribution to failure. Defer acquisition of new equipment until you can pay cash, and you’ll increase your chances of successful and safe growth.
Business development. Now that you are freed from being “in it,” you can apply focus to new sales and customer acquisition. As the business owner, being the primary advocate for your business is crucial.
At this stage it is tempting to undersell work—and your competitors—in order to get more customers. I would strongly recommend that you do not attempt to undersell larger competitors. Their fixed costs are spread across a larger volume of revenue, and they probably have better systems in place to execute services and control costs. Rather than go head-to-head with them on pricing, focus on what they do not do well. Personalized service, the little details, and higher service quality are some places to look for competitive advantages over your larger competitors.
While in business for 15 years, I continually observed small landscape companies trying to break through and become big operations—and nine out of 10 never did, mainly because they made critical mistakes with one or more of the issues I have outlined. I share these thoughts to help fellow Green Industry business owners succeed with scaling their operations. With hard work and planning, your little business could become the respected landscape organization in your city. As you scale your organization, you’ll be able to add team members to focus on the “in it” tasks while you focus on staying “on it.”