Creating A Better World

Jim Paluch talks about how helping consumers enjoy their outdoor living spaces presents landscape contractors with both business and social opportunity.

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Think about this popular quote for a second: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi). There are times when I’ve read this quote that I’ve blasted right past it on my way to getting some seemingly urgent thing done. There are also times when this quote has hit me right between the eyes. This is one of those times—and I hope it will have the same impact on you as you consider the year ahead.

I venture to guess that there is not one person in the Green Industry who would not want something in the upcoming year to be different than this past year. It might be your profits, sales, employees, customer demands, or maybe it is something related directly and personally to you. Whatever it is, we must be that change.

Imagine if by the end of this article you have made a decision to change something about yourself that could have a big impact on the people and world around you. The change could be as big as totally changing your business, or perhaps even being in business. It may be as small as deciding to commit to training and regular meetings with your staff, or getting out of bed a half hour earlier every morning to exercise or plan your day. Whatever the choice is, it will not happen unless you are willing to take action and make a difference. That is exactly what Gandhi’s quote is telling us.

There is no other industry like the one you and I are part of that can have more of an impact on creating a better world. The ability to help people come alive outside by enjoying outdoor living spaces becomes a responsibility that we must accept, and in doing so we not only enhance the quality of life, but open up new business opportunities for our companies. Never has there been a time more appropriate than right now for all of us in the Green Industry to capture emerging business opportunities that can have an impact on creating a better world.

Niche Markets Increase Sales and Public Awareness

In working with companies over the last couple of years through the A Better Way Community, I have had the opportunity to see many individuals and companies find a niche that has helped them increase sales as well as add something to the community.

For example, a contractor in Bozeman, MT, partnered with a school district to create a natural playground for students. This project brought the entire community together to build the playground. Now this contractor has been asked by several other schools to help do the same thing.

Another great example is a contractor who helped a developer use permeable pavers instead of concrete in the design of a large office park, helping the developer save nearly half a million dollars in construction cost, while installing a product that was much better for stormwater management and the environment. Who do you think that developer will turn to for his next project?

One more example is a landscape supply company in Minnesota that became involved in project Blue Thumb, helping a community clean up the water quality of its lakes through planting, proper drainage and pavers. Now this company considered an expert on this in “The Land of 10,000 Lakes”.

OK, you are coming to the end of this article. Have you thought about the kind of change you as an individual can champion in order to create a better world? What can you inspire your family, company, customers, community or the entire Green Industry to become involved in, and through your commitment, make a difference?

I will leave you with one last quote: “You do not need to be sick to get better.” Your commitment to change and improvement is a reflection of your strength as both an individual and as a leader. You can help create a better world.

For over 20 years Jim Paluch and the JP Horizons Team have been helping organizations Work Smarter and create A Better Way. Learn how they do it at, or email [email protected].