The First Step to Growing Your Company

Develop a plan for managers and staffing

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Having an eye toward sustained and successful growth requires you to also have an eye toward an efficient and effective organizational structure. Without the right people on your team doing the right things, your dream of building a bigger and more profitable company rarely amounts to anything more than just that, a dream.

Your company’s organizational structure allows you, as a business owner, the ability to magnify yourself by leveraging employees. Thus, developing this structure properly will offer your organization opportunities for growth while maintaining your quality and profitability as you manage more work.

Keep this in mind: The current business environment lends itself well to an inspired entrepreneur who is committed to improving his staff. The best-run landscape companies are starting to grow again. You can join this elite group when you put your focus in the right place.

Step 1: Identify how you plan to grow

Strategically evaluate your organization to determine exactly what your present emphasis is and what service lines you intend to offer and/or expand. Does this offer the sales opportunity you are striving for?

For example:

What services do you currently offer your clients?

  • Landscape management
  • Enhancement services
  • Irrigation services
  • Tree care

What services could you expand into?

  • Landscape construction
  • Water management
  • Parking lot sweeping

Or, can you continue with fewer service types and expand into different types of projects?

  • Residential or commercial services
  • Estate work or resort properties
  • Government work or municipal projects

To answer these questions, you have to know your market and recognize where your passion is—and how that passion can help you grow your business.

Step 2: Identify who you’ll need to grow

Once you’ve outlined the manner in which you can grow your business, evaluate your current staffing and determine what positions are necessary to adequately service these projects. This will be your organizational chart.

Each primary segment should have a manager with appropriate support staffing. You may find that from a practical standpoint, individuals will wear multiple hats until you have enough volume to adequately support a full-time commitment.

Here’s an example:

  • Landscape Maintenance Director – additional project managers may be included under this position
  • Landscape Construction Director – additional project managers may be included under this position
  • Office Manager (you must have office support when you want to grow) – human resources and accounting positions may be included under this position
  • Sales Manager – estimators may be included under this position

There are additional staffing needs you’ll also develop as your company grows, such as mechanics and IT support. These positions are typically covered by outsourcing; only the really big, multi million-dollar firms have these types of support staff on the payroll, in most cases.

Step 3: Putting the team together

Write a detailed job description for each position you identify—all the way down to your field staff. Going through this exercise will help you better understand your hiring needs—and how to advertise and interview for these positions. Job descriptions should include responsibilities, reporting relationships, specific tasks, salary range and commitment.

Remember, it is an excellent market for hiring right now. Use this to your advantage by starting with a good plan and a thorough job description. With this in place, identify the best employment sources in your area to get the word out on the positions you have available. Set specific times during the day during a given week to schedule one-hour interviews. Choose a time when you can offer uninterrupted attention to candidates. Use your job descriptions as talking points during those interviews.

Take your time through this process and choose employees who can buy into your plan and vision for your business. Remember, you are hiring them to help you grow. And when you grow, they have an opportunity to grow as well. This is a win/win arrangement your prospective employees need to be made aware of.

Get employees excited about your business and what it offers. Most importantly, get them focused on providing excellent services. Good businesses stay focused and keep their eye on the ball.

Finally, you must ask yourself: Where do I fit in as an owner? Ideally you want to sit as a manager on top of these new positions you’ve created and oversee activities. If this is not your forte, you must hire someone to do it. Think about what you are best at and enjoy the most.