Every landscape business owner hits a point when they have no one to talk to about everyday problems, challenges, and sometimes even successes. The business owner typically turns to either of two people: a trusted employee or his (her) spouse. The problem is that both of these people often have intimate connections to the business themselves and are not able to provide an objective opinion.
Take it from me, I know that asking for help in your early years is a challenge. I hired my first business coach after 12 years in business. It was one of the best investments I ever made. My coach really challenged me with many of my thought processes. More importantly, my coach was often a lifeline so I could simply hear another opinion.
Making the decision to hire a business coach was not an easy one for me. It requires you to have a high level of trust and transparency that can be uncomfortable for many in business. Remember, we landscapers are the ones who often feel like if others cannot do it, no worries—we can do it better.
The reality is that the benefits of hiring a business coach can definitely outweigh the downsides. This is especially true if the company is struggling to grow and develop, or is in the unfortunate circumstance of going backwards. The investment in a business coach could be exactly what is needed to turn the business around. Having an outside opinion on what works, what might need tweaking, and what does not work and needs to be change could be the difference between remaining stagnant and growing your business to the next level.
In addition to being a consultant, I am also a business coach to several landscape companies. Each is of a different size and personality, and each has a different challenges. One thing remains constant: They all like to have a resource for obtaining an outside opinion.
As a good coach would, I would like to offer my insights on why hiring a business coach could be a benefit to your landscape business.
When working day in and day out within a business, an intimate knowledge of that business is inevitable—making it very difficult to maintain a degree of objectivity. Every little aspect of the business becomes important. In many instances, some things become far more important than they should. At the end of the day, though, being in business is all about the bottom line. Only those aspects of the business that contribute to this in a positive way should be focused on. A business coach will bring a level of objectivity that can be difficult for entrenched business owners and managers to facilitate, and help bring the focus back to what is important.
2. Structure and System Development
Another aspect of business that can suffer is the proper setup of structure and systems that help it to run smoothly. It takes time to set systems in place and see them become a routine part of the business. Because of this, many businesses don’t take the time to set them up properly. A business coach can help with the development and implementation of such structures.
3. Strategic Planning and Implementation
It is not possible in today’s world to succeed without a plan that outlines goals, objectives and action steps. That said, a strategic plan does not need to be a complicated, massive document. In fact, many successful businesses restrict their plan to one page or what I like to call KISS (keep it simple stupid).
A business coach can help strip the business back and clearly define goals and objectives on a very strategic level. These goals can be on a monthly or yearly term basis, providing a guiding light that the business is working toward.
Business coaches can work with individuals or groups to help them develop their skills. This mentoring can assist with both personal and business development. The benefit can be significant. It’s simple: As employees develop their skills, results will improve through better performance.
Mentoring can also be undertaken in specialist areas such as marketing, financial management, human resources and operations. It really depends on what your company needs help with.
Once the business has been analyzed, systems set in place, planning implemented and mentoring established, the time for review and improvement is important.
It is essential that changes are made as required to ensure the business continues towards its goals. Alterations to staff, equipment and other resources may be necessary. It is during this period that the business coach offers a degree of objectivity and provides a level of accountability to keep you focused and the business on track for improvement.
In the end, hiring a business coach is often a positive step a business can take, particularly if it is struggling to reach its targets or make progress. The benefits a coach can bring as outlined above will help you potentially improve both performance and profitability, which as we know is a great outcome for any business.
*Article originally published in 2016