Spring season is here. Green grass is growing. Flowers are busting out and our customers are catching their annual infection of Spring Fever. That’s a good thing for our industry.
But there’s another thing you can count on every single Spring. New landscaping and lawn service companies are popping up like daffodils when the soil hits 50-55 degrees. Yep…there is always a new crop of lawn and landscaping start ups.
We have learned the NEW LANDSCAPERS fall into two categories: broke-landscapers and fat-cat-landscapers.
Some of the start-up companies started their company like I started my company: BROKE. No money. Thankfully, I was equipped with a big pile of energy and enthusiasm. I was excited about my future as a businessman. Looking back, I think this was a good thing.
Broke landscapers must use energy and effort instead of money to find customers. Broke landscapers are willing to do the little things that help them stand out in a crowded marketplace. I’m always rooting for the broke landscaper. Broke landscapers find energy in their vision for the future. Even though that future is not guaranteed to be successful.
When you learn how to make your business grow without money, you’ve got a skill-set that serves you for a lifetime. You’ll always have the ability to rely on energy, creativity and enthusiasm to overcome the challenges in your future.
Today, we meet start-up companies who are backed by “investors”. We might call these companies “fat-cat-landscapers”. They don’t wake up everyday knowing their bank account is almost at zero. Nope. These companies have capital. They have investors”…or they received a pile of money from an inheritance, lottery winnings or big insurance proceeds. A growing number of landscape companies are being backed by venture capital and angel investors. Fat-cats!
You might think the companies who are well capitalized have an advantage over broke landscapers. But here’s the truth. Money may make it easier to get started when it comes to acquiring equipment, funding a marketing campaign or making payroll as you acquire customers. But here’s what I have learned. Money makes people lazy. Especially if you have piles of money.
I’ll bet some of you reading these words are having a hard time buying these ideas. Especially if you are broke and having money problems. But consider this.
The famous Shark Tank investor Daymond John wrote a book titled, “The Power of Broke”. In his book, Daymond tells story after story of how small start up companies that are broke replace money with energy, enthusiasm, creativity, tech-know-how and partnerships to acquire customers and generate revenue.
Daymond has been investing in companies in a variety of industries since 2009 on Shark Tank. He reports in the pages of “The Power of Broke” that money never guarantees success. In fact, he thinks that broke entrepreneurs have an advantage in many ways. I agree with his analysis.
For those of you who are somewhere between being a broke-landscaper and a fat-cat-landscaper, answer this question. What happened with your employees when Fedzilla started dropping FREE money into their bank accounts without any requirement for work or repayment? I’ll remind you. They got lazy! Many people left employment all together. Many have never returned!
Let’s consider a case study from a meeting we had with a Broke Landscaper this week. Here’s the situation.
The young lawn business owner has two years of experience. He has less than $2000 in his bank account. He knows that if he doesn’t acquire more customers he can’t survive…forget about the idea of growing. This guy is on life support from just about any financial measurement.
So what will he do? How will he get more customers without spending money on things like a pay-per-click campaign, a website construction project or a community advertising program?
We might title this summary:
How To Grow Your Lawn or Landscape Business Without Money
3 recommendations for broke landscapers:
1) Go to your current accounts (or past customers) and ask them, “WHY DID YOU HIRE ME?” Take copious notes! Write down EXACTLY what they say!
Whatever they say, you will be able to use their words to explain to others why THEY should hire you. You will add to your vocabulary.
Many young companies get hired for one reason – low price.
But you need to look and listen for other qualities current customers have identified – things that can help YOU build credibility.
And… if they say anything good…and I’m sure some of your customers will…write it all down. This becomes marketing and sales material you can use right away to win a few more jobs.
How much will this cost? Zero dollars! That’s perfect for a broke landscaper!
2) Ask your customers for a written recommendation – as in a written letter that YOU can carry with YOU and hand over to prospects while YOU write an estimate. Imagine the power of saying, “Mrs Jones. While I write up your estimate, I’d like to share a collection of letters we have received from existing and past clients. Please read these while I prepare your estimate.”
It doesn’t matter if the letters are a handwritten note or typed up and printed out on letterhead. You need evidence that other people know you, like you and trust you. A stack of 5-10-20 endorsement letters will influence future prospects to buy from you…even when you are NOT the lowest priced lawn and landscaping option.
Since most of your competitors will never do this…you will have an instant advantage.
With the customer’s permission – ask to grab a photo (selfie) with them and then add the photo to the letter or written endorsement. If you are techie enough to do this…. Zero costs! Again, this is perfect for the broke-landscaper.
3) If they do or don’t give YOU a written endorsement – tell every existing customer, every vendor, every friend, every family member and every neighbor this:
I want to grow my business and I’d like to ask for your help. If you have any friends, family members, neighbors or business associates in this area who could use my services, please share my name…and YOU give them a few business cards.
By the way, you can buy 500 business cards from vista print for around $10. (nothing fancy).
But please…put the sentence above on the backside of your business card. Use that little piece of real estate to enhance your marketing. Always ask for referrals!
I’ll say it again.
You have an advantage in business when you are broke…
Because you are forced to do little things that require effort & energy…no money.
You don’t need to be a fat-cat-landscaper to win in business. I promise you!
We will close this lesson with the most dependable growth strategy you will ever discover as a business owner. It’s simple to say. But it’s not so simple to do.
Outlearn your competition.
Regardless of what happens in the economy, no one can take away your education. Invest in your education and you will always be able to beat those fat-cats with big bank accounts.
If you would like to join me and get a healthy dose of business education week after week…here’s the best place to get started:
Our business education is designed for lawn and landscape business owners. We can help you build a business one dependable system at a time. Click on the link above and subscribe.
I hope you will join me!
Tony Bass, founder
Master your landscape business!
PS – As we described above, we think you have an advantage when you start off in business broke. But over time, you must become wealthy. There is way too much risk involved in business to stay broke. There will come a time when money becomes an essential tool for survival. There comes a time when money becomes an essential reward for accepting risk, serving customers and managing employees. Outlearn your competition. Join me on the journey. Click here.