Are You Thinking Big Enough?

Jonathan shares a story about a young man that he met that made him question, are we all thinking big enough?

It’s been a while since I’ve recorded a video. One, I’ve been thinking I need to get this done. Two, what would be something that would be of value to talk about or which question of the tons of questions I have outstanding that I haven’t yet answered should I answer? The thing that keeps coming to mind is a story, an experience I had a couple of weeks ago that I’d like to share with you. The story is also your challenge and my challenge.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Louisville, Kentucky which is the GIE conference for the industry. It’s non-stop everyday from 7:30am till the end of the show. Dinners at night, probably some drinks in the evening and then you start the whole thing over again the next day. Along the way I have tons of fantastic conversations. I get to see a lot of people I know and have great conversations with them. I get to see people that I’ve never met and have conversation with them. One of the stand out memories from the show is that a fellow came up to me on Friday near the end of the day, and I can’t remember his name for the life of me, but I know that he was 17 and he’s from Ohio.

He had his little brother with him. He had a couple of questions for me but the biggest question, the one he started with was, “How do I go about hiring somebody to work inside my business?” I think it was full-time. He wasn’t looking for a high school kid to help him, he was looking for a person that could work for him all day while he’s at school. I think that’s pretty ambitious and pretty awesome. When I was in high school, I started mowing lawns. Not the business I have now, and I had a couple people working for me but they were high school students.

It’s far more intimidating when you’re 17 years old to go hire somebody that’s still possibly a young person but probably in their 20’s, maybe even somebody older, to work for you. That’s just super intimidating. I was super impressed that he’s thinking this way. He’s already thinking about what’s going to happen when he goes off to college. To you, I apologize I forgot your name, congratulations. That type of attitude, that type of working really hard, getting out of your comfort zone and doing something like that is going to make you really successful. Just keep doing that and do more of it and push harder and go faster.

At 17, if you can build this business now, you’ll be in a ridiculously great spot. I want to tell that story because I think that he has a lot of courage and a lot of guts to do such a thing. I wouldn’t have been doing that at 17. My challenge to you watching this, and the challenge to me is, what are we not doing or thinking big enough about because we’re scared or apprehensive?

Maybe we don’t want to put somebody else out. That’s generally my biggest flaw. I don’t want to put other people out or bother them and so I don’t ask for the thing that I might need or need help with.

What is it that you’re not doing that you could be doing that takes a little bit of courage like the fellow in Ohio that’s 17 that’s going to hire somebody out of school to work for him full-time while he’s going to school? That’s awesome. Is there an area in your life where you could push and challenge yourself like he’s doing with himself? Go do it.

How To Get The Toys Without Selling Your Landscape Company

Learn how selling your landscape company may not be the best way to create wealth and provide you the freedom you are dreaming of.

There is so much talk about people wanting to sell their company, or the dream they have to sell their company some day. It’s sort of the American dream to build your company, sell it, have all this money, retire, whatever. My argument is, and you’ve heard it before, why is that necessary?

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Hire The Right People To Transform Your Business

Now is the time to take a look at your business and figure out how to hire the right people to elevate your company to the next level.

If you’re running a little bit bigger organization, I think the question you want to be thinking about right now is, “Who could we hire next year, or by the end of this year that would be business changing in the next calendar year? This person’s going to cost some money, but if we could find this person and they could bring an entirely new set of knowledge, experience, understanding to our business, take a ton of stuff off my shoulders, take a ton of stuff off some of my really talented team members so that they could move onto other things and this person could show us new ways to do things that we’re doing now, possibly incorrectly or not as efficiently or optimally as possible. What might that do for our business?”

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Grow Your Business Faster By Prioritizing Projects On ROI

If you want to grow your business and get yourself out of the field, watch this video to learn how to prioritize projects to increase the efficiency of your company.

Hey, this month in ServiceAutopilot Academy, we have focused heavily on time management. When I say time management, I am talking about the management of your time, but I’m also talking about the management of the time of your organization and of your team that operates within your organization.

As an example, if you want to grow your company quickly, it’s really important that you’re working on the most important projects that move the company forward the quickest. I think one of the simplest ways to do that is to figure out all that you need to get done from a project standpoint. Marketing projects, operational projects, identifying your standard operating procedures, fixing operational problems, improving inefficiencies in the company. All of those activities that I just identified form a project and each of those projects has a value that it will return to your company in the form of additional savings or new revenue.

I believe what you want to do is you want to take all of your projects that you need to get done as an organization, you want to prioritize them and you want to work on the ones that will make you or save you the most money first. Then once you get those done or that example project that you identified that’ll make you the most money, then you move on to the next one. The idea is that if you work on the ones of greatest value first, they’ll return to you more money and with that money you can then go hire other people to join your organization that can then help you work on the projects.

Whereas if you start with a low value project, one that doesn’t return a whole lot of savings or money to your company but it’s easy, it doesn’t cause you a lot of trouble and pain and work, it’s going to return a small amount of money to you and as a result you don’t really have much new money to go hire somebody to help you.

If you want to go from a little company to a bigger company, or if you want to go from a medium sized company to a really big one, it’s really important that you’re working on the right projects in the right order and at the right time so that as you make and save more money, you can reinvest that money into your company to hire more people to help you do those projects and get the stress and the frustration and all the heavy lifting off of your shoulders. The whole entire point of business is to build something that in a sense is an investment. It’s an asset for you that generates money for you but doesn’t require you to do all of the work.

The way you get there is you work on exactly the right projects that move the company forward so that you can bring more and more people onto the team to help you move the company forward faster and faster and then before you know it, most of the heavy lifting, most of the problems, most of the stress, most of the frustration is not just on you, it’s shared across a team, and it’s a team made up of a bunch of really smart people that know how to solve different things and know how to move the company forward.

One day you wake up and you realize that wow, you’ve got tons of projects going on within your organization but they’re all being handled by different people without you even realizing that they’re being handled. you weren’t even involved and problems are getting solved. The only way you get to that point is to start in the very beginning by prioritizing exactly what needs to be done, again, in terms of how much will it return to your company in the form of money, savings or new revenue, and then working those projects one at a time in order. It just gets faster and faster over the years. In other words, you get more and more projects done faster as your organization grows and progresses.

Focus on that concept and it’ll have a huge impact on getting you one, out of the field or out of the position you’re in right now, and two into a position of acting like a real CEO of your company.

The Reality Of Building A Great Company

In this video, Jonathan shares his personal journey and the true reality of building a great company.

From chatting with some Service Autopilot members, chatting with some individuals that are part of the Service Autopilot Academy and then looking at some of the comments on YouTube, I realized that when I do a video and I describe what I went through or how I got here, it resonates a little bit more versus when I do a video that simply says, “Hey, here’s an idea that I’ve learned that you might want to try to see if it solves a problem in your business.” I don’t know how this will come across, but I thought I’d just, off the cuff, record a video and describe what my business was like in the beginning and take away some of the illusion that it was not so hard or that I just knew what to do.

You didn’t know me ten years ago when the business got started, and you didn’t see what we went through. Those that have seen the business, see where it’s at now and they’re like “I’d like to have that.” But, it was a long road to get here. I’ll give you an example. When I was in high school, 8th grade I guess, so prior to high school, my mom drove me around to mow lawns. I mowed lawns all the way through high school and into my freshman year of college when I got out of the business. I had a couple of people that worked for me in high school, but I was basically a kid mowing lawns and trimming bushes and pulling weeds. That was really the only thing I did, but I did it really well for a high school kid. I got out of the business when I was in college and I went into some other things.

I wanted to be in software, and I also wanted to start a vending business. My allergies were driving me crazy, so I got out of the business. That was the end of my lawn care career, but it influenced me enough to know that I wanted to be in business for myself. I didn’t have a role model that was in business for themselves, so that had affected me. I knew this was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to get there. Ultimately what happened is I ended up getting my degree. While I was getting my degree, I ended up working at a software company. Early on when I was 21-22 years old, I worked at a software company. I liked the company, but I really wanted to be back in business for myself.

Now I’m married. I got married when I was 22, and it was a little bit more difficult to go out and start that business. I bought a house, and I remember the struggle of trying to figure how I was going to get back out on my own and how I was going to afford to build the business and give up my job and all these other things. It was a real struggle to get there. I went through a bunch of stuff. I finally got back out on my own doing computer consulting with my business partner who is now my business partner in Service Autopilot, and then along the way ended up in a couple different service industries.

Fast forward to 2005, the end of 2004, on a complete fluke I ended up back in the lawn care business. Never did I think that was going to happen. I have to tell you the back story to explain that. In 2004-2005, the business really started going in spring of 2005. I didn’t know anything. Remember, I was this high school kid years earlier that just mowed lawns and had a couple guys working for me, so when I got in the business, I thought I needed to do everything. I started collecting flyers from others and I copied some of their flyers and I tried some postcards. I didn’t know my trees, my grass, my weeds, I knew nothing, but from experience thought, “I better go out there and start selling some work.”

I started walking into buildings and asking for commercial work, and that’s how I got some of my early commercial work. I ended up getting a big contract for $145,000 and ended up getting a bunch of smaller jobs that paid $3500 a year or $8,000 a year. I also had a whole bunch of small properties that I bought from a guy that was in his 60s and was getting out of the business and I bought about $50,000 worth of small commercial jobs that paid anywhere from $35 to $85 a week. That was the beginning of the business. Then I started to do these postcards and door hangers and I was mailing them out and I built a website. I knew how to do that because I knew technology, so I had some leads coming in. Now I’m doing small commercial, big commercial, big residential that’s 2 and 3 acres, half acre stuff, and some small stuff where the gross lot square footage may have been 10,000 square feet.

I was running around doing everything. I was going and seeing all the customers, I was selling, answering the phone, buying the trucks, and doing everything. It was just me. I started having all kinds of problems. I remember that I would work every night until super late. My desk was a complete disaster, and in 2005, it sounds crazy now, I remember in the very beginning I had an answering machine on my desk, and in spring I’d come back and there was like ten messages on this answering machine because nobody was answering the phone. That was the very beginning. I was completely scattered because I was doing everything. I’d have a guy that came in, I remember it clearly, at 1:30 and drops off the crew and everything and says, “I’m done today, I’ll be back tomorrow.”

I could just go down the list. I had guys that would call me on Sunday night drunk to quit and then on Monday they’d show up for work. It just never ended. A truck would break down because I bought all inexpensive cheap stuff because we didn’t have tons of money to throw into this business, or we’d be doing a landscape job and I didn’t know how to actually do a flower bed correctly so we wouldn’t dig out enough dirt and we’d do the job and then 3 weeks later they’ve got weeds and grass growing up in the flower beds and it was a complete mess. I’d have to go back and fix that, or something would go wrong with a flower delivery. I’d be running the errands to get flowers and I’d be going to Home Depot to get a shovel. I’d be going to meet clients for estimates and then getting home at 8:30 at night, starting my day again at 6 and probably doing some paperwork at night. It was just miserable, and I hated the business. I was still doing computer consulting as well.

Now that I think about it, I was doing computer consulting at night until 2 o’clock in the morning. It was insanity, but I was trying to get this business going and I was just working these insane hours. I was miserable, I wasn’t happy, the business was hardly making any money. I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing and I was self conscious because I didn’t know how to figure out what to do. I didn’t know my plants, I didn’t know my flowers, I’d go out and see a client, she’d point out a bush and say, “Hey, what’s this bush?” I’d have to play it off like, “It’s on the tip of my tongue,” and then I’d have to go look it up when I get back to the office and realize oh, it’s a nandina or whatever. Then next time hopefully I’d remember that, and eventually I had to memorize my weeds and my flowers. I could never diagnose diseases either. You get the idea.

It was one thing after another, and then when I had this $140,000 account and I kept it for several years, and we sucked at fertilization and weed control. I couldn’t keep a good tack on fertilization and weed control so it got to the point where I wasn’t doing any of the physical work, I was doing everything else. It got to the point where now I’m getting up every morning at 5:30, getting the spray rig, and I’m out there spraying these properties because we have no spray tech. This went on for several months, and then I’m doing all my other stuff I have going on. What happened is we would get so far behind on stuff that we’d end up with weeds in the $145,000 account, and that account consisted of 8 properties. We’d do some really good work there, but then we’d drop the ball on fertilization and weed control and we’d get behind the 8 ball on it. Ultimately, after a couple years, we lost that account.

I had my own excuse for why I lost the account. My excuse was because the purchasing manager at that place gave the job to somebody that he knew from his church, and I thought, “That’s a scam.” But in hindsight, if I’d been kicking ass on that job, if I had had my ducks in a row and there had been no weeds and that thing would have been perfect, it wouldn’t have opened the door. I had my little excuse for that, but in reality it was my own fault. I was doing every service. I was trying to do everything, and everything was on me. I was slow to hire help.

I learned all these lessons in a matter of a year and a half. I didn’t learn everything I needed to know, but I started learning where I was really making some big mistakes.

I had some prior experience in another service business where we were doing things a little bit smarter, but it was bigger. Now I start this other thing and I’m not making the same smart decisions because I’m trying so hard to manage every cost, but yet I’m blind to the fact that by saving $10 or $15 here per hour on hiring somebody, I’m now doing all this $10 and $15 work, so it made my life miserable, made the company slow to grow. I just dealt with one problem after another. It was miserable. I kept running the numbers like, “I swear there’s something to this business, I know I can make money at this.” But I’m kind of ready to just screw it and throw in the towel.

You may have heard this part before, I think I’ve said this publicly, I basically got to the point where I didn’t care. I was so freaking burned out, I was so tired, I was self conscious in a sense like, “I don’t really know what I’m doing here, I don’t know all the things I need to know.” You get the idea. I think I’ve set it up good enough. The point I’m wanting to make is I basically got to the point where I was done. I was worn out, I was frustrated, I was stressed, I was questioning what I knew. I was really smart, I thought, in certain areas, but now this business is making me question some of my ability or time management. Out of this, I learned so many lessons, and I finally just said, “Screw it, I’m done, I don’t care if the business closes, falls apart, whatever, I don’t care but I’m trying something different.” Thank goodness I did.

I realized that I wasn’t managing my time as good as I needed to, so I really started working on that. But, first I had to make some major changes in the business and I’ll get to that in a moment. I also realized that I really do not know how to market. I can go out and sell an account, I can meet with you face to face and I can win the business, but I don’t know how to get you to come to me. I had no idea how to do it. I had all these great intentions about things I wanted to do with customer service or better ways to organize the business, but I realized that I’m too busy to do any of that stuff and one of my characteristics is I get it 40% done and then I move on to the next thing and that thing never gets implemented or never gets finished. I’m always moving to the next thing because I have 25 million things going on, or the next problem’s always hitting me in the face. I was almost done with this problem, but this one’s now more important, so I move to that.

I started to realize all these things about myself that I had to then work on. I started to really learn marketing, and through marketing I learned things about customer service and all kinds of other things. There was just all these things I had to learn. I already had a nice base set of skills and knowledge, and it was good for the other businesses that I had done such as the consulting and the other service business I was in, but it wasn’t good enough to get me where I wanted to go in this business. At the end of the day, I finally just fired all the clients, all the employees that drove me crazy, scaled the whole business back down to one crew, and it changed my world. It did a couple things.

I realized, “Wow, I can actually make money in this business.” My energy level went way up. “Okay, I can build off of this.” Suddenly I have all this time. I fired all the problem clients, all the problem employees, I became very focused on a small service area instead of running my trucks 35 miles away to commercial properties. I became very focused on a small area and I got very clear on what kind of work we wanted to do.

We didn’t want big residential, that was like doing commercial. I really didn’t want tons of commercial. I wanted more, but just the right jobs and I wanted a lot of really close together residential. I also realized that fertilization and weed control was really hurting us because I didn’t have the time to be an expert, so I got some help on that. I found somebody I could contract some stuff to temporarily, and then I got out of landscape because I didn’t know what I was doing. It was driving me crazy, it was taking me tons of time. I was the delivery boy for that, and I just stopped doing irrigation work and stopped doing aeration.

We just simplified so many things, and it was life changing. My crappy trucks, my decent equipment, my crappy marketing, my lousy phone system, all these things started to improve because I started to have a little bit more money and I started to be able to think clearly and I started spending a lot of money to go to conferences, seminars and I joined a business group that was pretty expensive. I ultimately spent some one on one money to go sit down with the really smart marketing people and just asked questions. I spent a lot of money, and it was money I didn’t have, but that was the catalyst that changed everything. It wasn’t that tomorrow I woke up and everything was rosy and perfect. It was that I continued to make improvements. I upgraded a truck, that got rid of some problems. I got out of fertilization and weed control because I contracted it, that took some more problems off my plate. I quit doing landscape, took some more problems off my plate. I started to learn how to do some marketing. I started getting more leads that I could already close so I knew how to do that so I had more business which gave me more money.

Then I hired another person, and then I said, “You know what? It’s time to have a phone person.” Actually that happened prior to the events I’m talking about, but I just kept making one more little incremental improvement over a number of years, and it took about 4 years from getting started in 05 to mid 2009. By mid 2009, I had a pretty big client account, and that was because my goal was wrong and I was just trying to get lots of clients versus make lots of profit. I was totally flawed in that. My goal was client accounts, my goal was not profit. Totally screwed up, but I learned that lesson. What I’m trying to say is in about a 4 year period, maybe 4 and a half year period, I do have a lot of clients but it’s not a very profitable business. Over that time, I learned so many things. I implemented so many things. I changed so many things. I got so many things off my plate, that every month there was a little more progress.

By about 4 and a half years in, things are getting decent. They’re pretty good. I’ve got a good business…I’ve definitely got a decent business, but not a great business. From about that moment in time on, because my team started getting better, I could get more help. I had an operations manager, that’s when it exploded. It took me 4 and a half years to figure all that stuff out. It took me all that time to quit doing the dumb things and start learning the right things and start slowly implementing the right things. It took me that long to become focused, and every year it got better. It wasn’t horrible all the way through 4 and a half years, but it wasn’t perfect and it kept getting better.

Every year I was doubling. First year I did 125, then 250, then just under 500,000, and then a million, something like that, and then boom. That’s when it took off, and that’s why I feel like and I’ve heard it with other people, that up to that first million, you’re just learning so many lessons. You’re figuring so many things out. You don’t have hardly any help, and now you’re starting to get help and now your help is starting to learn how your business works. They’re starting to get smarter, so by around that million dollar mark, things can explode, and that’s when you can see these dramatic jumps. Getting to the 2 million from a million, that happened in no time. That stuff happened fast because I now knew some things. I quit making the stupid mistakes. I was more organized and I had a team.

If I could show you what it looked like, and I actually did a video showing my original first mower, if you could have witnessed it, it would give you a totally different vision of where we’re at today. You’d probably be shocked, but that’s how it works. That saying of, that person’s a 20 year success, or the overnight success that took 20 years, you might have heard that saying. That’s really how it works. I started recording videos 5 years into the business, right at that place where I was doing over a million dollars, and I had 900 clients, I don’t remember now. About that time is when everything exploded because now I knew what to do and I was doing the right things, and it was all about continuing to execute the right plan over and over again.

I don’t know if that helps at all. I don’t know if that gives you any encouragement without you actually seeing what it was like. I don’t know if I’ve done a good job describing it, but your scenario is not unique. Your struggles, your frustration, your questioning of your ability, your frustration and you’re like, “Why can’t I figure this out, but all these other guys have?” All that stuff is completely normal. It’s what everybody goes through. Nobody wakes up one day, starts a business, and has all the answers. Nobody reads Ink Magazine like, “Oh dude I’ve been reading Ink Magazine for two years, I know how to build a business, this isn’t gonna be that hard.”

No way. Nobody knows what to do. Most of the guys that build a quick fast growing business, it wasn’t their first. It’s their third. They’ve already screwed up so many things. They already figured out so many things, that when they did it the third time or the second time or the fourth time or whatever, they know some stuff now, and maybe they even have a little bit of money that they can go hire some people to help them grow the thing fast. It’s normal.

You’ve gotta go through it. But, once you go through this business, if this is your first, and you build a real team and a real company and you grow it bigger, whatever your next endeavor is in life, it’ll be so much easier. It’ll have a whole new set of problems, a whole new set of things you don’t know. It’ll be so much easier because you’ve had some experiences and you’ve been through some challenges and you’ve been through the struggles and now you have some answers. You know where to look for answers. Most of us when we started, we didn’t know where to look for answers. When you know where to look for answers, you can find solutions, and when you can find solutions, you can solve almost any problem. I hope that is just a little bit of encouragement for you to keep going, keep pushing on, keep fighting through and keep looking for those answers, and keep simplifying your business and keep pushing on. It’s life changing. Good luck.

Watch Out For This If You Want To Grow A Big Business

Jonathan’s number 1 tip to grow a big business fast…

This one point I’m about to make might be one of the biggest reasons why you never successfully grow your company into a big business. I’ve had to learn this one for myself because this one comes from experience. If you’re an individual that is willing to work really hard, that grew up believing that hard work will move you forward in life, and you believe and pride yourself in a really strong work ethic. If you feel that you’re not too good to do any task inside the business, that nothing’s below you, that you’re willing to do it all, you’re willing to learn it all, you’re willing to be the best…that can get you into a lot of trouble because the most important skill that you and I have to cultivate as we build bigger companies, and I’ve learned this first hand, is you have to turn into an individual that manages and delegates and coaches and trains.

You can no longer be the person doing the work. In fact, if you want to build the best business possible, you really should do virtually zero work. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do work. What I mean is you’re now in a strategizing, planning, getting the bottlenecks out of the way of the team, coaching and training and organizing type role. You’re in the role of bringing the very best players to the team and putting them in the right spot in the company so that they can move the company forward. You shouldn’t be doing the marketing. You shouldn’t be paying the bills. You shouldn’t be mowing the lawn. You shouldn’t be filing. You shouldn’t be doing anything like that. You should be setting the goals, and you should be creating the company structure and putting the right people in place.

If you’re that person that feels guilt when you’re not working and doing the activity, if you feel guilt when you feel that you’re not working hard, if you’re not really doing the thing and you’re spending more of your time thinking, if you don’t think that thinking and strategizing and planning is work, then you’re going to feel guilty. You will not move your company in the right direction because you’ll never act in the role that you need to act to get your company to the next level.

You and I almost need to reprogram ourselves to believe that delegation is the right thing to do, and not feel guilt around actually doing the activity. If you look at all the most successful biggest business owners, this is the role that they’ve moved themselves into. You never see them actually doing the work themselves. Even if they might be the best at that task, they have handed it off to somebody else.

I’d argue that once you start to build up some money in your business, there’s almost nothing that you could possibly be the best at or you couldn’t hire somebody else to do it just as good as you. If you have enough money, you can always find somebody to do whatever you’re capable of, as good or better than you.

What If My Marketing Doesn’t Work?

Do this and you won’t have to worry about “what if my marketing doesn’t work”…

This question is about the  fear of putting out door hangers or marketing pieces, blowing the money, and it not working. It is a very valid fear.

This individual says they refuse to work for anyone and they’re determined to make it on their own. I think that’s absolutely fantastic! I think you should do everything necessary and put whatever amount of time, hours, heartache, frustration, and expense you have to commit to this. You should do it to make this happen. It will set you up for a completely different life down the road.

I think you’re going down the right path.

This is a fear that everybody has. I’ve even had it. I’ve lost plenty of money making mistakes. Unfortunately, that’s how we generally learn.

I’m going to give you a piece of advice that you probably won’t like. But, if you follow it, you will be successful. The reason that your marketing won’t work, whether it’s direct mail, door hangers, or whatever the media is,  you’ve got to make sure you’re going after people that can buy your service. Make sure you are in the right market. If these people can buy from you, if they can afford you, if they have a need, for example. The best way for you to figure that out is if you already have tons of competitors in that neighborhood, or in that area. If you have tons of competition right there … and I mean tons … then there’s a need. That’s the perfect market. You don’t look for a market where there aren’t competitors. You look for the market where there’s the most competition, because that means there’s huge need.

It is the message that matters. Of course media plays a part because you want to make sure it gets read and you want to make sure it gets seen. You want to make sure it doesn’t go straight in the trash.  But, the message is the most important part.

This is where the advice comes in that may not be so exciting. How do you perfect your message? If you want to communicate and you want to make this stuff work, then you have to be saying things to your prospective client that resonates with them. What is it that you have to say to make people get off the couch and go to their computer to request an estimate? That’s really what this comes down to. If you think about it in those simple terms, you’ll be able to figure this out.

What would it take to get your prospect to take action? Be really realistic about this. What would it take? Let’s say somebody’s selling you something, not lawn care, because you know lawn care, but something else completely different. What if someone wanted to come to your home and wash your car every week? That’s a luxury that most people might not spend money on. So, what is it that I would have to say to you that would be so convincing that you would spend 35 or 40 bucks a week, or whatever that number is, for me to come to your house and wash your car every week? You’ve got to really think about it in those terms. That type of thinking is what you apply to solving the problem of insuring that your material is going to work.

The way you do this is you go knock on doors. It’s the fastest, easiest way. Just go knock on some doors. Tell yourself that this is a test. You may not sell anything, but you are going to learn an incredible amount just by knocking on doors. You’re not looking to make sales here. Sales are a bonus. What you’re hoping for is to figure out what people object to. When you ask to mow their lawn or take over their pest control, what is the objection that they say? Are they too busy, do they like their existing company, do they maintain it on their own? What are the objections? You’re listening for that.

Then you’re listening to what their frustrations are. They don’t like lawn companies, nobody remembers to close the gate, they accidentally scalped my yard or burned my lawn with chemicals. Listen to their complaints.

Next, listen to their dislikes. Are they looking for a bigger, well known company? Are they looking for a company that has uniforms and painted trucks? These are things you’re not really going to hear, but they’re examples of dislikes. What is it that they dislike about you? What is it they dislike about your competition?

With that, you’re concluding what their fears are. Their fears are that they’re going to overpay. Their fears are that you’re not going to do a good job. Their fears are that they’re going to switch lawn care companies again and you’re going to once again let them down like every other lawn care company has. Their fears are that they don’t know if your people are trustworthy and honest. Their fears are that you’re not really going to show up on the day that you promise. Their fears are on, and on, and on.

So, you’re looking for their objections. What do they dislike about me or my competitors? What are their complaints about companies like me? From that, you conclude their fears. This lets you craft the message. They have a checklist in their mind that are their buying criteria. When you, on your marketing piece, address all these things, so you preempt their objections, you position yourself to win this game.

The question isn’t really, “How do I ensure that I’m not going to make a mistake and waste my money, and my marketing’s not going to work?” The real question is, “How do I minimize it? How do I take the most risk out of this process of marketing?” The way you do that is you make sure you’re going after the right market with tons of competition. Then, you make sure you’re going after that market at the right time of year. Don’t sell me mowing in winter. Don’t sell me fertilization and weed control in winter. Don’t sell me irrigation when I don’t have an irrigation system in my lawn and you’re selling me repair work. You get the idea. Sell it at the right time of year. Sell me something that I can actually buy. Address and preempt my objections, my fears, my frustrations, and then give me a reason to do it.

I’ll add two more. Give me a reason to do it. Why in the world should I take action with you now? Why should I not just wait until next year? Why should I not just wait another month? Remember. It’s a hassle for me to drop my current company and go with you. Why should I work with you now? You’ve got to give me a compelling reason to do it. Just addressing my objections is not enough. You might have to give me something…a bonus, a gift, a freebie, something. Twenty-five dollars free to mow your lawn is not very exciting. You’ve got to get me something to make me move.

I’ll leave with this. On that marketing piece, how do you get me to look at your marketing piece over the other three that are on my door right now? How do you stand out, catch my attention, and get read. Why do I keep your piece, and throw your three competitors in the trash? How do you get me to notice you above every other piece on my door, all the other noise that’s happening in my mailbox and on my door? That’s the stuff you work on.

When you figure that out, then you’ve nailed it and you’ll minimize your risk. You’ll minimize your mistakes. Even the pros screw this up. There is no high-dollar marketing person that you can hire that will get it right all the time. There are so many variables. You will make mistakes. This is a game. You’re not just doing marketing once. You’re doing marketing over years, and years, and years. You’re going to have some screw-ups and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s part of the game, but the wins build the business. The wins make you rich. The wins give you a great lifestyle.

You’re playing the game to minimize risk and achieve as many wins as possible. The best way to do it is just get out there and start testing in small samples. Try little things. The way you learn the fastest is to go talk to people, hear what they say, and apply that to your marketing. Then, read marketing books. On LawnCareMillionaire, you can download my free ebook. That has the 34 best, most important books that I’ve read. A bunch of those books are about marketing. Read every book on that list and do everything I just said. You will be successful and you will make a minimal number of marketing mistakes. Good luck.