The vast majority of companies, their owners burn out whether it’s a guy in a truck with a couple individuals helping him, an individual’s that’s doing about 400,000 a year and is right at that plateau where they just can’t break past the next level. I call that one of the most difficult places in the business. Or they’re stuck in about the seven, $800,000 a year range. They’re making some money but it’s just really hard to get past the million dollar mark. All three of the numbers, the areas, types of businesses I just described are really challenging points and they get almost everyone in the industry. A small percentage break past a million, a super, super small percentage, like very tiny, break past five million and hardly anybody breaks past 10 million in business.
Regardless of where you’re at in any of the three scenarios I just gave you, I’m going to give you a list of things to think about. They may not fully resonate. You may not fully buy into them but I am 100% certain in the list that I’m about to give you and it applies to the business you own today and if you decide this business is too hard and go start a different business in another industry, it’ll apply to that business as well because it’s applied to every single thing I’ve ever done.
Let me start at the top and just run down some stuff. The only way you’re going to get out of the trap of being exhausted, being burned out by the end of every year, eventually being completely burnt out of the business, is to grow your way out of the problem. You’re not going to cut costs and cut your way to a more profitable, more interesting, more fun business. It just generally doesn’t happen. The solution is generally to grow the business. If you want to solve problems you have to go hire people. To be able to afford people you have to grow the business so you have enough free cashflow and enough money to be able to do it. So the only solution is you gotta grow this thing, which means you gotta learn sales and marketing answer you gotta grow. You gotta advertise and you gotta market. You gotta do all that stuff. If you don’t the business will never get that much better.
You gotta think about simplicity. If you are running around doing landscaping, irrigation, fertilization, weed control, pest control, mowing and bushes and bed work and flowers and mulch and sod and all that, you have million things going on. You have a million moving parts. You have all kinds of trucks and equipment. You have lots of different employees that need different kinds of training, or you need that great, incredible, almost impossible to find person, who can do it all. Frankly, they could just go out and start their own business, they’re that great and can do it all.
Simplicity in the early days will make your business manageable and it won’t wear you down and exhaust you. What I mean by that is, you predominantly do mowing and it becomes cookie cutter. This truck, this equipment, this set up, I go get this kind of client, using this kind of market and I replicate, replicate. When I’m ready for a new crew it’s copy and paste. When I take the exact same copy of what I’m doing now. Trucks, equipment, et cetera and I make another copy of it. We’re going to repeat. Eventually we’re going to get a little sides and I’m going to have fertilization, weed control and then I’m going to add something else. Simplicity is your friend.
Number three, it’s really hard to let bad clients go. It’s really hard to leave areas that you shouldn’t be serving because they’re sending your truck too far across town. It’s really hard to get out of commercial when you know you should be in residential, or get out of residential when you know you should focus on commercial. It’s really hard to walk away from landscape. There’s all these things you probably know you should do that aren’t overly profitable. You’ve got emotional relationships with the client, you just can’t say, “Bye.” They’ve been with you for years, but they’ll make your life and you business better. You’ve gotta make those hard decisions.
If you don’t love landscape, if you’re not really good at it, you can’t figure out how you can scale it and have other people sell that work for you, design those projects for you, project manage that work, the landscape side of the business will always be a trap. That is the number one part of the industry that most people can never transcend. It’s what gets them stuck, because they’re always the person selling, designing, project managing, meeting with the client, doing the walk throughs, fixing the problems. They’re always that person and they never get free because of that trap to scale their company.
I think this is number four or five. The vast majority of companies don’t get paid fast enough. They don’t credit cards, they get paid on 30 day terms, that means they never have their money very fast so it can never afford to hire people. They can never afford to go buy a new truck when they’re ready for the truck. They can’t afford to replace their equipment and most of it goes back to they’re simply getting paid to slow. Every other industry, the fast food industry, the plumbers, the electricians they all have it figured out. They all take credit cards. It’s upped the amount of revenue they generate because consumers want to use credit cards but in our industry we don’t do that. We decide to continue to get paid slow because we don’t want to give up 3% of our revenue. It hurts. It hurts everyone that’s not taking credit cards. It doesn’t even have to be credit cards, although I recommend, you could get paid in advance. Structure your deal so that you get paid fast. That’s the endgame. Credit cards is just the easiest way to do it.
Number five or six. Most of us are not listening to the right stuff. We’re listening to ESPN radio in the truck or watching TV when we get home, watching Netflix and all that’s fine, but it’s only fine for a little bit of your day. The majority of the time when you’re driving, whatever, you’ve got some down time, you’re out for a walk, you’re out for a jog, you need to be consuming information that will make you smarter. Will get you to the next level. Will grow your mindset. Will grow you ability. Will give you a high level of energy so you can keep fighting on another day.
If you’re not eating well, if you’re not working out, a lot of guys, lot of gals get out of the field especially guys in this industry get out of the field now they’re in the office. They don’t work out. They used to get a workout when they were behind the mower or they were out doing whatever, digging holes, they get to the office. All of that goes down the drain. They’re not getting a workout, they’re not eating healthy. That is the thing that controls everything else in life. If you don’t feel good because you’re tired, because you’re eating a bunch of junk, because you’re not working out, then you’re going to be, have a lower level of productivity, you’re not going to show up for your team in the same way. You’re not going to be the leader you need to be. You’re not going to have clarity of mind to make the hard, right decisions and make them fast. That one thing right there is the lever that move everything else in your business. So you’ve got to manage your energy.
You have to eliminate, this is another one, eliminate all the naysayers. Your friends, your family, your parents, whomever says, “Why are you doing this business? Why don’t you go to college? Why don’t you get a degree? Why don’t you go into a different industry? You’ve been doing this for five years, why don’t you give up?” You’ve got to ignore all that junk and you’ve got to do what I said, you’ve got to get your mind right. You gotta be consuming the right information. You gotta be hanging out with the right people. People that have done it. People that’ll get you there. Maybe that’s coaching, maybe it’s conferences, maybe it’s seminars, maybe it’s friends in other states that you meet at GIE or some other industry event. You gotta spend your time with those individuals. It’s peers, friends in your local community that might own different businesses.
Who’s ahead of you? Hang out with them because you’ll be more likely to end up where they’re at if you spend time around them. Get away from everyone else, ignore that stuff. They don’t know what they’re talking about. If you build your mindset, build your skillset, go practice every day and become the next version of you, your business will work and it will be successful and everyone else they’re just going to drag you down if you pay attention to them.
And the last thing I’ll throw out there is the number one thing. Eh, it’s not the number one thing. But it’s way up there. You have to constantly be recruiting. The number one problem in my mind in this business is employees. Recruiting, building the team. Marketing, easy it’s tons of work. I can out market the majority of everyone in the marketplace. You can too if you study it and learn it. The problem is the rest of us, all of us, me included, are struggling in an absolutely massive way to find enough individuals to do all the work we can sell.
The only solution and it’s not even a great one, it’s just the only one available to you, you have to be marketing for team members, constantly recruiting even when you don’t need them. As they say, building your bench, meaning are you keeping a list of everybody you’ve met that might someday be interested? Where they live. The address they live at. Their cellphone number. Their mom’s cellphone number in case that cellphone gets turned off. Whatever you gotta do, you need that list and you gotta build that list and you gotta constantly be looking because that is going to be the number one bottleneck inside you’re company as you soon as you have any level of success.
Go focus on all those things. You’ll be way less burned out come the end of this year. You’ll be even way less burned out come the end of next year and one day you’ll wake up and you’ve got exactly the company that everyone else says you can’t build. Good luck.