September 15, 2019
Warren PattersonIn mid-August, all Landscape Ontario members received their annual dues renewal invoices by email. While some may look at the invoice and see just another business expense, I have always viewed it as an investment. I even look forward to the dividends it pays — which can sometimes work out to a 20x return on investment. (The average member saves about $13,000 each year).

While the financial benefits are great for your bottom line, there are also huge returns to be had that can’t simply be entered into a line item on a budget or spreadsheet. These returns come in the form of valuable ideas and solid relationships built through being a part of the Landscape Ontario community.

The best way to start forming these relationships requires just a bit of effort on your part. Simply attend an LO event, a local Chapter meeting, or a sector committee meeting or event.

Cruise the aisles of one of the association’s trade shows, and you’re sure to meet other members to share ideas, solve common problems, source supplies, and grow your business.

In July, I attended the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) Garden Centre Summit. The two-day event gathered garden centre owners and staff from different sized operations from across the country. We toured successful operations and spent time discussing challenges, solutions, and of course, many ideas. Knowing we had the support of an entire group, and being able to look for solutions together, left us all feeling energized and inspired to overcome challenges and continue to work on growing our businesses.

This coming together to benefit all those involved happens through LO events and initiatives all the time. I spoke with LO’s executive director, Tony DiGiovanni, just this morning about the fact that some members are having difficulty getting snow and ice insurance. Some simply can’t get insurance, others have such significant increases to premiums that they now have some tough decisions to make. But for one small group of members, their connection has allowed them to go outside the box and work together to form their own insurance program that works just for them. Being able to stay in business and make a profit — that’s priceless.

Where would those, and many other successful businesses, be today if not for their investment each year in LO? It all started with a commitment to be part of a community of like-minded professionals. It is only through this commitment that you will also get a return on your annual membership fees.

This industry is filled the smart, welcoming and hard-working people. I can still remember the first time I attended a chapter meeting. I didn’t know anyone in the room, yet I immediately felt welcomed and part of the group. It was the start of making sure I got the highest return possible for my LO membership investment.

You may not have time make it out to every event or meeting, but put aside the time to attend just a few, and I’m sure you too, will get a 20x return on your Landscape Ontario membership.
Warren Patterson
LO President