March 15, 2011
By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners program manager

Jacki HartLandscapers are rarely bankers in disguise.

Soon you will be entrenched IN your business, working hands-on and wearing countless different hats. It's really hard to think and see clearly about how your business is performing financially without solid systems to help you.

Typically, we landscapers hate the financial stuff. And, typically, whether you can follow the logic here or not, it's exactly why we don't/can't pay ourselves enough.

Running a business requires strength in each of all the Prosperity Pillars – not just the ones you like to absorb yourself. How do you weigh in? Place a checkmark in the columns as appropriate

The reality is that if you placed a mark in the 'avoid when possible' column, beware, as this is a blind spot in your business and is absolutely interfering with meeting your best potential. If you fall under lukewarm in any of the pillars, then heads up. These are ones you pay attention to either when you feel like it, when you need to, or you delegate it to someone else.

Now more than ever, business owners and managers need to be sharp, paying attention to metrics, sales, margins and cash flow. We are experiencing unprecedented pressures in order to continue running sustainable, legitimate businesses from many different directions.

For example, our customers are more sophisticated than ever. The economy has changed, forcing us to think differently and sharpen our pencils. The HST has adversely affected consumer confidence, and perceived value. Flash in the pan competitors (those without a sustainable business model) are dropping their prices just to get work, without covering overhead and ROI. And yes, thanks to Mr. McGuinty, many customers want to avoid the HST by dealing in cash.

One of our Pillars of Prosperity is Financial Health. The buck stops here – without solid financial health in your business, you will face even more challenges than your peers who have solid systems in place. Landscape Ontario offers resources to you to help strengthen the financial health of your business.

These resources include: There's a few weeks left to grab the bull by the horns, and make a difference in the financial health of your business this year. Go for it! I guarantee if you use the primer below to get you started, and commit to following through on your answers, you will be rewarded well for your diligence.

To improve the Financial Health of this company, the most important thing to change is __________.
The consequences of NOT making the effort to change this are: _______________
The result of this change will be ____________.
The resources I need to use are _____________.
I am going to contact/access/read this resource by March ___, 2011.
When I have done this, here's what I anticipate will be different and improved: _________________________.

Prosperity Pillar Love It Luke Warm Avoid When Possible
Sales Success      
Professional Operations      
Customers for Life      
Financial Health      
Technical Education      

Jacki can be reached via email at