September 15, 2019
Jacki Hart

A bumpy start to 2019

Without a doubt, this season has pressed many with whom I’ve spoken, way out to their max. A late and wet spring started everyone off, no matter what sector, causing a disruption to the timing and flow of normal spring production. Add to this, customer demands for a faster-than-ever pace to get their work done or product delivered on time, and stress levels are higher than usual across the profession. (I know, staffing concerns are high as well, but that’s a whole other topic on its own).

In my 25 years of experience as a contractor, and more recently as a business coach, I see the impact on business owners and leadership teams from this type of weather-caused stress fall into two main categories:
  • Either missing or chasing last year’s numbers, plus this year’s growth targets.
  • The stress on owners, staff and families that comes with business growth and resources stretched thinner than usual.
I haven’t heard from anyone in our industry whose phone isn’t ringing, and who isn’t really crazy busy. This is a great sign that our expertise, services and products are in high demand. But with that comes a fast pace that often blows past our plan and/or our capacity to manage operations proactively on-the-fly. Well, have I ever got a solution for you!

On Sept. 19 and 20, there’s a signature event happening in Muskoka, Ont., that you don’t want to miss. The LO Peer to Peer Network Muskoka Summit is a highly-engaging and informative two-day workshop that will focus on two key challenges that so many in our industry are struggle with each year:
  1. Knowing what your numbers are telling you, and what to do about it.
  2. Scaling-up your business and how to survive rapid growth.
Day one will see workshop hosts, Joe Salemi, from Dynascape, and yours truly, dive deep into helping you compare your business results with bench-marked industry data on crucial factors for business success. These include:
  1. Overhead metrics by company type and revenue range
  2. Sales stats on closing rates and sales effectiveness
  3. Current estimating trends (breakevens, average markups and profit)
  4. Equipment ROI patterns
  5. Revenue trends
  6. Expense averages
  7. Marketing ROI
Top takeaways will include a working spreadsheet to guide you through reviewing all of the above, and learning to identify the patterns in your own numbers. You will also learn to identify your business trends, and discover tips to improve them. Bring your current: Year to Date, Previous Year Comparison, Profit and Loss Statement if you want to (not required, but encouraged).

On day two, we will host a power-packed panel featuring three industry professionals who have successfully navigated business growth – each using different techniques. In addition, there will be two professional consultants rounding out the panel.

This workshop will be moderated by Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director, Landscape Ontario and feature: Janna Bradley, COO, LMN; Scott Wentworth, President, Wentworth Landscapes; Kevin Scott, President, Muskoka Landscapers; Tyler Lockhart, Business Investment Consultant, Muskoka Futures; and myself.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and explore the impact on business owners of scaling up a business way beyond where they had ever envisioned. The stresses that come with business growth affect the owner, the leadership team, and their families. This power panel of experts will answer targeted questions around the impact of business growth, and will join you elbow-to-elbow in break-out discussions for exploration into managing the stresses of business growth.

I can’t leave my business for a couple of days

This event is going to deliver relevant information that runs deeply into and broadly across these two top challenges facing most entrepreneurs and managers this year. It’s so tough to get your head wrapped around stepping away from your business while you’re in the thick of it — and spend two days working on YOU as an owner or manager.

What I can say for sure, is that the dozens of business owners who have already made the leap of faith and taken the time in the past to attend this professional development mid-season retreat, have never regretted it.

As counter-intuitive as it may feel, leaving your business behind for two days is a great opportunity for both you and your staff. It’s a great way to test the processes, systems and collaborative communication channels within your business. Hold a quick meeting with your team before you leave to clarify what the expectations are while you’re away. This will be an important test to see how solid your systems and decision-making filters are, when you return, so that you learn where to improve and how to make adjustments.

Hopefully by the time you read this column, the conference will not yet be sold out. Visit for details.
Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager