It’s spring here in Cleveland, so of course that means a snow storm. Well, there’s nothing we can do about it, except drink more coffee and listen to this Holiday classic.
Start your Tuesday afternoon with a tribute to a great guitarist who we lost 31 years ago today.
This week I’ve got a lot of cool forest stuff for you, as well as the latest research on America’s Hispanic population and a neat case study on water savings. Needless to say, it’s a grab bag. Have a great weekend!
Seth Godin explains why you need to choose your customers before you choose your product or service:
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Each cohort of customers has a particular worldview, a set of problems, a small possible set of solutions available. Each cohort has a price they’re willing to pay, a story they’re willing to hear, a period of time they’re willing to invest.
And yet too often, we pick the product or service first, deciding that it’s perfect and then rushing to market, sure that the audience will sort itself out. Too often, though, we end up with nothing.
I talked with George Gaumer, outgoing vice president and general manager of commerical landscape services at Davey Tree Expert Co. about this just last week, and he drew this handy chart for me. (This is a facsimilie; George has much better handwriting.)
The idea is that you can offer new services to your current customers, and offer your current services to new customers, but offering new services to new customers gets you skiing out past your tips.
We covered these topics extensively in our February Grow the Market report. Read it here.
We have spent so much time focusing on the “poor economy,” “Obamacare,” “Sequestration,” “Watergate” (Rubio), etc., that we are losing sight of a critical axiom of building a business – you still make the call as to how you are going to lead your company.
Yes, you may need to make some tough calls as to how you are going to successfully overcome the obstacles in front of you. Sometimes, it means you must make difficult decisions.
Every company needs to have a leader that is willing to be unpopular at times. That willingness means you have the courage to make tough calls that will lead to better times for all members of the team. If your focus is on being liked all the time, you can’t succeed.
Seth Godin makes a similar point, but uses a bicycle analogy: The uphill parts of a ride are much more strenuous than the downhills, but it’s only when you’re going up that you have control over how fast you go. Once you crest the hill, physics takes over and you’re essentially ballast.
Now, I look forward to the uphill parts, because that’s where the work is, the fun is, the improvement is. On the uphills, I have a reasonable shot at a gain over last time. The downhills are already maxed out by the laws of physics and safety.
Read Jim’s full post here. Stop thinking about everything that you can’t control and start working on the things you can.
It’s just a Phil Collins kind of morning/afternoon. I remember playing this over and over in a Pizza Hut jukebox as a young lad.
For your reading pleasure this weekend I’ve got a few articles about snow, how Google works and some fantastic images of botanic gardens from around the world. Enjoy!
- Dust from Africa impacts snowfall in California. (via CLCA)
- Related: Thin snowpack out west points to summer drought.
- Tech’s best feature: the off switch. (h/t Warren Gorowitz)
- How Google works.
- Landscape designers have the best offices. (h/t Shayne Newman)
- The rise of the new sharing economy.
- Interesting Q&A with Travis Beck, NYBG’s Landscape and Gardens Project Manager and author of “Principles of Ecological Landscape Design.” (via NYBG)
- Above: Best botanic gardens in the world.
One of the best things about working at L&L is our crack design team. They win lots of awards and make the stories we write come alive on the page (and in our app).
Landscapers don’t often hire graphic designers, but they need them more than you might think. Great logos, truck decals and business cards and the like help build a brand and make you stand out in the minds of prospective customers.
So how do you get great design without hiring a whole designer?
I was talking with Jim McCutcheon the other day, and he recommended Design Outpost. It’s a sort of crowdsourced design site that lets you submit your idea or request for a logo, say, and have it picked up by freelance designers from around the world.
It’s how Jim got a logo for his KnowWater program (above) in just a few days for a couple hundred bucks.
It’s definitely worth looking at if you need something designed fast and cheap, and don’t have the time or resources to keep a design team on retainer.