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Giant. Helicopter. Chainsaw.

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A massive chainsaw suspended from a helicopter to trim trees?

You say overkill. I say New Jersey.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

March 28th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

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Monday Morning Start-Up, Snow Edition

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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.

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March 25th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

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Monday morning start-up. (A day and a few hours late.)

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Start your Tuesday afternoon with a tribute to a great guitarist who we lost 31 years ago today.

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March 19th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

How to choose customers and services

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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…

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.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

March 14th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Tough calls and uphill battles

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Jim McCutcheon has a simple — but very important – message for landscape contractors on his blog:

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.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

March 12th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Monday morning start-up

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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.

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March 11th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

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Well, I’ve learned two things already this morning:

  1. Costco has a magazine.
  2. In that magazine, they featured Mike Kukol, owner of Horizon Landscape & Irrigation, and how he uses a peer group to improve his business.

h/t to Jeffrey Scott for the news.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

March 6th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

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Monday Morning Start-Up — Deadline-style

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We are trying to get our March issue out the door. This song plays on a constant loop in my head until it’s done.

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February 18th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

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Making a million

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Making a million is quite a achievement in the industry. We’ll feature a piece in our March issue about how exactly hit that goal. In the meantime, check out what Dave Fairburn, president, and Andrew Pelky vice president of NP Holdings, an outdoor property services company in New England, said about making the mark.

The achievement “gave us a point where we could breathe,” Fairburn said  However, “we simply reached a benchmark which will lead to others”   He said it’s not an end mark.  It simply gives the company a moment to pause, reorganize, and plan our next steps.

“I processed it, and I haven’t really thought about it again until your magazine has asked us this question,”Pelkey said.  “What this is really about, is that we are on this planet for only 80 or 90 years. It’s what we do to exercise our minds for that time to feel fulfilled. This is not to understate the value of a million dollars; it is just to value the million dollars in terms of life.”

Some good insight about reaching a goal, but not settling for it.

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February 15th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Snow by the minute

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For those of us who didn’t have to live through it, these time lapse videos give an idea of how bad NEMO was. That snow just keeps piling up.

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/water_cooler/new-england-blizzard-2013-videos-time-lapse-video-of-northeast-blizzard-go-viral-on-youtube

 

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February 12th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

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