Scott Grams has a great column in this month’s issue of the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association magazine. Scott is the executive director of one of the country’s biggest and best-run associations, and he has a great perspective on the industry. What happens in the Illinois (read: Chicago) market tends to trickle down to other parts of the country, so it’s a good bellwether for the rest of the industry.
Scott’s take is that as the economy improves (and it is improving), consumer spending will continue to grow and landscapers will benefit. But he worries that many contractors have become locked into panic mode – the lean-at-all-costs way of operating that got them through the recession, but that will stymie their growth as things improve.
You can read the full column as a PDF here, but here’s the money quote (emphasis mine):
It’s said that financial success masks all problems. Mediocre salesmen look great. Bad salesmen look competent. Poor managers look like master motivators. The flip-side of that is that economic growth exposes poor innovators and small thinkers. This is the time for big ideas. As the rest of the industry stretches and groans at the daybreak, who is already out of the shower, down the stairs, into the car and jamming to speed metal? This is a time for reinvention and for the realization of pipe dreams. Survival mode will be over – and many have forgotten how to do anything but survive.
Scott has the right idea. If you haven’t already, now is the time to starting thinking big about how you can grow. Things will get better, and your company needs to be ready.