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Archive for the ‘idea’ tag

Caffeine-enhanced data

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This is a chalkboard a friend of mine sent me from a coffee shop in England.

I’m keen on any kind of data, especially when I can pore over it with an ample supply of coffee. But what I like most about this is that the shop is explaining to customers (and employees) in real time how business is going, and how much they’re making.

It’s sort of like the 100 penny story: Your crew leader is complaining about how you never buy new equipment/pay him poorly/etc. So you sit down at your desk and pour out 100 pennies. You show him how many it takes to pay for wages, how much for overhead, how much for marketing. At the end of the story, you’ve (basically) organized your annual budget in tiny piles, and your crew leader has a better understanding of where all your revenue goes.

I hear from a lot of owners who say they wish their crews would think like more like them – worry about the P&L and understand how their actions in the field each day effect the company’s bottom line.

Something like this might not be a bad idea.


July 9th, 2013 at 8:15 am

Posted in business

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A video idea to steal

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Interiorscape giant Ambius has partnered with eHow to produce a series of educational videos. They’re geared mainly toward DIY-ers, but are a good example of short, punchy videos that quickly explain the value of plants and how they can improve a home or business. You can watch more of Chris and the rest of the Ambius team here.


August 22nd, 2012 at 2:13 am

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An idea for capturing ideas

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I spent a few days last week at the Green Industry Great Escape, PLANET’s revamped Executive Forum meeting. The idea was to get top industry leaders out of their offices and away at a nice location so they could network and think about the future of their businesses.

By all accounts, it worked. Whether it’s at big events organized by an association, a peer group or just you heading off to be alone for a day or two, any business owner has to spend some of his or her time focused on developing new ideas and planning for the future.

So what does this have to do with index cards? I have three small kids, and I don’t get a lot of time to spend by myself (except on planes), so I have to catch any ideas as they flit through my brain on the go. To do that, I use this low-tech PDA. It’s just index cards and a butterfly clip. It fits in my shirt pocket, and when paired with a pen, it’s the perfect way for me to brainstorm plans, capture a quick to-do list or outline my schedule for the day.

You can do this with anything – a legal pad, your phone or any number of web applications. But the important thing is that you do it. You have to capture these ideas in one place, so you can find them again, think about them and develop them into concrete plans for the future.

Otherwise, you just spent a bunch of money and a few days on the beach to end up in the same place you were last year.


March 7th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Posted in technology

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First, make two calendars

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When you’re good at what you do, and you really enjoy it, it can be difficult to step back and think about promoting yourself.

I mean, if you enjoy this work so much, how is everyone else not as excited as you all the time?

Jason Cupp recently visited with a landscaper out west having some trouble keeping her service schedule and marketing schedules in sync.

Of course, when it comes to marketing, there can be several challenges, not the least of which are what you want to promote, what medium you want to use, and exactly who to target. This client’s struggle, however, involved timing; she was always behind the power curve getting her marketing message to prospects.

So he had her make up two calendars — one for her services and one, set a few months back, that would help her schedule promotions for those services.

A simple idea, but one with a lot of power that could help a lot of landscapers. (And editors, come to think of it.)

Read the full post here for all the details.


February 29th, 2012 at 7:34 am

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Marketing idea of the day

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I’m on the road at the 2010 Irrigation Association show in Phoenix and spotted this displayed at the counter of the Starbucks.

The program is called 12 Days of Sharing. Starting Dec. 1st, the company offers a different incentive — an advent calendar of sorts for the caffeine-addicted.

They’ve offered buy-one-get-one-free deals, donations to AIDS charities and, above, $5 gift cards for purchases.

It’s a clever way to encourage repeat traffic around a holiday theme — and an idea any lawn care or landscaping company could steal (or modify) for its own referral program. Depending on your region and market, you could do it seasonally could offer gift cards to a local garden center in the spring, passes to an area amusement park in the summer and tickets to a football game in the fall.

Or you could set up smaller offers — gift cards to restaurants or gas stations — to roll out every week.

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December 6th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

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