January is the month for resolutions—finding your vision and setting goals. While most people are busy joining a gym, paying off credit cards, or learning a new hobby, we business owners have a special set of resolutions to consider: our operational goals for 2015.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, experts say it’s best to pick goals that develop good habits and are realistically attainable. The same applies to business objectives, according to U.S. Lawns President Ken Hutcheson:
“When embarking on a new business year, you should first take a hard look at your current assets,” he recommends. “Then, set goals that capitalize on your strengths while offering a chance for improvement and growth.”
In particular, the leadership at U.S. Lawns recommends you look at three major areas of your business, as you map out your plan for 2015 and start assessing your resources for the new year.
Financial. Obviously, everything depends on your financial strength. How much cash flow do you have to start the season and grow? Many owners experienced exceptional growth in 2014 and have enjoyed a productive winter, putting them an ideal position for spring.
However, if 2014 was a challenging year, you may not be able to expand as aggressively as you’d like. But that’s not the end of the world, according to Vice President Mike Fitzpatrick, who oversees franchise support. “Some of the most successful U.S. Lawns owners have built their business slowly over time,” he says. “The key is to know where you are, be sure of where you’re going, and make wise financial decisions along the way.”
If you have any questions about your growth rate or how to best predict and manage cash flow, talk to your RFA. Additionally, we offer a variety of tools that can help guide your progress and set optimal goals for the future.
People. At U.S. Lawns, we place special importance on the “human” side of capital. Our mantra is service, which begins with our internal culture. Last year, you promised to become the “best place to work.” As you look ahead to 2015, consider how your employees can influence your success. Have you built a strong team who can work together to achieve initiatives and goals? Have you placed the right people in the right roles?
Growth requires more than financial backing; it takes manpower. A happy, well-positioned team is an investment in your company’s future. Take stock in your roster, and all your players’ strengths and weaknesses. Before the season gets going, you may want to revise some job descriptions, promote a few leaders, or hire some additional talent. Remember: everyone’s happier when they can do what they love and make a contribution.
Customers. Finally, make an appraisal of your client list. Do you have a diverse mix of business? Are you generating enough revenue from long-term customers? Chances are, since you work in your local market, you already know which sales prospects you want to target in 2015. But don’t wait to put your efforts in motion, advises Director of Brand Development Brandon Moxam: “
Very few people sell often enough,” he acknowledges. “Get those names in the pipeline, and hit the ground running in the New Year. And you don’t simply have to make cold calls; you have to build relationships.” Brandon points to a number of sales tools that U.S. Lawns provides its owners, to make the sales process easier and less intimidating. The automated 7-in-7 program requires you to supply the contacts to enter into the pipeline, but will keep the sales cycle moving after that, reaching out to your prospects with personalized marketing content, making blind calls a thing of the past.
As a new fiscal year dawns, we hope you share our optimism about the growth of U.S. Lawns. By making a realistic analysis of your finances, staff, and sales efforts, you’ll enter 2015 with a realistic knowledge of where you are—and what you can become. Of course, just because you set a goal doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll land. Every year, franchisees outperform their own expectations through determination and simply providing great service. When you’re part of U.S. Lawns, you never know how far you can grow.