It’s April again, which means a lot of things, for all of us who work in the Green Industry. The weather’s warming (please!), the phones are ringing, people are stopping in the store, and everyone is chomping at the bit to get their ponds started. All of which means nobody has time for me anymore. When the landscape world gets busy, and with it the pond world, my world slows way down. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you might notice I’m on the road the majority of the time from November to March. When people have time to work on their businesses in the off-season, I work in my business helping them do just that. When our customers get busy, it’s time for me to switch from traveling, to working on the business, not in it. I love the dichotomy of my job and hope you do too. Unfortunately, I think a lot of Green Industry professionals don’t do a good job of balancing the two. They go 110% for,say nine months of the year, and dial it down to near zero the other three. The very months they could, or should, be working on the business they are either too exhausted, or still stuck working in it, by plowing or doing (last years) financials. Year, after year, after year. The rhetorical question every one needs to ask themselves is “If, as the owner, I don’t have time to work on the business, who is?!”
If there’s one common denominator I notice that cuts across contractors, retailers, and even Green Industry distributors, it’s in this seasonal industry people work way too much in, and way too little on, their business. I’ve heard, and will continue to hear, every justification on why it’s virtually impossible for these business owners to extrapolate themselves from this vicious cycle. “I don’t have the money to pay someone else, you can’t find good help these days, nobody can do it the way I want it done so I just end up doing it myself.” And year, after year, after year, the same scenario persists; owners stuck working in their businesses, not on them.
There was one question I asked myself, primarily in the formative years of Aquascape that freed me to work on, not in my business.Here’s the question all business owners need to ask themselves “Is this the job of a CEO?!” For example i asked myself early on should I be building ponds? No, I need a foreman for that i concluded. Paying bills? No way, I can’t even balance my personal checkbook; I need an office manager (who could also book all my design consultations too.) But is the job of a CEO to be designing and selling ponds? I need a pond salesman to do that I decided. And soon, and so on. Today I don’t work in the business, I work on it. Working on it,means working in it, to help others work on theirs. Hence the travel.
So now that the weathers warmed (please!) I’m busy working on all the new ideas, and opportunities, we have, which is the job, as I define it, for me, as Aquascape’s CEO. Only you can answer the question for yourself, and for your business, of “Is this the job of a CEO?” But know this, you’ll never have an Ed, or a Brian, or even a Colleen, if year after year, you’re the CEO who does everything…year, after year, after year.