As the leaves begin to change and cooler weather sets in around the country, visits to your clients also begin to change. Seems like this could be a great time to sit back and enjoy all the hard work you and your team have put in during the busy half of the year in landscaping. However, don’t sit back and relax too long because while your clients may only need you on-site heavily during the busy season . . . your business needs your focus year-round. There are many vital and important ways you can focus your time in the coming months to ensure that you position yourself and your company well for 2022.
1: Taking Inventory
We traditionally think of the word “inventory” as the physical items we have in our possession. This often consists of products, equipment, staff, and vehicles. And yes, it is crucial for every business to routinely check on your physical inventory. Definitely this is the time to make sure you know what you have on hand and determine what you might need to purchase as you look ahead to the next busy season. However, “taking inventory” of your company can also be much more expansive of an idea than just counting how many pieces of equipment made it through the season without needing to be replaced. It is important for any business to take their own inventory on variables such as:
- What worked and what didn’t work in 2021?
- How accurately are your records are being kept?
- How promptly bills are being paid?
- How well are employees managing assigned tasks?
- Are there any resources that can help my business be more efficient for next season?
- Does my team need additional training?
“Taking your own inventory” on these and other items can keep your business properly on track. When taking your own inventory make sure to be honest and reflective. Remember: You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge! Make sure to also follow up this process by developing a plan moving forward for 2022 based off the data and outcomes of your analysis.
2: Staying on Top of Trends
Another smart use of your time in the coming months is to outline goals and plans to stay in line with trends you noticed within your customer base in the season just ending. Looking back did a lot of customers request installation of lighting or new products? Did regular lawn maintenance customers request additional mosquito control products be added to their services, or were customers looking to use new technologies in their sprinkler systems for better watering schedules and increased contactless approaches?
Take the time to evaluate what you saw this past year and use that information to create a plan on how you and your team can best utilize the time during the off season to address these trends. Think about expanding your employee training so you can add additional services to the ones you already provide. Create a marketing approach to target customers for these new services and trends that you saw emerging this year and are preparing to learn more about through training. Use this off-season time to become the expert in your area, as an emerging trend from this past year will likely be a hot topic in 2022!
3: Administrative Planning
It is crucial for businesses of any size to use their quieter periods during the year to do administrative tasks. Check in with your employees. See how they feel the busy season went, and if they have any feedback they didn’t have time to share with you when they were on job sites all day. Consider this as the time of year to do employee reviews, or to conduct interviews for new hires.
Remember, it is helpful on an annual basis to always:
- Ensure all team members understand their roles and discuss with them what they do well/what they can improve
- Discuss start times, schedules, and tasks to make sure you are using the most efficient systems to address clients and projects when they arise
- Offer raises, bonuses, or additional compensations for your team as a thank you for a long and hard-working season
- Get your staff together for a debriefing meeting (whether in-person, outside, or virtual) since many of them likely don’t have a lot of opportunity during the busy season to all be in the same place at the same time
4: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Supply chain issues which plagued our industry in 2021 will likely continue to be a major disruptor in 2022 as well. Shipping/trucking delays are continuing at staggering rates, workforce shortages continue, and this can lead to increased costs at all levels. One of the most money saving ways you can prepare for these ongoing supply chain disruptions is to take advantage of an Early Order Program. Planning your purchases can help you save money on your bottom line but more importantly, with supply chain challenges, you can guarantee you have the product you need, when you need it. Take a look at how an Early Order Program can help you stay ahead of the competition and take your business to the next level of success:
Beat the manufacturer’s price increases. Stay ahead of the increases and lock in your material costs now, before the prices go up. Connect with your local Central rep to learn how you can take advantage of additional cash discounts, double reward points, and extended terms.
Increase Cash Flow: Get Product Now, Pay Later. When you take advantage of an Early Order Program, you get the products you need to finish your job now and stock up that you will need—and pay for it later in the season when cash is flowing better for your business.
Easy Inventory Management. Whether you’re installing a new irrigation system, adding landscape lighting to a job, or getting ready for spring—you need product. When you don’t have the materials you need to do the job, work can be delayed, or worse yet—stopped. Nothing is worse than having to wait for materials to finish a job. Central can help you forecast your inventory levels based on your historical purchases, so that you have the right quantity of the products you need.
Central has three Early Order Programs you can take advantage of this month! Ask your Central rep how you can take advantage of these beneficial discounts and extended terms, so you can get prepared.
Rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about marketing strategy, strategic purchasing, training, or business planning. Central is the right partner for your business. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow