Implementing Landscape Software

Implementing Landscape Software

What does it take to implement Landscape Design or Landscape Business Systems in the “Off” Season?

by Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE Software

Well, let me start off by saying in my 15+ years in this business I have yet to experience an offseason. It’s more transitioning from one season to the next. Debriefing on our performance of the last one and planning for the next. Where does this leave you if you want to implement a software system that will inherently improve the way you do business? Well, let’s just say it’s going to add a layer of complexity to your planning for the upcoming season. It involves a predefined strategy and set of tactics that will ensure success.

Implementing Landscape Design Software

One of the questions I most often get about our landscape design software, DS|Design, is “what’s the learning curve?”. While the answer is hugely subjective, it does really depend on you. If you’re finally making the transition away from hand-drawing then I’d advise you earmark the better part of 4-6 weeks reviewing videos, signing up for online training, and studying the resources we have available. This will get you to the point of understanding the fundamentals, having good proficiency with the tool sets and enough practice under your belt that you’ll have confidence to start cranking out design projects with pride.

Start by reviewing our training videos. These will get you going very quickly. There’s approx. 4hrs worth of videos with each one being 4-5 minutes in length. Very bite size. We also have a quick start guide. Definitely use this, it’ll help orient you to the application. But what it really comes down to is your commitment to learning how the software works. If you commit the time it will absolutely come back to you in spades.

Implementing a landscape business operating system

This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your landscape business. What software solution will you place your trust in to help you manage the day-to-day operations is a complex decision. A decision that you shouldn’t take very lightly. Here’s a few tips for engaging in some due diligence:

  1. Create a list of functions that are absolute deal breakers for you if the software you’re looking at doesn’t have them.
  2. Take stock of what you like and dislike about your current workflows. See how the prospective new software will help improve what you’re doing now.
  3. Make sure everyone who needs to be part of the process is involved. The owner(s), managers, supervisors, office staff buy-in is critical to this process.
  4. Don’t just learn about the functionality of the prospective software, find out about how the software company approaches implementation and training. Understand how you will be supported following the implementation.
  5. Get referrals from the prospective software company. A good referral isn’t just a lot of praise, it’s getting real about the highlights and the lowlights of the software and the software company.

Once you’ve made your decision, act fast. It’s better to just rip the band-aid clean off then letting the decision weigh on you for weeks or months. Here are a few tips to help make sure your implementation is successful:

  1. Have the right people in the room for the appropriate training sessions. Appoint a point person.
  2. Start gathering data (financials, overhead line items, sales projections, workflows, production rates, material lists, plant lists, labor rates, equipment costs…etc).
  3. Think about any customizations that you would like that would be specific to you.
  4. Work with your implementation and training specialist to set out a realistic schedule helping you get your new system setup
  5. Regular communication and feedback between your team and the implementation and training specialist. Involve a product manager or account manager when needed.
  6. Keep an open mind through the process.
  7. Stay connected to the software company, make sure everyone on your team is getting release notes and other important information about the new system you have in place.

We truly live and breathe this stuff everyday. We love it when you are in the process of doing your due diligence. Not every system out there is right for everyone. Do what you can now to do make sure you have checked off every box on your list. You’re investing in operating system for your landscape business. We want to make sure you’re investing with us, check out DynaSCAPE Manage360!

Strategic Financial Leadership Webinar Series

Strategic Financial Leadership Webinar Series

Our host, Steve Coughran from the Coltivar Group, offers some interesting insight into what you’ll get from this incredible FREE 3-part webinar series!

In this collaboration between DynaSCAPE Software and the Coltivar Group, we will unpack some timely and very relevant topics through this completely free webinar series. Landscape industry consultant and financial expert, Steve Coughran, and Joe Salemi, DynaSCAPE’s Product Marketing Manager will bring some of the most pertinent business information to you. It’s our way of bringing you the best in landscape business information.

STRATEGIC FINANCIAL LEADERSHIP WEBINAR SERIES is approved for Landscape Industry Certified recertification at 1 CEU per hour of instruction attended. For more information on the National Association of Landscape Professionals recertification, please visit the NALP Recertification Center at landscapeprofessionals.org.

Part 1: Emerging Technologies in the Landscape Industry

What you need to know to thrive!

September 7, 2017 | 1:30 PM EST

The landscape industry is struggling with labor shortages, rising costs, increased competition, and changing customer preferences.  However, companies are trying to solve new problems with old strategies.  Learn how selecting a strong strategy and incorporating the right technology can improve productivity, employee retention, cash flow, and overall customer experience.

Part 2: Financial Principles Landscape Companies Must Know to Boost Cash Flow

September 14, 2017 | 1:30 PM EST

70 percent of companies that go bankrupt are profitable when they close their doors. Surprised?? This is due to the fact that companies neglect key financial principles such as forecasting, pricing, cash flow management, and financial statement analysis.  In this webinar, we will discuss the 4 levers that help boost profitability, cash flow management, building a financial dashboard, and the 3 financial statements you must review.

Part 3: Strategies to Survive the Cyclical Nature of the Landscape Industry

September 21, 2017 | 1:30 PM EST

The landscape industry can be wildly unpredictable and cyclical in nature. This webinar will discuss methods for evaluating the economic market, customer preferences, and cash flow requirements for off-season operations.  We will also examine how companies can improve their competitive advantage through a more lean, agile operating model commingled with the right technology.

About our host

Steve Coughran

Steve Coughran

Founding Director, Coltivar Group

Steve Coughran is Founder and Director of Strategy at the Coltivar Group, a keynote speaker for national associations and universities, and author of Delivering Value. In his position at Coltivar Group, Steve helps clients on a broad range of issues including strategy, organizational structure, financial management, and operational effectiveness.

At the University of Denver, Steve teaches a course entitled “Strategic Financial Leadership” which combines his research and real world consulting experience to create an effective learning environment for students.

As an entrepreneur, Steve has launched award-winning firms in the construction industry. He remains active in the community and has served on the Associate Council of the AGC, State Board of Directors for the green industry, as an active member of CAMPC, and as a leader in Impact Denver.  He applies his industry experience and financial acumen gained from working with million and billion dollar firms at Ernst & Young to help companies capitalize on their strengths and create superior value by performing activities in a unique way.

Steve is a CPA and earned his M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University where he studied abroad in China, Chile, India, and Germany. Steve graduated with his M.S. in accountancy from the University of Denver. He advanced his specialization in strategy through study at the Executive Education Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Areas of expertise:

  • Innovative strategy design and implementation
  • Strategic financial leadership
  • Financial management and business valuation
  • Customer experience strategy
  • Pricing and estimating strategies
  • Competing on business analytics

Thank you to our promotional partners!

What It Really Takes to Crush It

What It Really Takes to Crush It

Successful landscape business leaders seem to have things come easy to them. That’s not anywhere near what’s true. They have sacrificed, they have put in the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears.

I see tons of blog posts about the top 5 or 10 things that successful leaders do or the top things you have to do be successful and honestly a lot of them are fluff. So I started thinking about what the very successful landscape business owners that I know do on a regular basis to be able to perform the way they do for a sustained period of time. There’s lots of commonalities.

Here’s what the successful landscape business leaders we know do to crush it!

  1. Be relentless when it comes to sticking to your vision.
  2. Don’t ever compromise on the quality of your work.
  3. Be present with your family and friends.
  4. Make time for you to recharge your batteries.
  5. Pay attention to your numbers, know them and know what they mean.
  6. Be involved with your team, know their struggles and celebrate their wins.
  7. Adopt a community project and rally your team around making a significant contribution to the place where you live and work.
  8. Deal with the issues as they arise. Be swift and fair.
  9. Embrace the awkward or difficult conversations. Be great at them.
  10. Focus your business on your core strengths. Be the best at what you do.
  11. Leaders provide the scaffolding around their team. Let your team know that you’re there for them when times are tough.
  12. Have an unquenchable thirst for information. Consume podcasts and audiobooks. For a leader that’s always on the go the easiest way to stay on top of your learning goals is to listen while in your truck. Sync your podcasts and audiobooks to your phone and listen through your speakers as you go from one stop to the next.
  13. Be involved in your local and national trade associations. These associations represent your best interests and the only way they can know what you need is if you tell them. Plus their education and networking opportunities tend to be very good.
  14. Participate in an industry peer group. Many prominent landscape industry consultants run peer groups. They meet fairly regularly and hold you accountable for goals that you have indicated that you want to achieve. You can benchmark your company’s performance metrics to see how you’re doing in comparison.

There are lots of ways to improve what you do and how your landscape business operates and I could probably continue to list dozens more ways to stay at the top of your game, but really as long as you  remember who the most important person is at your company you’ll crush it.

The customer.

2017 APLD Conference Recap

2017 APLD Conference Recap

“APLD is about people joining people!” Here’s a recap of the 2017 International Landscape Design Conference in Boston, MA!

Association of Professional Landscape DesignersBy Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE Software, APLD Member and Sponsor, and APLD Board of Directors

As a landscape designer or a business owner that has landscape designers on staff, if you haven’t been to an APLD conference you’re doing yourself a serious injustice. The 2017 International Landscape Design Conference was in Boston this past July. A few hundred landscape designers arrived in Boston eager to hear from some pretty incredible speakers on VERY relevant and timely topics and tours of private gardens only available through the APLD conference.

In her closing address to conference attendees APLD’s President, Lisa Port (by way of Seattle, WA) said “APLD is about people joining people.” There is no truer statement. APLD as an organization started because people felt like there wasn’t any other group that best represented their interests. It grew with more people. More people joined because they believed in what their peers were doing.

If you haven’t ever been to one of APLD’s landscape design conferences, here’s what you have missed:

  • meeting some of the most influential landscape designers in the profession
  • listening to some of the most engaging and dynamic speakers unpack uber valuable content specifically for landscape design
  • seeing and experiencing some of the most amazing private gardens

This year in Boston, speakers were incredible, the networking opportunities were out of this world, and the private gardens were what landscape designers dreams are made of. It’s always fun going to the New England area, and who doesn’t love going to Boston? The food scene in Boston is off the charts! The local organizing committee did an outstanding job selecting the private gardens we would be seeing.

The format of the conference goes something like this:

  • Pre-conference tour/activities and reception with sponsors and delegates on Thursday
  • Full conference with keynote speaker and educational sessions (lots of CEU’s!) on Friday
  • More keynote speakers and garden visits on Saturday
  • Full day of garden visits on Sunday
  • Post conference tour on Monday

Save the date for next year, the APLD conference is coming to Toronto, Ontario Canada! September 13 – 17, 2018!! 

 

Here is a little photo gallery of some the experiences I had during the conference!

About APLD

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers is dedicated to advancing the profession of landscape design and to promoting the recognition of landscape designers as qualified and dedicated professionals. Members receive a myriad of benefits and opportunities that support that core mission. Through volunteer efforts by those who are committed to its growth, APLD includes members throughout the United States who support multiple state chapters as well as individual international members. The association’s day-to-day management is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA.

 

DynaSCAPE is proud to be APLD’s Gold Sponsor!

Huggers and why you need them!

Huggers and why you need them!

Huggers: why you need them!

Regardless of the size of your landscape company, there is someone responsible for making sure you get new business (hunter) but do you have someone (could be the same person) responsible for making sure your customers are being taken care of (hugger). Who does the hunting and hugging in your landscape business? It’s a no-brainer that you need to have a sales person or several of them. This is generally the owner in cases with smaller companies. In larger companies, dedicated sales people are critical to the future success of the business.

Do you have account managers (huggers)? The hugger works directly with your clients to ensure your standards are maintained and that each project receives the attention it deserves for each and every job. This role demands interaction with a wide range of people and has a broad skill set, which means it’s not the right role for everyone. If at any point in time clients have a question about a project, they will go through the account manager to find their answer. It’s important for every landscape company to place a high degree of importance on the creation and maintenance of professional client relationships.

 

Here are 5 ways that significantly contribute to a better overall customer experience:

  1. Listening to each client to gain understanding of their individual needs during and after their project build
  2. Managing customer expectations along each step of the way
  3. Communicating with the team and discussing the direction or their involvement as required
  4. Resolving disruptions quickly in order to win their repeat business – pretty much the person that is empowered to put out the fires
  5. Participate in generating new business – existing clients are an incredible source of business. Think maintenance after a new build or enhancement project, think spring and fall cleans, think snow (if you do that). This is the “would you like fries with that” approach!