Five Ways to Manage Your Time

Five Ways to Manage Your Time

Feeling overwhelmed as Spring comes in like a lion?

It’s that time of year in most parts of the country where Spring has sprung and operations are either ramping up or full on into the craziness. Managing your time is the one thing that will help you keep some of that sanity through the next 90 (or so) days. We have some tips on how to make sure you’re spending your time in the most effective way possible.

During a period of increased demand for your time from others it’s often difficult to focus on your own work. This is where it is more important than ever to protect your time, your schedule with everything you have. We get pretty upset when people take things from us, right? How come it’s okay for people to take our time? It’s not okay, it’s not right for others to come in and demand your instant attention.

Here are some ways to help you manage the most precious asset you could ever have, your time:

  1. Screen your phone calls – CallerID is pretty prevalent these days, right? Well, use it to your advantage. When you’re in focused work, make use of this valuable feature of your phone service. If you feel like you need to answer every call, it’s also okay to say that you need to call them back.
  2. Block out your important time – make active use of your calendar here. Whether you use Google Calendar, Outlook, or whatever other tool you might use definitely spend some time at the beginning of your week to plan out your days. Earmark time for the important things you need to do and make it known that you’re not available during that time.
  3. Set expectations with those around you – make sure that your staff are ultra sensitive to the fact that your time is important by letting them know when you are and are not available. Over time, you’ll train your staff to know when is appropriate to ask for your time.
  4. Practice what you preach – if you’re asking others to respect your time, you should reciprocate. By showing others respect for their time, they will inevitably respect yours.
  5. Have the right meetings at the right time – how many times do you find yourself in a meeting that takes 4x as long as it should or you’re in a meeting that could have been done by phone or answered through an email (or text). Have regular meetings with your core team to make sure everyone is on the same page, everyone has an opportunity to raise any red flags, and to provide clear instruction and direction.

The important thing here out of all of this is to make sure you have the tools you need to help manage your time. DynaSCAPE is the landscape business software solution of choice for hundreds of landscape professionals in North America offering incredible efficiencies through automation of tedious tasks. Check out DynaSCAPE Manage360 for your landscape business operating system!

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!

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.

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!

 

Frustrated With Your Systems

Frustrated With Your Systems

Frustrated Landscape Contractor

May 2017 — The landscape season is in full boom mode all over North America. You’ve planned for this. You spent the latter part of last year and the early part of this year getting ready for it. What you have planned for is here upon you and your team, working the plan and striving to achieve the goals you put in place.

We’ve been fielding lots of phone calls and emails from landscape professionals like you that are in full operation of their season but have found quickly that there are some significant pain points with the design and business systems that they have in place. Some of the common pains we have heard about are:

  • Leads are falling through the cracks
  • It takes too long to do take offs from the design so the estimator can do their work
  • Working from a generic estimating system that their shoe-horning for landscape construction jobs and maintenance services
  • Estimating based on a gut feeling or experience
  • Not any real systems in place
  • Many software applications in place that don’t speak to each other contributing to disjointed operations
  • No mechanism in place to track actual costs of doing the job

This is really where DynaSCAPE comes in. We have been helping these landscape professionals by expediting the setup of their systems, getting them enrolled in our training sessions, and outfitting them the software solutions that are right for them. Alleviating frustrations in the way you manage your back office everyday is a core strength of our implementation and training specialists. It’s at the foundational level that our software solutions are based on.

Our team here at DynaSCAPE is ready to assist you in working through some of the most difficult time of the year to help you run a efficient, effective, and profitable operation.

If any of this sounds remotely familiar, let us know. The DynaSCAPE team is ready to help!

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Stick to your core values

Stick to your core values

dfm_corevalues

Sticking to your core values is what makes you great, regardless of what your competition is doing. Far too often we worry about what others are doing and it causes us to veer away from our original plan. Sure, we need to be keenly aware of our surroundings and what is happening around us but my point is don’t let it take you off your course.

DynaSCAPE is laser focused on our core values:

  • An unwavering attention to detail
  • An unrelenting demand for quality
  • Over the top delivery
  • And, superior customer service

In your landscape business, do you have someone that is responsible for quality? Sure, you’d expect everyone in the company to maintain a certain level of quality. But who is your quality driver? Someone that will stand on a table and throw a chair across the room because the expectation is not being met. Someone who so passionate about the highest level of quality that they will make everything else grind to a halt until every effort is made to achieve their quality expectation.

I agree, there’s a risk/reward discussion that must take place when implementing something like this, but if it becomes part of your culture then everyone becomes your driver for quality. They’ll call out other team members when they’ve cut a corner or got lazy for a moment. The result is a reputation in your community that is so admirable and respectable that you’ll be booking work a season or two ahead. The result is a culture within your company that is so attractive to those who don’t work for you that you’ll always have a pile of resumes to draw from. The result is a community who follows what you do and is proud of the work you do.

Be so focused on your core values that you won’t let anyone get in the way of them.