How to: Set yourself apart from the competition

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 11.42.25 AMIt’s hard to find stonework or water features that can compare to those of Bob Drost, owner of Drost Landscape Design, Construction and Maintenance in Petoskey, Michigan.

Even in an area surrounded by beautiful, natural bodies of water, his features are in high demand. He attributes the demand for ponds and other features, in part, to the sound and movement of water. “It’s just relaxing,” says Drost, “especially today, in a world that pulls you a hundred different directions every day.”

With more than three decades of experience under his belt, Drost has grown his business to more than $6 million in annual revenue. “It’s just a huge honor for me to be a part of such a neat industry,” he says.

In addition to an array of local awards, Drost is also a 2015 Landscaper of the Year Finalist. Here are his three secrets to success.

  1. Find a good team.

“Going all the way back to high school, I learned there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’” Drost says. “Surround yourself with people who are better than you, which is going to make you look better because they are so good at what they do. That’s true whether I’m talking about my own kids, foremen, people who work for me or people who taught me.”

He has close to 60 employees and 20 high school and college students who also work for him – that’s a lot of growth from the five employees he had when he started the company in 1991.

  1. Push yourself to be better.

As the saying goes, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” Drost especially knows that.

After finishing a retaining wall, he asked someone else to judge the work. “I knew it was good, but it could have been better,” Drost says. They told him he should redo part of it.

“I took it apart and put it back together,” he says. “It was fun to see someone else had that same drive for perfection that I had.”

Not only does he push himself, he also sees other landscapers who make him want to up his game. “It’s fun to see new people come in the industry, because they make you want to better yourself because they are doing a good job,” Drost says.

  1. Wow with water.

Probably the things he is best known for – and what sets him apart from the competition – are his water features.

“If I’m going to build it, it better look realistic – like it’s always been there,” he explains.

He’s up for any design challenge and constantly looks for ways to make his water features different. He also has a good team that helps with the creative process.

“I’ve been very fortunate to put a group of people together today who are out-of-the-box thinkers,” Drost says.

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