By the time you receive this issue, the United States will have a new president. As I write this in October, however, I don’t have the benefit of knowing who it is. If you watched any of the televised party conventions, debates, interviews, or even turned on a radio or picked up a newspaper lately, you know the key word for the 2008 election is “change.” The candidate promising the most changes has undoubtedly won by now.
Like every U.S. resident, people in the landscape industry are hoping for a change for the better. The president of our publishing company, Mike Reilly, who has a much better head for business than I do, states confidently that he knows things will improve. When asked how he knows, he replies with great enthusiasm, “Because they always have!” He does make an excellent argument backed by scientific evidence. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every wave crest there is a trough. The question you must ask yourself is “how will I get through this trough?” Mike advises you must keep moving forward. “You can’t steer a ship that’s not moving,” to borrow one of his metaphors.
Should you use this time to explore new services in hydroseeding, site clearing, irrigation, or some other specialty? With new housing sales in a slump, is this the time for your operation to concentrate on makeovers or consider a maintenance division?
This November, as I’m blessed to attend a cruise in the Bahamas with the 12 finalists of our annual Landscaper of the Year contest, I will take advantage of our captive audience and explore how they are moving forward. We warn our landscapers in advance that we will host a roundtable discussion aboard the ship and pump them for ideas. We have already selected these finalists, and I can say with absolute conviction these are 12 companies that are moving forward even in these tough times. We figure a two-hour meeting is a small price for them to pay for a four-day cruise. Our magazine comes away with new ideas on how to better serve our readers, and hopefully everyone comes away a little more relaxed and tan.
Check your 2009 calendar and make a note in March to apply for our 2010 contest. Try your local Case dealer, www.casece.com, or www.totallandscapecare.net. I hope to see you on board in November 2009 and discuss how things are improving under the leadership of our new president. Just consider yourself forewarned – you owe us two hours of your cruise time.