Dec. 9 2011 05:07 PM

In recent months, we’ve seen huge green industry companies selling off unprofitable divisions and one of the biggest landscape management companies in the country go belly up. Some people, and I’m sure all of those in these companies, blame it on the economy. Others could blame it on poor management or mismanagement.

Take a look at your company and compare 2011 to previous years. Did you make a profit this year? How was the volume of business compared to previous years? Did your income go down? Did you lose a bunch of work, income and profits? How does your personal income compare to other years?

If these companies were smack-dab in the middle of Detroit, I would totally understand blaming their poor performance and profit loss on the economy, but typically, that’s not the case. Just take a drive through your county or state, and look at everything that needs improvement. Trees and palms need pruning, insects need to be controlled in turf and shrubs, and irrigation systems that don’t work and are in need of repair. Dead plants have to be replaced, crumbling driveways need pavers, moldy sidewalks need to be pressure-washed. I’ve seen parking lots that need new striping, lakes and ponds full of algae and weeds, snow that needs removing and holiday lights that need to be put up. Do you have the ability and the certifications to do this work? Should you be getting the credentials to do it, or have you taken the “woe is me” attitude?

Yes, times are tough and who knows when things will get better. But are you managing or mismanaging your business? As a financial and operations business consultant to our great profession, the signs of failure of a business demonstrate very little financial information to analyze and manage by. There are usually no set of objectives for achievement. By not being proactive to various company events, with no specific direction to employees, and no field service reports to determine production, profits and accomplishment, the writing is on the wall.

Be proactive by building relationships with your best customers, not over-buying equipment, regularly scheduling preventative maintenance on equipment, good job scheduling, etc.—basically, having S.O.D. in your business. Structure, Organization Discipline—in other words, managing your business.

Do you have S.O.D. in your company? If not, Santa will not be visiting your business this year! Call me. I can help.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bill Phagan is president of Green Industry Consulting, Inc., and can be reached at 813-310-1108 or e-mail to or his website at