As we look ahead to another year, many folks are continuing to plan both from a budgeting and a forecasting perspective for their business in 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic still causing ripple effects that will impact business in the future, many landscape business owners are being prudent about planning.
Shawn Ryan, president of Environmental Designs in Henderson, CO, says that the pandemic hit his business with unexpected costs which he will also plan for in 2021. These include keeping up with a regular supply of masks, sanitizer, and disinfectant for all of the equipment and trucks. The company also
issued “Covid pay” to team members who unexpectedly had to go into quarantine—a cost they certainly hadn’t planned for in advance.
Ryan says that they’ll deal with the implications of those added—and continued—costs into 2021.
In looking to the future, Ryan has also had to address the uncertainty of specific markets. On the commercial side, Ryan is well-aware that spending in the retail and hospitality segments is going to be down—as these were some of the hardest hit markets.
“We’re focusing on replacing lost revenue while also changing our scope to be able to fit our clients’ current needs and demands,” Ryan says. “We’ll be looking to retain those clients through these tough times while also replacing some of that revenue in other areas.”
Using Landscape Business Software for Support
In these uncertain times, planning for the future may seem more difficult than ever. But landscape business owners like Ryan remain optimistic that 2021 will be a stronger year. At the very least, most business owners say they feel better prepared for what’s to come. The COVID-19 pandemic blindsided many.
Another tool that landscape business owners have been able to rely on in times of uncertainty has been a strong software system. With the right landscape business software, landscape business owners can have access to essential data which can support essential business decisions. Instead of feeling like you’re moving forward blindly, you’ll have a strong grasp on where numbers stand and what adjustments might need to be made.
Ryan says that using Asset to handle all aspects of budgeting and planning has been helpful. Though there’s no way to tell what the future holds, Ryan feels more secure working with all of the data at his fingertips. This allows him to make real-time quick decisions—or changes to the plan—and know exactly how it will impact business.
Making Educated Decisions
Jason New, an executive coach, speaker, and peer group facilitator with McFarlin Stanford, a management coaching and recruiting firm based in Dallas, says that paying attention to key metrics in these uncertain times can help landscape business owners make informed choices with industry benchmarks.
Include Software has made that easier than ever for Asset users with iKPI (Include Key Performance Indicator), a visual analysis tool that will help Asset users to derive all of the value that is tied up in their data and turn it into usable information with a set of dashboards. It will allow business owners to make those quick-but-educated decisions that have become more important than ever recently.
“Landscape business owners need to pay attention to how their services are distributed across markets right now when some markets are struggling,” New says. “Are they weighted too heavily in some areas and light in others? Where can changes be made? Owners should also look at labor including management and front-line team members. Do they have the support needed in the right places or do adjustments need to be made?
Peer Groups for Added Support
McFarlin Stanford is currently facilitating iCalibrate Peer Groups for Asset Users, which have been a powerful tool in helping landscape business owners make wise choices for 2021.
“We’re currently looking at how we can improve efficiencies and ensure we’re hiring and retaining the right team members,” New says. “We’re reworking organizational charts, tweaking financial plans, and making sure that we’re properly investing in the people that will move business forward.”
In times of uncertainty, participating in iCalibrate can be a lot like having a crystal ball as peer group members can talk about situations they’ve already been through and what moves made the most sense for them.
“Being in iCalibrate has been very beneficial in learning the best practices of my peers and how we can utilize Asset to the fullest extent,” Ryan says.
Going forward, New says that peer group members are leaning on one other as well as Asset in order to make the best decisions for a new year.
“It’s been a rocky year, but many landscape business owners have successfully shifted their focus or made changes that helped them weather this current economy,” New says. “As we look at 2021, landscape business owners will be looking for ways to maintain stability even in light of the challenges we’ve faced. With the right support in place, this is certainly possible.”