Every business wants to grow. But without the proper infrastructure in place, growth can become problematic. Brett Lemcke, vice president of R.M. Landscape Inc., says that a strong emphasis on sales rapidly grew the Hilton, New York-based business. But without the operations to support that growth, the company began to fall short. Handling it like a boss meant going back to the basics—and admitting he needed to.
“We always figured when the sales came, then we would put the operations in place,” Lemcke explains. “That served us fine in the $2 to $5 million stage, but as we grew beyond that it became clear our operations needed to be stronger to keep moving forward. We were struggling in areas that should have been conquered a long time ago, like basic training, bringing in staff and sequencing of services.”
Turning to industry coaches and consultants for help, Lemcke identified problems and began building a better support system to appropriately scale the business with his growth. That included developing a visible organizational chart and building a solid management team to support current and future growth.
“I believe in business coaches and consultants,” Lemcke says. “We have been working with two, and that has been a relatively new concept for us. But I enjoy the council of industry experts, and their experiences and knowledge have helped us push through challenges faster than we would have on our own.”
Lemcke says that going back to the basics has also meant “talking more.” He admits they should have been doing it from the start, but it’s making a difference now.
“We’re communicating our goals, our metrics, the result and, of course, corrections needed throughout the year,” Lemcke says. “I am enjoying listening to our team and our consultants. There is a lot of good information coming from our meetings and the results show that what we are doing is working. Because we are managing our business better, it has allowed us to take on more.”
The company, which does a solid mix of landscape management, development and snow for a 70 percent commercial base, is working toward Lemcke’s goal of building a regional presence. They’ve grown to the $6 to $7 million range in revenue.
“I’d really like to see us overcome these fundamental issues we’ve struggled with so that we can focus on driving the business forward,” he says. “With the efforts we’ve already put into place, I am confident that we will.”
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Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them.