Leading your business through the pandemic Email
Written by Paige Kelly   
Tuesday, April 07, 2020 05:00 AM

business strategyLast Friday, April 3, Lawn & Landscape held a webinar on COVID-19 in the green industry, moderated by editor Brian Horn. The panel of columnists Jim Huston, Ed Laflamme, and Bruce Wilson discussed how to operate a successful green industry business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics included communications, managing customers who canceled services, and growth opportunities. We found five key takeaways from that discussion.

A central theme became apparent: maintain a positive business attitude. In order to succeed in this uncertain time, a leader must focus on solutions to move forward and to adapt as quickly as possible. Simply put, "positive mindset, positive results." It is important to keep your language positive. What you say does matter and affects how you and your team will address challenges.

Preserve your company culture through communication. One recommendation was to schedule video meetings with your team twice a day. During these touchpoints make sure to go over the proper CDC and OSHA standards, like social distancing. Address COVID-19 safety concerns that arise in the field and come up with solutions as a team.

Network with your fellow green industry professionals, customers, and business contacts. Connect on social media, by phone and email, and attend virtual meetings. Networking opens the door to build strong business relationships that will have a lasting effect after this crisis.

Focus on your marketing effort and online presence. As you reassess your business, it can be difficult to determine how to manage spending. Do not undervalue the importance of marketing. Reach out to customers and ramp up your online outreach. Although customers may not be needing services now, keep in mind, this pandemic will pass, and you want your company to be memorable. For existing customers who have had to cancel their services, offer tips and tricks on how they can maintain their landscape until they can resume services. For those customers that still have services scheduled, inform them of safety precautions you are taking during the outbreak. Use social media to reach out to the public and inform them of what essential services your business is conducting during COVID-19.

Create short-term and long-term business plans. Make multiple plans for various scenarios for the next 90 days to six months. Gather objective data to determine the direction of your business and potential growth opportunities. Think about what your customers and community need and adapt your business. For example, some companies have found new opportunities providing sterilization services for parks and businesses. Based on your business plans, you may need to continue to conduct virtual interviews to address potential or current staffing needs.

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.” You will get through this crisis, and we are all in this together.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Worksite safety is more important than ever
FFCRA: tax credits, paid sick leave, economic injury disaster loans, and more
CARES Act resources for businesses
Landscape companies adapt amid the COVID-19 pandemic