There are entire books about how to create a business plan.

Let’s face it, though — do any of us really have time to read them? Nope. Especially not when we’re getting ready for winter trade shows and the spring rush.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to read a business plan book or spend 20 hours writing out a plan in order to enjoy real growth in the direction you want to grow in 2020. All you need to do is spend some time evaluating three areas of your business and jotting notes for your 2020 plan of attack.

We call this the two-page business plan, and, if you actually do it and then stick to it, you’ll see real progress — more progress than if you get stuck trying to create a 20 page plan that you won’t actually use.

You’ll review your:

Pricing structure
Portfolio
Growth goals

Ready? Let’s go.


Pricing Structure Review

LandscapeHub buyers AND suppliers can both benefit from a review of pricing structures. Whether you’re selling services, plants, or hardscape materials, it’s worth spending some time to ensure you’re charging what you need and what the market will bear. It’s possible the answer is “yes, our prices are fine,” but you won’t know unless you ask these questions:

What’s my pricing model? Is it cost plus or value based? Cost plus works the best with large volume but you can leave money on the table with this structure if the market will bear a higher price. (When listing your materials on LandscapeHub, take care not to compete solely on price, and take into consider the different markets where plants are listed.)

Value based pricing is an excellent structure for service business, but you still need to ensure that you’re covering costs and have built in a percentage for profit.

When did I last raise prices and how did I do it? One way to raise prices is to introduce new items or services with a higher price point that render older items and services obsolete.

How has my business changed? Maybe you hired more staff, expanded your market, cut delivery time, changed the types of clients you work for, or improved your offerings, all of which could factor into price changes.

How do I feel when I’m doing certain types of work? This is a more touchy-feely question, and possibly more related to buyers than suppliers, but it’s worth asking. If you notice you’re doing work that you once loved, but is now irritating you, maybe it’s because you need to charge more for the service. For example, if you’re creating landscape designs at $1,500 each, and you find yourself overwhelmed and annoyed, that could be a sign that what you’re producing is worth more in the context of your business and your life, and you need to increase prices.

How’s your workload? Are you overwhelmed? If demand is greater than your supply (of time or product), time to institute an increase!

The end of the year is a natural time to send a new rate card or price increase. It’s also a great time to sell work in advance, giving people a chance to “lock in” 2019 prices if they book and pay part or all of the fee in advance.


Portfolio Review

If you’re a buyer on LandscapeHub, chances are that your portfolio showcases your designs. If you’re a supplier, you still have a portfolio: it’s just more of a catalog or pictures of the plants you sell.

Buyers, ask yourselves: Does my portfolio showcase the services I want to sell? For example, if you’ve pivoted toward container subscriptions but all of your photos are of large landscapes (or vice versa) it’s time for an overhaul.Does my portfolio have current pictures?  Are they colorful, high resolution, bright, inviting? Or are they obviously scans of old printed photos?

Suppliers, ask yourselves: Do your catalog or availability pictures showcase the sizes of plants you want to sell or are there images of sizes you no longer carry?Are the pictures in focus, brightly colored, and crisp?Do you have pictures taken at your location or are they obviously from a different source? (Showing some of your location helps build trust that what you’re selling actually comes from you.)If you only showcase some of the items you sell due to space constraints or costs, are you showcasing your high-value, or high-volume items?

In our industry, pictures do the talking far more than words, so make sure your pictures are working for you. If they’re not, update them.


Review of Growth Goals

Do you ever look around, think about your work, and say to yourself, “How did I get here?” You could be completely happy with the way your business has grown. Or, maybe, you feel like you want to be doing something else.

Whether you’re happy with how your business has evolved or you want to grow in a new direction, taking time to thoughtfully evaluate where you are, how you got there, and where you want to be next year or in five years will let you continue to stay on a personally and financially fulfilling path.

Ask yourself these questions:
For which products and services do I receive the most referrals?

Which products and services that I offer lead to the most repeat business?

Of the first two, which products and services do I most enjoy producing?

Which products and services that I enjoy producing have the highest ROI? (You’ll want to shift your sales focus to those — the ones you enjoy that actually make you money.)

Which products and services do I need to stop offering or producing? Which ones are high input and low reward?Which ones irritate you (and upping the price won’t help)? Which ones could be better offered by other providers?

Asking these questions will help you narrow your focus and deliver superior products and services. By focusing, you’ll become the “go to” provider for products and services that make you money and make you happy.

Rather than letting your business blow wherever the wind takes you, spend a few minutes charting your course for the year ahead. Then, in 2020, make sure your hand is on the wheel, guiding the ship on your intended path.