It is something that every business owner will need to think about. Who will run your business if you can’t? What would happen if you were incapacitated and not be able to take care of the day to day operations? How long do you think your business could operate without you at the helm? These questions may sound grave and alarming, but the reality is that “someday” you may want to step back from the day to day, have a proper vacation (without your cell phone and miss 2 payroll periods) or even want to retire. So what’s next?

Over the last 10 years, Gelderman Landscape Services has been intentional in creating a well-oiled machine/organization. An organization that is established, with a proven track record of success. This well-oiled machine has a business plan in place, staff members that know what is expected of them, has consistent cash flow, an established customer base, has excellent partner contractors, good relationships with bankers and vendors and perhaps most importantly, the potential for growth.

Note: The strategies listed below do not come out of a textbook or from some website. They are proven as I recently took a 6.5 week vacation from May 25 – July 9th and am proud to say that Gelderman Landscape Services performed at a very high level while I was away. My staff went above and beyond, and I am extremely blessed!


Here are the Five strategies that allowed me to be away for 6.5 Weeks:

1) Extreme focus on People & Culture
a) Hire the right person for the role – use Culture Index (assessments) to create
a job / role specific profile match
b) Create Success Profiles for each role within the company that clearly defines
what success is for that position
i) Continually increase expectations of individuals and their responsibilities
c) Ensure that the right person is in the right seat doing the right thing
d) Don’t be afraid of parting ways with staff that don’t have the capacity to grow
e) Trust your staff!
i)   Ensure that your staff know that you trust them
ii)  Empower your staff to make the right decision and have an “owner
iii) Ensure that your staff know that if they falter, that they will have your
support (regardless of the distance)
iv) Avoid micromanaging
f) Implement a management team that works together, respects each other,
and takes responsibility for the company as a whole
g) Look after your people – pay above the market
h) Have fun – celebrate successes along the way (BBQ’s, snacks etc.)

2. Systemize your Company
a) Have simple clearly defined processes and procedures that can be repeated
b) Continue to create Standard Operating Procedures for each position. Start
with Sales and Finance
c) Invest in the right technology and equipment. Continue to upgrade and try
new brands
d) Delegate non-essential tasks to others. As the Owner, what tasks should you
not be doing?

3. Learn from your mistakes
a) Allow the team to make mistakes and learn from them
b) Ensure that you fully understand what the mistakes are, get to the root
cause, don’t just treat the symptom
c) Don’t dwell on past errors, move on. I personally made a $60,000 mistake in
my 1st year of being the President.
d) Make the hard decisions. Yes, the tough ones. Don’t procrastinate and think
that the problem will go away on their own. They don’t.








4. Double down on your Finances
a) Develop and weekly monitoring of Dashboard/KPI’s – focusing on leading
b) Make smart, quick and tough decisions when needed (don’t wait when a KPI
is off track)
c) Always be looking to improve – don’t settle
d) Ensure pricing rates are “close to the market”, increase them regularly
e) Ensure monthly financials are accurate and timely
f) Always know why you are making or losing money


5. “Be the Dumbest person in the room”
a) Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself!
b) Six years ago, I joined TEC (The Executive Committee).  I meet with 14
other business owners once per month. This organization has been
transformational for me.
c) Hire a Coach that will challenge your assumptions & be open to change & new ideas

Staying focused on the goal is difficult.  Let’s do it together!