Ken Hutcheson’s Reflections for a New Year
January 04, 2017
While 2016 has been memorable for many reasons, for U.S. Lawns, the year has been an especially gratifying tribute to our fundamental basis for doing business: Improving lives and improving communities.
Making History As We Celebrate 30 Years
For the first time in U.S. Lawns’ history, we kicked off our annual conference in Orlando, Florida by teaming up and working as a family. On a Thursday morning in late July, the U.S. Lawns owners, managers, Home Office team members, and even some of our spouses and children banded together to make improvements to the grounds of a local Veterans shelter. It was the perfect way to commemorate an important milestone for U.S. Lawns: our 30th Anniversary.
Improving Communities While Resonating Across Boundaries
A moment which really captures the feel of the day happened while I was on my hands and knees spreading mulch. I looked up to see the son and daughter of a U.S. Lawns franchisee painting the pull-up bars on the playground. The recognition of just how many lives are influenced when we work in harmony towards the betterment of our community, struck a deep chord within me. And based on the stories told by so many others involved in the day’s activities, it was a rewarding experience for everyone there—one which resonated across every boundary.
More recently, it’s been so neat to see pictures and hear about the end of season celebrations held in our territories throughout the country. In alignment with U.S. Lawns principles, our franchise owners have been putting on their own “mini-conferences” so they can treat employees to a nice dinner, family entertainment and an awards ceremony to honor the achievements of their teams. It’s an uncommon pleasure to see on one side, what it means to employees to be openly appreciated for their hard work; and on the other side, to get a glimpse of the proud faces of their family members—that’s improving communities.
Here’s where we look at the business. System-wide sales are higher than they’ve ever been; our average net profit in the system is higher than it’s ever been. Although we’re accustomed to seeing year over year growth and increases in profitability, in 2016 it was dramatic. This is a direct result of helping franchise owners and Home Office Team members alike, in achieving goals.
We are also really excited about the foundation and groundwork we laid last year, with our “Six Systems” project. In a constant effort to adjust and stay relevant, we’ve organized our systems, tools, and processes into six distinct areas. We literally created the roadmap to take a territory from its inception on through maturity and beyond, based on the understanding that success comes from maintaining balance between the six areas. What a great reflection of improving lives.
2017 Goals & Initiatives
As we journey through 2017, we will continue to place emphasis on our initiative to be the best place to work. We’ll remain centered on recruiting the right franchisees and the right employees, along with a focus on training and retaining.
We will move forward with our Six Systems, and we will also concentrate more on identifying and bringing on the right customers.
We’ve laid a strong foundation and we’re well positioned to build upon it, continue our growth and success, and ultimately improve lives and communities even more than we already have.
Now is the time to be ALL IN.
If you still need a little confirmation we’re headed in the right direction, we recently heard an economist speak at a meeting we attended for landscaping professionals. The long and short of it is that he shared a positive outlook for our industry, predicting a really strong future for us as well as for our country.
So, there are no more excuses, now is the time. This is the year to invest in your business, and see a return. It’s time to apply your resources, your energy, your passion–It’s time to get off the fence and be ALL IN.