Every year, U.S. Lawns President Ken Hutcheson delivers an impactful keynote speech at our Annual Conference. It’s one of our most popular sessions, inspiring the crowd and setting the tone for our future. We’re excited to move forward in a bold direction, to become a true industry leader.
Where Are We Going?
So, what is our direction? According to Ken, there’s no change from the last few years. We’re still focused on the Service Revolution and changing the green industry through radical personalization. Our goals include 100% Customer Satisfaction and Being the Best Place to Work. But if our goal is growth (becoming an industry leader), we need to talk about what that looks like. What does a growing business need to do from day to day?
Ken spoke in his keynote about three principles he wanted to guide us as we grow: Inspiration, Operation, and Finance. Let’s talk about each of these, and what they mean on a practical level.
Ken told a story about Apple Computers, one of the most famous and transformational brands of our time. Everyone knows that this is due largely to the presence of Steve Jobs, the CEO whose vision propelled Apple from a parts manufacturer in the 1980s to the leading mobile technology company in the world. Jobs was Apple’s “inspiration” guy. He was important because every business needs vision. At U.S. Lawns, our visions are things like Radical Personalization, The Service Revolution, 100% Client Satisfaction, Being The Best Place to Work. We must remind ourselves of them every day.
But inspiration alone can’t turn a profit. Steve Jobs could not have successfully run Apple by himself (and in fact, the company fired him briefly in the 1990s). From the outset, Jobs had a business partner named Steve Wozniak, an engineer from UC Berkeley. Although he’s not as famous as Jobs, Steve Wozniak made more money at Apple. He illustrates the importance of the second principle: Operations.
We talk a lot about visionary concepts at U.S. Lawns. But we also talk about operational tools for your franchise. Systems and processes create success, in a way that ideas never can. As the year progresses, our Home Office team will continue refining and producing products that enhance your Operations. The more you use those tools—and train your employees to use them—the more profitable you’ll become.
Every startup needs investors. Apple found Mike Markkula, a multi-millionaire who took the company public in 1976. Markkula represents the Finance component of business growth. We all need a healthy cash flow to keep our business in order. At the end of the day, we are of course in business. You may have great ideas or be good at running a company, but the true test of success is your bottom line.
At the Annual Conference, we hosted a Finance Boot Camp before the main session. Attendees ranged from new franchisees to veterans. Getting your books in order is that important. We’re going to talk about finances more this year, and we encourage you to speak about profitability with your employees.
Ultimately, we are here to grow. It’s our mission to become the #1 commercial grounds care provider in the marketplace. And we still believe that’s possible. You bring a uniquely valued level of service to our clients, as neighbors and community leaders. No other grounds care company can offer a radically personal experience, backed by the vision/operations/finance of a national company. So, let’s charge ahead in the coming year. Keep those three principles in mind, and stay focused on the prize. Can you imagine U.S. Lawns becoming as successful as Apple? We think anything’s possible.