There's always time for tea

Good advice for everyone, including Landscape Designers

“Annotated” Words of Wisdom from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine Feb 2016 

The article was about enterpreneurs.  It's headline was:

"HINDSIGHT IS 20/20.  Here’s what successful start-ups wish they had known."
1. It gets lonely – not just working by yourself, but making decisions alone.

So make sure you cherish your network of friends and colleagues and meet up with them in person regularly.  It can be at the Mamaroneck Public Library for a coffee break during the work day, lunch, or a visit to a public garden on the weekend.  Don’t hesitate to share designs, problems and ideas – its not a competition.  Designs are better when they’re talked through – show someone else the design or meet them at the site and brainstorm over the latte that you bring them.  Also make sure you take the time to talk to the people at the nurseries.  Ask about new plants, their favorite plants, why they like a certain cultivar, what they know about a tree, how the growing season has been affected by the weather – just make a connection. 

2. You wear lots of hats – customer service, accounting, marketing, production, PR – it’s all up to you.

But of course you can’t really do it all, so you’ll probably outsource.  You may be able to barter if you’re a fairly small operation – trade planting seasonal containers for a tutorial in Quickbooks.  The only thing you can be is yourself – if you play to your strengths you’ll be the most effective and the least frustrated.

3. Don’t compare – every business grows differently.  Try not to compare yourself with others.

…When you look at other people’s beautiful pictures or visit award-winning landscapes, appreciate the talent and creativity and find out what plants they used and why, what their inspiration was.  Don’t be jealous, and don’t despair.

4. Hire slow, fire fast – the people you work with are an extension of your brand.  Make sure they’re good at it.

This is especially true about the contractors you use.  Its not worth hitching your wagon to someone who doesn’t share your standards or doesn’t know what they’re doing.  Cutting corners really doesn’t work in the long run.

5. Be patient – overnight sensations are the exceptions, not the rule.  Persistence, hard work and believing in what you do pay off in the long run.

And I would add to that, being good at what you do will pay off in the long run.  That means never stop learning.  Luckily for us landscapes are a long-lasting work product that can continue to evolve and be tweaked (and be learned from!) over time.  

6.  Pivot and problem-solve – when you hit an obstacle, don’t let it stop you.  Adjust and work it out.

…Mistakes will be made.  We’re human.  Its all about what you do next.  If you make a mistake, ‘fess up and make it right.