TVPG Radio Show: The Success of a Landscape Artist

by Sheila O'Mara on March 25, 2010

On Wednesday, March 24, the TVPG, Get More Business, Radio Show had a guest on the show.  Adam Horning was our guest and shared with us some of his techniques for taking a very small start up business in 2005, in a very crowded field, to company that made just shy of a million dollars last year.  Adam did a fabulous job not only adding revenue and also employees and that is great for him and his local economy.

Adam doesn’t have a magic product and is very reasonable in his pricing – I would say on the reasonable end without a doubt.  He has built this company by recognizing some very simple ideas very early on and capitalizing on them.  Allow me to share …

Adam recognized after his first season in the business, that in order to continue growing he would have to duplicate himself.  Always mindful of customer service and satisfaction, he determined that the best way to make sure that employees followed the same techniques and procedures was to draw up a series of SOPs: Standard Operating Procedures.  Those few SOPs have evolved into a manual that supervisors within the company must take a test on the material.  By setting the same standard for his employees and he did for himself, Adam’s company has grown significantly. 

Adam took a real leap of faith when trying to find people that would maintain the same level of consistant customer care as he did.  The manual helped in amazing ways and I encourage all business owners who are or are not seeking to employ others to do the same thing.  Writing out your standard operating procedures for all aspects of the business is just smart, but so often overlooked.  Look at where it brought Adam in only four years.  If you start out with your “manual” in the beginning, then when it is time to expand and grow, bringing on new team members will be much easier. 

I know that my lack of having written SOPs is one of the reasons I have not expanded yet.  I can’t imagine where I am going to find the time to write out all of the things I do and how I want them done.  If I had done it from the very beginning, it would be a no-brainer now and imagine how much bigger my company could be.  I get approximately 3 calls a month from people that would like to work with me – shame on me for not having the “manual” done.  I have learned a whole lot from Adam’s technique and it will be something I will work on in the future.

One of the other elements of Adam’s business that impressed me was his advertising.  He did not take huge ads out in print media.  He pounded the pavement with flyers and grew by word of mouth.  We all know that word of mouth can be difficult to rely on, but because he is so committed to customer satisfaction and care, it works for him.  Having a referral based business can only be achieved if you do what you say you will and gaining the consumer’s trust.  Adam’s training of his employees has helped him maintain those standards even if he is not personally on the job site.

It was a great show this week.  If you did not catch the live version, please listen to the podcast.  If you are a start up business owner or even one that is looking to expand, then this is really a show for you.

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