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Educate for Understanding, Train for Skill

My son Owen began his college career this past year at Xavier University in Cincinnati. It was interesting to see how various people who asked him what major he had chosen offered their style of advice to him. I think he made the right choice, but it will be a while before we know.

The education many college freshmen begin pursuit of today will be obsolete by the time they graduate four years later. Education is and always has been a constant pursuit. Learning to learn well is the only possible way to compete in the future.  It really always has been that way, but in the past you could have a career and retire before your industry of choice made your education obsolete.

Our world is changing faster than anyone can change with it. Can you beat the pace of change by being the one causing the change? No way. Continue reading

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Give Me A Break

Is it time to Take a Break?

It has been said that a pilot that is landing a jet airplane is really conducting a controlled crash. I’ve heard that piloting a plane during takeoff is a 3-minutes of pure emotional rush and the landing is 3-minutes of sheer terror. In that way, explaining spring in this business is like spreading out the five minutes of controlled crash landing of a jet on an AIRCRAFT CARRIER into five weeks of pure adrenalin rush mixed with moments of sheer terror. Continue reading

Saving Money IS Making Money

Saving Money IS Making Money

It is a simple principle: Saving Money IS Making Money.

When it comes to making money there is no faster way to do it than to hold on to what you have already earned.

We’ll discuss that for sure, but hold on because there is more to it than simply holding on to what you have and we’re going to discuss that as well.

A Penny Earned

You’ve heard the adage “a penny saved is a penny earned”, which is true, but would you consider that holding tightly to a dollar may also mean saving your company from the brink of bankruptcy.

Continue reading

All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #3

Misconception #3 – Garden Centers Should Employ Horticulturists with College Degrees Full-Time, Year-Round and Pay Them Professional Salaries with Comprehensive Benefits

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the third misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them. Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

Disclaimer: While I focus on the business side of the horticultural business my education, training, and experience is broad in the green industry including plant production and retail garden center with Scarff’s Nursery, landscape services with Horticultural Advantage, and marketing and sales of plants with Bailey Nurseries, and Sunrise Marketing. Let it be known that I am all in favor of the future success of the many educated and knowledgeable horticulturists in our industry, especially those that are effective in carrying out their responsibilities.

Necessity is the mother of invention. When the facts are laid out and we discover that it is simply not possible to 1) do what we once did, 2) do what others do, or 3) do what we would like to do, then why not open our horizons and explore opportunities we previously ignored? The title of this post is designed to get interest and discussion going rather than to discount the value of horticultural expertise. So please, read on then leave a comment. Continue reading

All you believe about making money in the garden center business may be ALL WRONG

(Read time:  approximately 2 minutes.)

"What gets us in trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

"What gets us in trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

Part One – This is the first in a series of posts that will address Six Mistaken Beliefs many of us have about making money in the garden center business.

I have arrived to the point of developing Six New Beliefs that may be unpopular among some of the “old-guard” establishment in the garden center business. Switching from the mistaken beliefs to the new beliefs may make the ground shake (like during an earth quake) beneath some of your own current beliefs. Some of our supplier friends may find this truth troubling to the future of their businesses. Others may embrace it and thrive. Continue reading

Open Letter to Independent Garden Centers

Read Time: Approximately 5 minutes text, 15 minutes with links and video.

Friends,

Independent garden centers are my future. I am a fortunate person to love what I do and do what I love. I sincerely want that to continue, and I realize it is entirely dependent on the success of my clients.

Today I feel compelled to share with you some information you would probably rather not hear or would rather not consider. Sticking your head in the sand is a possible reaction to this.

Consider carefully how you choose to respond. This could be a decision that changes the course of your business and your life completely within a very few short months.

Is the sky falling? No, it definitely is not, however, just because the sky is staying where it is does not excuse us from examining other things that may be falling. Continue reading

Recessionary State of Mind

Forrest Gump

“Recession is as recession does,”

This was the reported response (according to About.com:Retail Industry) from the fictitious Forrest Gump Worldwide Management Consortium to an October 2008 AlixPartners survey of consumers on the prospects of a recession:

  • 86% believed the U.S. was in a recession or depression.
  • 64% said they would spend less in retail stores to prepare for the hard economic times
  • 46% predicted hard times would last three years.

The point of the article is that consumer response to recessionary news determines the level of recession at retail. More important, the response by retailers determines how well they do. The article cites cases during previous recessions where companies and brands such as Chrysler, Ivory Soap, Kellogg’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell successfully introduced new strategies that brought them greater market share both during and post recession. Time and again history has shown that retailers that respond with aggressive marketing of innovative strategies come through and out of troubled times better than those who do not.

Continue reading

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