• Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts.

    Join 87 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Flickr Photos

  • Categories

  • All We Ask Is Give Credit Where Due

    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
  • Follow Strategies Blog from Horticultural Advantage on WordPress.com

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.


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

Phase III – Significance

Editors Note: After giving our readers a peak spring break to focus on the business at hand I will resume posting several times a week to Strategies Blog. (Be sure to click here to sign up now to receive an email update of new posts.)

Flags of No Significance by Joel Bedford

Flags of No Significance by Joel Bedford

Phases of Spring III – Significance

What is significance?

Webster’s says:

Something signified. Of meaning. Of importance.

Also, significant: having special meaning. Of considerable influence or effect. Of consequence.

Many of us do what we do because it’s what we’ve always done. We are flying flags of no particular significance. We went to school for it, were hired to do it, were born into it or were married into it. In many cases we’re doing the garden center thing better, but why do this in the first place? I know several garden center owners who have been doing a lot better in recent years. They live more comfortably and have debt in control. Their cash flows. But they still search for something – not something they can describe or show you a picture of. They don’t know what it is, just that they haven’t found it. Even they seek more.

Continue reading

Phase II – Spring Success

Phases of Spring II – Success Mode
This is a bit of reflection on my years of spring in the green business. I’ve noticed what I call the Phases of Spring, which occur as we approach, endure, and emerge from this annual crisis. Regional differences put some of you deeper into spring than others, so adjust for your location. First there is Phase I, Survival Mode. Click here to read about it, and be sure to leave your comments and experiences.

Following panic of early spring is Success Mode. Positive cash flow does wonders for creating a positive attitude. I am looking forward to soon hearing from the first garden center that they’ve already paid off their seasonal line of credit.
Danger: The mid-spring EUPHORIC state of success often harbors, or breeds problems. As the initial stocking, weather watching, and waiting of spring survival mode passes owners move into manage and lead roles. Then…

1.    With cash worries behind, free spending creeps in.
2.    Re-ordering is fun and sort of a rite of celebration of success.
3.    Decisions on new items now seem less risky.

Perhaps even more dangerous is a false sense of security that everything is going to be ok when it is not for some garden centers. Often the state of the business isn’t well at all – when you look at the future. The hard reality of the situation is that your full bank account will dwindle. Doesn’t it always?
The fearful questions that might as well come up now rather than in August:

  1. Will April-June sales be enough to pad the bank account to carry you to spring 2010?
  2. Will you make the margin dollars you need to pay wages and operating expenses during Fall and Christmas 2009?

Oh, back to Success for a moment. Customer flow increases and your staff focuses on watering, stocking, re-ordering and checkout. Customers largely serve themselves – just like they do at The Home Depot. Well if not, how can you prove it? Leave A Reply below to brag about your plan…

Stay Tuned… Next time…
Phase III – Significance Mode – Do You Matter?

Don’t Miss The Phases of THIS Spring


There Has to be a Fire to Put Out Somewhere in Here!

I can tell that spring is coming quickly upon the readers of this blog. For the next several weeks we will focus on the here and just-ahead with brief postings of timely thoughts.

In my years enduring the spring surge of the horticulture business I’ve noticed the Phases of Spring that occur as we approach, endure, and emerge from this annual crisis. Regional differences put some of you deeper into spring than others, so adjust for your location.

There is a naturally occurring progression of events and associated emotions during the early spring to summer seasons. In the next few days I will briefly describe each of these in hopes that recognizing what you will be going through will help you counter some of the effects.

The three phases are:

  1. Survival
  2. Success
  3. Significance

Phase I – Survival

Spring begins with the confident feeling you are ready, or the extreme fear that you are not. If you are still feeling confident just wait a few more days or maybe a couple of weeks for your dose of reality.

Continue reading

Not Good vs. Bad; Good vs. Effective;

What if You Could be More Effective?

Quotes can help convey and clarify what we are trying to say and what we mean. Yesterday a great quote came up at a Regional Financial Review meeting held by Steve Bailey for The Garden Center Group. Jim Wallitch, owner of Wallitch Nursery & Garden Center in Louisville, Kentucky explained his position on rallying their company to help with improving the results from his business. He shared this quote from one of his associates:

Continue reading

Does the Business World Today Make Sense to You? Really?

Seth Godin and Tom Peters

Seth Godin and Tom Peters

Leaders of Leaders Defining Reality to Make Sense of the Senseless

In our Executive Advantage program we teach Executive Principles, including #1 Leaders Define Reality. Here I am trying my best to be a leader among leaders and trying to make sense of our part of the world so I can do that for you, and I do not mind saying that it is very difficult to do in these times.

To some degree we have to accept that these are chaotic times and do not make sense, and my friends, THAT is reality. These are chaotic times and do not make total logical sense. The world does not just seem to be spinning out of control senslessly, to some degree it is doing exactly that.

Continue reading

Making the M-D Rollercoaster Work for You


Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression: Is that what’s wrong?

This was the topic of a recent blog posting by Timothy Ferris, author of the NY Times and WSJ best-selling book, The Four Hour Work Week. The story of the book is a story in itself. Just do yourself a favor and get a copy and read it before spring hits.

While you and I may never get anywhere near a 4-hour work week it will help you understand why we think the way we do about work. And we may just get a little closer to it if we can think the way Tim thinks, especially the way he distinguishes between effectiveness and productivity.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: