Last month the enterprise value specialists at Ceibass joined ambitious landscape pros from around the country in Denver, Colorado at GROW! 2019, the annual conference held by Marty Grunder of The Grow Group. 

“I want to drill down on the most important critical factor to emerge from this amazing conference, and that is the need to develop a strong leadership team,” said Tom Fochtman, Ceibass, CEO. “Without a capable, committed, and ambitious leadership team, a landscaping company simply can’t grow. Without one, your company will remain endlessly dependent on the owner, you’ll miss out on opportunities, you’ll limit the professional and personal growth of your people, and you’ll be leaving money on the table when you want to sell or transition your business.”

So how do you build one? How do you foster a leadership team able and eager to run the company when the owner is and isn’t there?

“Empower your leaders. The talented leaders on your team can only be effective if you empower them to be. Allow managers to make decisions without you and to lead without your interference,” said Marty Grunder. “Often, the owners who struggle with this tell us they’re afraid of their team making the wrong decisions without their oversight. But developing and communicating a strong company vision helps solve this; it’s easier for everyone on your team to make the right decisions if they understand what the end goal is.”

“Be sure to stay on the same page. It’s important that your leadership team is aligned,” said Tom Fochtman. “For example, we just witnessed a company focused on fast growth, but they didn’t keep a focus on their accounting. So the books were horrible. They didn’t know how they made money. A prospective buyer came in and had to significantly discount their offer because it wasn’t clear where the seller’s margins were. Keep your house in order. Get on the same page and you won’t have to take a haircut, leaving money on the table when you sell.”

“Nurture your relationships within the leadership team. Communicating clearly, learning how to navigate and resolve disagreements is a must,” adds Marty Grunder.

And both Tom and Marty agree that you should continually train your team, it pays dividends down the road. Talented people want to continually get better. Fail to provide them opportunities to learn and grow and you will probably lose them.