5 Tips To Manage Costs And Increase Revenue

Years ago, a wonderfully bright minded man named Thomas Friedman (The World is Flat) stated the most profound thing I have heard in the business world for many years — “Don’t waste this recession!”  The lessons that we have learned over the last four years should not be forgotten. They should be used as a forward-thinking blueprint for the next few years to come.

How do we grow our business with the lessons the economy has taught us? Two simple ideas come to mind every time I present for clients and conferences throughout the world: cost management and revenue generation. Here are five solid ideas that you can take to your team and then take to the bank.

  1. Create a utility/fuel team that has the sole responsibility to identify the cost of utility/fuel usage during each month of the year. Set a goal of a reduction of utility cost by at least 10 percent. Strategize the methods in which the cost savings could take place (time and duration of usage, shutting down certain areas during the down time, managing route and fuel consumption on vehicles) and then look at what the savings would be. Offer a “spiff” or reward for the team if the goal is met. When one of my clients in Virginia did this, they were able to save more than $250,000 over the course of the year in 2012.
  2. Create a safety team and look at the cost of insurance based on the injury or incidences that occur. Develop a system of rewards for accident-free days; the rewards can escalate for the increased times they can boast an accident-free workplace – from popcorn to pizza to prizes to sharing in the profits: the 4 Ps plan for 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-day increments.
  3. Set a goal for a particular item in the retail store that we believe will benefit the customer if they were educated about its uses and successes. Challenge the sales team to educate and consult the customer about the particular product and track how successful you are each day, based on previous year at the same time. A client in Maryland offered Soil Moist as a “beat the summer watering costs” benefit for their clients and sold 400% more over the month prior. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a unified and motivated team to deliver on the goal…it works almost every time!
  4. Offer the scale and scope of your buying opportunities to your local clients. One garden center owner in Phoenix, who would see his landscape contractors come in with tired tools of the trade, suggested he could buy tools at a more affordable price than they were getting at the big box. By taking this simple customer need and figuring out a cost-effective solution, the owner was able to help this customer’s immediate need, but also realize a $30,000 increase in sales from this client, who began buying more plant material from him as well.
  5. The final idea is a tough one and has to do with labor hours. I am amazed at how many hours of the clock tick by before someone realizes that we should let some folks go for the day. At one client, it added up to over $80,000 of labor that was wasted by not watching the clock. Develop a system where you have a pre-determined time three times a day to review the talent and tasks at hand. As the tasks are reduced, so too should the talent. This one idea is the most successful way you could both manage costs and increase profitability. If you saved 10 hours a week with your staffing over the busy magic 90 days of the season it would amount to 160 hours of saved labor. These labor costs add up fast and will kill any profit that you are working to achieve.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “5 Tips To Manage Costs And Increase Revenue

More From Business Management...
Employees separate the plants by stem count, bud development and height. “This process allows us to respond more quickly to specific requests from customers,” Van Wingerden says

September 22, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Webinar On Overtime Rule Compliance

The webinar takes place on Thursday, Sept. 29. AmericanHort is also throwing its support behind the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act.

Read More
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Students

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Employees separate the plants by stem count, bud development and height. “This process allows us to respond more quickly to specific requests from customers,” Van Wingerden says

September 22, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Webinar On Overtime Rule Complianc…

The webinar takes place on Thursday, Sept. 29. AmericanHort is also throwing its support behind the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act.

Read More
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Pansy ‘Cool Wave Blue Skies’ (Wave)

September 20, 2016

PanAmerican Seed Settles Alleged Trade Sanction Violati…

PanAmerican Seed, a division of Ball Horticultural Co., has been charged with violating trade sanctions to Iran over a number of years. According to a release from the U.S. Treasury department, PanAmerican Seed made 48 indirect sales of seeds to two Iranian distributors. The company shipped the seed to consignees based in countries in Europe and the Middle East. PanAmerican Seed’s customers then arranged for the re-exportation of the seeds to Iran. The release states that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined PanAmerican Seed did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations to OFAC, constituting an egregious case. “We believe that the settlement was extreme; however the alternative was to litigate with the U.S. government, which would take months, if not years,” says Todd Billings, Chief Financial Officer for Ball Horticultural Co. When asked what Ball Horticultural Co. has done to ensure that violations to trade sanctions do not […]

Read More
young-plants

September 20, 2016

The Top Young Plant Growers, And Four Critical Challeng…

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Young Plant Growers Survey, growers discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in fulfillment, shipping, labor, and crop protection.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

September 16, 2016

What You Need To Know About DINKs

DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) are quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics that marketers are targeting.

Read More
MANTS

September 15, 2016

Registration Is Now Open For MANTS 2017 In Baltimore

The 2017 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show takes place Jan. 11-13 in Baltimore, MD, and will feature more than 1,000 exhibitors from the green industry.

Read More
farwest-2016-photobooth

September 14, 2016

Farwest 2016 Marked By Expert Discussions On Green Indu…

Attendance at the 2016 Farwest Show in Portland was up 6% from last year, as visitors sought to learn more about emergent market opportunities.

Read More
Workers at Golden State Bulb Growers clean Calla tubers and select the best quality bulbs, placing them on conveyors to be graded, counted and sorted in the new system

September 13, 2016

Newly Signed California Law Expands Overtime To Farmwor…

The new law, which will be phased in beginning in 2019, is the first of its kind in the nation to end the 80-year-old practice of applying separate labor rules to agricultural laborers.

Read More
RISE New Governing Board 2016

September 11, 2016

RISE Appoints New Leadership, Hands Out Awards During 2…

“Our members’ enthusiasm is high, and we had great engagement as we work together to set objectives for 2017 and beyond,” said Aaron Hobbs, RISE President. “Our work ensures a vibrant future for our industry, so we can continue to deliver cutting-edge solutions to solve people’s pest and plant health problems.”

Read More
Workers at The Farm at Green Village

September 10, 2016

Now Is The Best Time To Demand Federal H-2B Program Sup…

Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution spending bill in the near future, and whether or not that measure includes an H-2B returning worker exemption could impact your labor supply for 2017.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

September 6, 2016

10 Insights From Charlie Hall’s Green Industry Economic…

With the uncertain current economic climate, Texas A&M economist Charlie Hall says now may be the perfect time to invest — as long as you do it smartly.

Read More
Increased customer demand led Good Harvest Farms to add hydroponic lettuce in 2000

September 3, 2016

Are You A Leafy Greens Grower? If So, Take This Survey!

A team of researchers from several universities is looking for feedback from leafy greens and herb growers.

Read More
Michigan State University Employee Handbook

September 2, 2016

Why You Might Need An Employee Handbook For Your Greenh…

Employee handbooks are not just for big greenhouse operations that employ large numbers of workers. According to a Michigan State University expert, they are an important human resources management tool that all growers should have.

Read More
Griffin Onliant Logo

August 30, 2016

Griffin Launches New Digital Greenhouse Ordering System

Onliant, which replaces Griffin’s previous e-commerce sites, provides growers and retailers with a new platform to source plants, hard goods, equipment, and retail inputs.

Read More
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries Feature Image

August 29, 2016

North Creek Nurseries Unites Horticulture With Sustaina…

The team at North Creek Nurseries, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year, leads the way in implementing ecologically responsible practices that will sustain the future of growing.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]