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One Thing – Right People on the Bus


When you’re a small family business it’s hard to get out of the technician mode especially if you’ve watched your father work in the business prior to taking it over. For years that’s been the problem for Rob Clark of Clark’s Lawn & Garden Equipment.   

Rob’s one thing has been to develop a service department that is not dependent upon him so he can devote his energy to managing the business and selling both on the floor and outside the business where his strengths can be maximized. 
For years it seemed like every time he made progress on the business something would set him back or pull him back into the tactical work. He hired someone to work the sales floor and they didn’t work out. He hired someone to be the service department manager and they didn’t work out either. He had his son and daughter work in the business and as is often the case this didn’t work as smoothly as he’d like. 
Last year he found a good service tech who helped stabilize the service department and then late last year he found a good service manager who is routinizing the department, setting standards and increasing their labor percentages. His service tech left last month when he wouldn’t accept the new standards, yet despite this change, progress continues with Clark’s Lawn & Equipment’s labor revenue up almost 50% for the first quarter of 2009. 
The result is that for the first time Rob is finding more time to concentrate on sales, especially outside sales. He’s found that with the new service manager he hired he’s spending more time as a teacher. Helping him to develop the systems they need in place to make the service area more efficient. Most importantly it’s freed Rob to not be stuck inside the business doing tactical work. He’s energy level now is more strategic and in addition he is able to also spend more time where his strength is, working on sales and networking. The outcome from this?  Two new large landscaping contracts with one of these the largest landscaping company in his area. 
Rob realizes just landing these companies is quite an accomplishment, however keeping them will be the real test. Rob has been able to achieve something that took him a long time to accomplish; a sense of freedom to work in the areas where he possess his best strength and where he can truly contribute to the growth of the business. 
Despite a great deal of detours, challenges and difficult decisions, Rob remained true to achieving his One Thing. 
The result has been a significant increase to his business and just as importantly a sense of fulfillment and the promise of additional financial freedom and independence as he services the new customers he has earned. 


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