Technology in Business: striking a balance with the big 5

Technology, an encapsulating term for both our fears and anxieties along with our imagination and wonder. You have likely found yourself on both sides of this spectrum, simultaneously cursing your smartphone for “going to slow” while revelling in its technological mysticism.

The tension technology introduces to our lives between good and bad, useful and useless, and profitable or not, permeates not only our personal lives but the operations and vitality of your business.

The internet is over 11 000 days old, what are you doing to leverage it and other technologies into your workflow? Of course, technology does not begin and end at the digital zeros and ones within the internet and our favourite IoT (Internet of Things) objects.

Technology is everything from your protective work-gloves, the evolution of a front mounting snowplow and the genetically modified yard care products keeping lawns and gardens beautified. Each of these is the product of a generational evolution – professionals engineering specific use tools to better achieve their job.

5 PLACES YOUR BUSINESS COULD FIND WINS IN TECHNOLOGY

Knowing when new technology is right for your business is undoubtedly a murky step to take. After all, if it’s not broke then don’t fix it.

However, your business is not static, demands and opportunities change by the moment and what is good for you now may be antiquated around the corner. Finding technology for your dynamic business is about identifying current opportunities in addition to forecasting future demands.

Here are five arenas in a landscaping business that benefit from thoughtful technology.

1. ACCOUNTING FOR THE NUMBERS

Accounting is an unavoidable portion of your business, no matter how frightening the math is. Robust and accomplished accounting software is accessible to businesses at all stages of their growth. However, digitizing your accounting data early on will help keep your books tidy and let you better focus and identify the profit center of your operations.

Top benefits of accounting software for your business of any size

  1. Automated and custom reporting: cater your fiscal reports to your needs.
  2. Increased precision: let the machine do the math!
  3. Reduce the double-entry: entering your data less means more time.
  4. Keep the tax collector happy: reduce the stress around tax season.

2. COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY: REAL-TIME INFORMATION IN A DYNAMIC WORKPLACE

The truth is, you may think you are the champion of communication now, but as your business scales this can get out of control quickly.

Take this familiar scenario for example, you have a triple-digit team working properties over the winter white season. Any team leader and HR rep know they are stretched thin to contact and coordinate this many people around snow events and early morning servicing. Employees oversleep, cell phones die, weather conditions change, and client needs fluctuate – your workplace is dynamic.

However, empowered by a solid plan and the right tech to back you up, your dynamic workplace needs can be just a part of normal operations and not a moment of panic.

Where to find wins in Communication technology

  1. Team management: both on the field and in the office the right communications tech can alleviate bottlenecks and increase responsiveness. Instant Messaging like Slack, Facebook Messenger and Telegram are great for poking at team members instead of making the hike across the office. Text services like True Dialog and WhatsApp make managing and connecting with crew members easy breezy at scale.

  2. Customer Care: Of course, we would all love the chance to talk directly with each customer at every stage of their journey with you, but the reality is often different. Customer care tools, such as the CRM’s Hubspot and Salesforce, help automate and triage their concerns will let you focus better on the solutions and less on interpreting their needs.

3. SAFETY TRAINING THAT HITS THE BOTTOM LINE

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“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin 

Nowhere is this axiom truer than in health and safety; of yourself, your employees and your business. Unfortunately, selling safety is still an uphill battle. It may seem like a piece of “common knowledge” but many businesses are still safety-training adverse. The most common reason is that safety in the workplace is an upfront cost – an ounce of prevention.

However, ask any veteran landscaper whether the upfront investment was worth the downstream cost and the answer will likely be clear. Ignoring safety and improperly preparing your team for the task in front of them will cost you in the end. Whether this is from slip-and-fall lawsuits, employee injuries or equipment downtime, all of these could be mitigated by a marginal investment in proper training.

Dominate your safety and operational training

Shamelessly, there is only one company providing the technology your team needs to remotely upgrade their safety training – and that’s us! GoGreenius champions this space for the landscaping industry – both green and white. Quite frankly, we’ve made it so easy and accessible to landscaping businesses of all sizes that there are little-to-no excuses your company shouldn’t be using our video training platform.

“Many Owners are jumping over dollars to save pennies” – Arden Urbeno, President, Greenius

4. TECHNOLOGY IN MARKETING: FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS

No matter where you are in the growth of your landscaping business it’s paramount to have work in the pipeline. It’s a luxury to think that your stellar work and exceptional customer service will continue to win you contracts. You may be a sales whiz when afforded the chance to get some one-on-one time with a client or potential customer, but your time will be in diminishing supply while you grow.

Deciding which tech to adopt will come down to your marketing strategy. Naturally, this is an extensive topic on its own with libraries of opinions and research. Here a few ideas to spark your marketing creativity.

Tech to help you crush the marketing game

  1. Digital Marketing: there are powerful tools to help you rank on searches, master your PPC or produce quality content. Google is a primary provider of digital marketing tools like GMB (Google My Business) and AdSense. Additionally, other tools like Grammarly and Adobe Stock help polish your marketing content.

  2. Traditional Marketing: Yes, it still happens. Business cards, mail-outs and radio ads to name a few. They seem out of place when talking about technology, but these traditional marketing tools are still viable options and everything from producing, printing and distributing has come a long way.

    For example, design and printing can be done on-demand and in small batches at websites like Moo.com or VistaPrint. Furthermore, mail services like Canada Post and USPS will deliver your print media to targeted demographics thanks to the help of “big data”.

  3. Social Media: Not much of a discussion in marketing tech if social media isn’t present. It has become the most prolific and pervasive tool in marketing and often is a direct line to your customers.

    The secret sauce of social media is to not adopt every new platform that pops up. Find out which social media medium your clients are most using, then own that one. You can find big wins in mastering one or two platforms and focusing all your energy on those instead of a little energy on too many.

    For example, a landscaping business focused on design/build would benefit most from an image-based platform, like Instagram, to show off their beautiful work. Alternately, a maintenance focused business may want to leverage Facebook, so they have a more direct touchpoint to their customers.

5. WHOLISTIC BUSINESS SOFTWARE

‘BusinessOS’, like the operating system on your computer, this is the technological foundation of your landscape and winter contracting business. 

Often referred to as Business Management Planning software (BMP) or Enterprise Resource Planning software. The two have a lot of crossovers, with ERP’s skewing towards larger operations and centralized data structures. While BMP’s can cater to more specific workflows within your organization.

Jargon aside, business management software is pretty much as advertised: software to manage your business. This is going to be one single touchpoint for all your business-related data for tracking, reporting and planning. This ranges from customer information and employee schedules to inventory tracking and financial reporting. 

You can’t track what you don’t know and you don’t know what you can’t track.

At Greenius, we partner with Aspire, a top-tier Business Management software provider in the landscape and snow industry. Our training platform is plugged directly into their software so that pulling their data over to Greenius – making assigning training a breeze

WHAT'S NEXT?

Ultimately, technology is a tool, whether it can fit in your hand as a piece of hardware or run behind the scene as office software. In either case, tools are used to solve a problem. It is your challenge as a business owner to match pain-points from the present and future with technology that improves your operations without compromise.

Technology is not a catch-all term for one-stop, turnkey solutions. Like most things in business, there is a cost-of-adoption and an ongoing commitment. If the technology is right for your business, then the only component holding back your ROI is you. How you adapt and integrate new technology into your business will be vital to its success.

Don't “set-it and forget-it”. Instead, do your research, start small, monitor success and scale when needed.

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