Monumental Lawn, Monumental Business
Seasonal businesses—think lawn care, landscapers, vacation resorts, summer camps, golf courses—face their own set of unique business challenges. We tapped one of our favorites, David Forster and Monumental Lawn and Outdoor, to share his story, his challenges and his tips for managing a seasonal business.
When did you start Monumental Lawn and Outdoor and why?
Monumental Lawn & Outdoor was launched in January 2013. We had previously owned a lawn care company in Olathe, Kan., which we sold a couple years prior to focus our time and energy more on our family. After a great break from ownership, my wife and I decided to return to business ownership in the industry that I have been involved with for over 17 years. We want to provide a superior product to our customers, and an environment in which our team can grow in all areas of life.
Who did you go to for help?
We have been blessed with connections in many arenas. A couple of close friends own landscape industry businesses in other markets, so our relationships have no issues with a competitive nature. Comparing notes with their experience has been helpful.
Locally, our networking relationships, have led us to great connections to help us in marketing, social media, operations, etc. The team at Morgan Miller Plumbing has been a huge motivation on the Facebook front. We have seen a huge improvement in engagement since chatting with them. Our friend, Chaz Wolfe at Edible Arrangements, has their systems down to a science and have really been helpful in comparing how we operate.
We have really enjoyed being a part of the Battle of the Brands by KC SourceLink the past couple of years. Great competition and great exposure of our brand!
What was your biggest challenge in the first years?
Our biggest challenge in the beginning was finding the right team members who could understand and buy in to our vision and culture. We don’t settle for less than our best, and we expect that from everyone on our team.
What's been your biggest epiphany—in terms of how you run your business?
Communication is key! Whether business, marriage, etc., communication is the key to making sure everyone is on the same page, and heading the same direction. We continue to work on our systems to make sure everyone has the information they need to be productive, efficient, and clear.
What's been your biggest success?
Our team. We have some really stellar staff who are all committed to our quality, vision, integrity and future. From that, our relationships with clients, and reputation in our community, have really flourished.
What tips would you give to someone starting and/or running a seasonal business?
BUDGET! Not just your cash flow, but your time as well.
In a seasonal business, you have to realize that you are going to have your expected down time. But you also need to realize that your busy season is going to be busier than you expect. Find a way to utilize your down time to set in place all of your planning for the upcoming season and not just take a nice vacation (though that is recommended as well). Set a marketing schedule, annual budget, hiring process, etc., during the time when you feel like you have all the time in the world. If you don’t, it will get away from you, and you will feel overwhelmed when the clients start banging down the door.
Read more tips for running a seasonal business from David.