Industry experts give business survival advice at HW Landscape show seminar

Leading industry professionals explain key tactics for surviving in challenging times at seminar.

Paul Cowell, Noel Farrer, Steve McCurdy and Norman Hambrook, all speakers at the Landscape Show - image: HW
Paul Cowell, Noel Farrer, Steve McCurdy and Norman Hambrook, all speakers at the Landscape Show - image: HW

Knowing your costs, retaining a strong team and keeping a firm grip on quality were key survival tactics revealed by leading industry professionals at the Landscape show in London last week.

Sharing their experiences at a Horticulture Week seminar - Survival Tactics in Challenging Times - Hambrook Landscapes founder and managing director Norman Hambrook, award-winning landscape architect Noel Farrer, BALI chairman Paul Cowell and Majestic Trees founder and managing director Steve McCurdy advised on how best to tackle the current economic climate.

Hambrook said it was important to be quality and not price driven and to focus on bigger profit margins and business growth.

"It's quite a bumpy ride going through a recession," he added. "I'd recommend going along to a professional body and joining it because it can help you an awful lot."

This was echoed by Cowell, who recommended joining trade bodies and organisations such as BALI and the Landscape Institute, and spoke of his success interacting with people at his local chamber of commerce.

He said: "Utilise all of the organisations out there - they are brilliant and they are not utilised enough. There are lots of opportunities out there and the glass is always half full and never empty."

Farrer said the success of the industry depended on its ability to communicate to society the benefits of green landscapes.

"We all need to get out there and start being really positive about what the real benefits of landscape are," he added. "We have to be about benefit all of the time and my message is that we should absolutely go out there and tell people about the benefits of landscaping."

McCurdy said the key to success was to know your business inside out and to ensure you have a strong team. "It's very important to know your niche and to stick to that niche and build your company around how to deliver what you promise," he added.

"We always look at how we can do better than we did before and we are never satisfied with the status quo. The most important thing though is knowing your costs - because if you don't know what something costs to produce, then you don't know what to sell it for."

Seminar findings  -Key survival tactics

- Know your costs and do not get caught up in price wars.
- Join trade bodies and learn from the experience of others.
- Communicate to clients the benefits of what you do.
- Retain key staff and utilise their skills.

See also - Is this a good time to start a business?

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