Before the invention of the magnetic compass, people plotted their journey into new territory by dead reckoning or by celestial bodies like the sun or the North Star. Others followed herds of game or their instincts in search of fertile lands. Centuries later, with the introduction of the compass and map charting capabilities, travelers venturing into new areas could follow the trails of earlier explorers, thereby making their passages much less uncertain and perilous.
Today we have global positioning satellite applications for cars, iPads, phones and even digital cameras. So it is a little ironic in this time of instantly available information for anyone who can spell “Google” to be wandering without guidance in the wilderness of the 21st Century business world. However, almost every business man and woman experiences this phenomenon daily, especially the start-up entrepreneur. I may be the guiltiest person around regarding this provincial behavior pattern. Because of my many years of corporate experience, I thought I knew everything there was to know about starting up and running a small business. Not only did my arrogance camouflage my ignorance, I also believed myself to be a sole pioneer in charting out new territories. In reality I was lost in the wilderness – going in circles and in some cases in reverse. That is until I joined PLANET and began networking with the leaders of the green industry. Upon attending my first Green Industry Conference, it became perfectly clear that I did not have a monopoly on dealing with difficult challenges nor was I alone on this seemingly endless path. I met numerous individuals who had successfully traversed this journey before me, and, best of all, they were more than willing to share their experiences and provide guidance. The power to network with one’s peers has proven to be an incredible force in plotting one’s future.
The opportunity to learn from the experience of others is not just limited to attending conferences, having breakfasts with champions, or watching educational webinars. These are important and widely recognized venues for improving one’s professional knowledge base. But an equally important resource, which must be one of the best keep secrets of the PLANET Universe, is the intellectual treasure trove of information contained in 30 individual Crystal Ball reports available from the PLANET Bookstore. These reports have been produced over the past 35 years by the Crystal Ball subcommittee and published for general distribution to PLANET members. Each report is focused on a specific subject of special interest to the green industry. The committee was composed of experts in the field of study from both land care operators and other professionals from outside our industry who contributed to and helped write the documents. Bottom line, Crystal Ball reports are the best source of information on the chosen topic regarding green industry issues. No other publication can provide the focused know-how, given in layman’s terms by actual operators and contractors, available in these reports.
Here is a sampling of some recent reports that have timely and important information for anyone struggling to navigate in these challenging times.
– Crystal Ball Report # 30, Innovate (or Die): How Green Industry Companies Will Thrive in the New Economy – Are lowball bidders ripping up your bottom line like piranhas in a feeding frenzy? Learn how green industry companies have innovated their way to success.
– Crystal Ball Report # 29, Green Industry ECOnomics: Innovating Toward a Sustainable and Profitable Future – Learn how to reclaim the green in the green industry and improve your operating efficiency while leaving a green footprint.
– Crystal Ball Report # 28, Marketing: Invent Your Future – Pouring your marketing and advertising dollars down a black hole? Are you frustrated by your marketing program? Learn what the experts have to say in this provocative report.
– Crystal Ball Report # 26, Lean Management for the Green Industry, An Operational Strategy That Delivers Value to Customers and Eliminates Waste. Learn lean management principles that have been adapted specifically for green industry operators. A valuable reference in your journey to increase operating efficiencies and reduce waste.
Do not be like me when I first started in business – wandering in the wilderness needing help without even realizing it. Think of each Crystal Ball Report as a peer networking group in a pocket-size book that you can refer to for guidance any time you feel lost in today’s chaotic business world. Order multiple copies today! You may find these books along with the others in PLANET’s bookstore. For more information about the Crystal Ball, visit LandcareNetwork.org.