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CASE STUDY: Joe Szczechowicz, Szczechowicz Landscape Services

by Linda Coors on July 21, 2014 · 0 comments

CASE STUDY: Joe Szczechowicz, Szczechowicz Landscape ServicesMeet Joe Szczechowicz (pronounced SHUH-huh-vich). He’s the owner of Szczechowicz Landscape Services, a landscape design/build and maintenance firm in Rowley, Mass. In business since 1975, SLS has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but the height of the recent Great Recession was Joe’s breaking point.

Joe and his team are still working through the A Better Way 2 Learn Financials program, but the lessons they’ve learned so far have already benefited the business greatly. Read on for more of Joe’s story.

The Problem

SLS Landscape’s problem was simple and all too common: The company grew too fast.

Starting in 1975’s boom economy, it was easy to grow as customers kept rolling in, focusing on just getting the work done without putting processes and systems in place. SLS expereienced significant staff turnover in the years before the recent Great Recession, and without systems and procedures in place to run the business efficiently, there was chaos when the economy took its big dip.

By then, it was easy for Joe to see the problems that had developed.

It was time to get smart — and start tracking “literally every dollar.” That’s when Joe signed up for A Better Way 2 Learn Financials.

Buying In

The SLS Landscapes team has about 40 employees, with a six-person leadership team.

Joe asked the members of his leadership team a year and a half ago to start the program with him. The leadership team sits together to talk about each lesson as a group, spending time discussing what each person got out of it.

And once isn’t enough: The next time the team meets, they dive into the lesson again to ensure everyone understands the topic at hand. Then they create a plan to apply it directly to the business, how the principles can be implemented and — perhaps most importantly — who will be responsible for implementing them.

“To me, it’s like we’re back in school,” Joe says. “You can’t go on to the next lesson until you grasp what you’ve just studied. Just going through the motions one week at a time and not be able to use it wouldn’t make any sense.”

Another result of the full team buy-in? Energy. There’s power in the certainty that you’re doing what makes sense for the business in every decision you make. “There’s no guessing anymore,” Joe says. “We’re tracking, and we know if we’re winning or losing on this job. We’re so much smarter.”

Time to Work In The Business

Though SLS’s leadership team started the program a year and a half ago, they’re only halfway through it. Joe recognized early on the importance of working through each lesson completely, until it’s deeply ingrained in everyone participating.

For lessons as important as these, rushing through just doesn’t make sense.

“For me and my company, it’s impossible to do a week’s lesson, absorb it, retain it and use it — all in a week,” Joe says.

The SLS team spent its busiest months of the year on hiatus from A Better Way 2 Learn; because they treat it like being back in school, that hiatus translated into an intense “spring break” of taking care of business and implementing everything they’d learned in the program thus far.

‘Paying Off’ — Literally

When asked the biggest benefit his team has experienced during A Better Way 2 Learn Financials, he hesitated. “The net results — as in profit — are the best results.”

“Besides that, the biggest takeaway is that now I know and the leadership team has a better understanding of the financial goings-on of the company.”

And the knowledge the SLS leadership team has gained is trickling down to the company’s managers and crew leaders. They can now talk realistically and pragmatically about the numbers. “It’s not ‘because Joe said so’ anymore; there are reasons like cash flow to fall back on.”

Joe’s confident that success from the program is trickling down, too: “We want the company to win, the employee to win, and the customer to win.”

Be Ready To Learn

Considering tackling A Better Way 2 Learn Financials in your business? Be ready for it, Joe says, and be serious about it.

“In our industry, if you’re growing a business, you have to be tracking and build that financial backbone. If you’re not profiting, you’re already on your way out of business.”

The program will help you strengthen your business’s bottom line, but only if you commit. “You have to have that mental commitment to it. Follow through from start to finish — no matter how long it takes you — and set a good example for the rest of your company.”

And don’t do it alone, Joe says. Share the information you glean from the program with those you trust within your company. “They’re the ones who will carry it through to the rest of the company,” he says. “It has to start from the top, but the enthusiasm, interest and devotion to getting it done will spread on down.”

Transform Your Green Industry Business’s Financials

Ready to commit to your company’s financials and boost your bottom line? Get started with a free trial of A Better Way 2 Learn Financials.

Get your team to buy in and see the difference this educational program can make in your business.

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