Small business management principles are important considerations in relation to a landscaping or gardening business. Like other small businesses, an owner or manager of a landscaping business must have a clear understanding of entrepreneurialism, business plans, legal aspects of business in the United States, finance, and pricing. An understanding of these concepts can help the landscaping business owner overcome many of the potential setbacks of small business, and help them enjoy the rewards that come with running a small business.
Entrepreneurialism is an important concept for the manager of a small landscaping business to understand. The Global Entrepreneurship Institute defines entrepreneurialism as a person who wants to start his or her own business, as well as finding new opportunities for business and expansion at the same company. Some of the traits of , and personal management of that risk. Innovators, small business owners, and executives can be seen as entrepreneurs if they are in the process of creating new opportunities or products, or expanding promising areas. Notes the Global Entrepreneurship Institute, the entrepreneur’s “principal objectives are profit and growth.” business plan can be a powerful tool in the hands of the manager of any small business. The business plan can warn about potential setbacks, determine a course of action for the company, create potential responses to contingencies, and help keep the business on track in meeting goals. For a landscaping business, a business plan can be especially effective in tracking seasonal variations in business, and helping plan for such variations. A business plan has several parts, including a balance sheet, income statement, and a cash flow analysis. It can provides valuable information about the company’s products, services, potential customers, advertising and marketing, and financial resources (Business Town)
Legal aspects of small business ownership are especially important aspects of successfully running a landscaping business. There are main three types of for-profit legal forms of business organization in the United States. These are: unincorporated, corporations, limited liability companies. Unincorporated businesses take the form of sole proprietorships or partnerships, and form most small businesses. It is usually owned by a single person or marriage, and the IRS sees business as a personal activity. One large potential drawback of this type of organizations for a landscaping business is that the sole proprietor is personally liable for the business. In other words, if a sprinkler installed by your landscaping business floods a customer’s basement, you are personally responsible for this damage. In contrast, a corporation can shield the individual from personal liability for activities of the corporation, except in the instance where owners or board members break state laws. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are relatively new organizational forms that “combines the advantages of a corporation (minimum personal liability, selling stock, etc.) with those of a partnership (sharing management decisions, profit, etc.)” (McNamara). LLCs are becoming increasingly popular, and may be worth considering in terms of a landscaping business (McNamara).
Tort law is another important consideration for the small landscaping business. In the United States, tort law covers “civil wrongs other than a breach of contract that injure persons, property, economic interests or business relationships and are caused by the acts or omissions of others.” As such, an understanding of tort law is important for the landscaping business owner seeking to understand personal and business liability. The United States is a highly litigious society, with frivolous as well as other lawsuits commonly taking up time in the courts. Among the most famous examples of consumer verdicts based on tort law are the $2.7 million award in the McDonald’s coffee case, and the $246 billion settlement between the tobacco industry and the state attorney general (FindLaw). While lawsuits against a small landscaping business will (hopefully) never reach these extreme amounts, it is important for the manager of such a business to be aware of the potential for liability. As such, steps to limit liability should be taken whenever possible. These can include creating a corporation in order to limit liability, and ensuring a safe workplace.
Finance is another important factor in successfully managing a landscaping business. Cash flow must be sufficient to ensure that all employees are paid, and that bills are paid on time as well. Further, a good understanding of the company’s finances can help a landscaping business weather seasonal changes, and downturns in business. A good understanding of finance can also help a business to raise money in order to expand and diversify business interests.
Understanding the difference between debt capital and equity capital can be important in ensuring the right business financing. Equity capital is simply money that is raised by the business through the sale of shares of company ownership. In contrast, equity capital is money borrowed by a business that must be repaid over time (United States Small Business Administration).
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government organization aimed at helping small businesses. The SBA’s wide-ranging mission is “Maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by aiding, counseling, assisting and protecting the interests of small businesses and by helping families and businesses recover from national disasters” (U.S. Small Business Administration). The SBA can be an important help for small landscaping businesses seeking information on areas as diverse as training, and business law. The SBA could also potentially be an important partner for landscaping businesses engaged in helping residents recover from landscape damage due to natural disasters.
Marketing is an often-overlooked, but crucial component of small business. Marketing is simply the process of matching the needs of the consumer with those of the business, in the interest of increasing sales and/or boosting a company image. Successful marketing includes identifying consumer and business needs, identifying growth segments, and creating a differential advantage for the business (Vaughan-Phillips). The small landscaping business can use simple marketing techniques like flyers placed in mailboxes, and for relatively little cost.
Marketing channels are defined as “the path or route taken by goods and services as they move from producer to final consumer” (MONASH University). For the small landscaping business, a marketing channel can be as simple as a conversation between the landscaper and homeowner.
Pricing is an important component of the small landscaping business that is often difficult for managers. The business manager clearly wants to maximize profits (and thus prices) while not charging so much that the consumer will not buy the product. Pricing strategies are based on four key categories, costs, competitors, customers, and business objectives (Tutor2U).
Business Town. WHY PLAN YOUR Business? 25 April 2004. http://www.businesstown..asp
Find Law. Torts. http://sv.biz.findlaw.com/legal/tort.html
Global Entrepreneurship Institute. Entrepreneurship. 26 April 2004. http://www.gcase.org/gcase.org-Entrepreneurship.htm
McNamara, Carter. Legal Forms and Traditional Structures of U.S. Business Organizations. 25 April 2004. http://www.managementhelp.org/org_thry/forms.htm
MONASH University. 25 April 2004. http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/depts/mkt/dictionary/mmm.html
Tutor2U. Pricing – Influences on Pricing Policy. 25 April 2004. http://www.tutor2u.net/business/marketing/pricing_influences.asp
United States Small Business Administration. Understanding Equity Capital. 25 April 2004. http://www.sba.gov/financing/capital/equity.html
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). About SBA. 25 April 2004. http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/index.html
Vaughan-Phillips, Jason. Marketing Strategies. eCommerce-Now.com. 25 April 2004. http://www.ecommerce-now.com/images/ecommerce-now/Marketing%20Strategies.htm