What do you think? Email me at cbowen@gie.net.

A million dollars just sounds good, doesn’t it? It has a nice ring to it and those six zeroes look great lined up there. A two-comma company is considered in many circles to be the brass ring. That’s when you’ve arrived, right?

Statistically, getting to a seven-figure income puts you in some pretty exclusive company. According to our research, only 22 percent of landscapers bring in more than a million a year.

Landscape companies at that revenue level are more diversified – maintenance makes up only 30 percent of their gross revenue, compared to 40 percent for a smaller company – and they do more design/build, snow, irrigation and tree care work than companies with five-figure income.

And, as the owner of a million dollar-or-more company, you’ll make a median salary of $95,000. You’ll make about half that if you run a smaller company.

This month’s cover story will help you learn how to get your company to that million-dollar mark. And as much as I like the story, I want to use this space to make a counterpoint – or, at least, make a more nuanced point.

The goal of this issue (and all our issues) is to help you grow your business and make more money. The larger your company is, the more good you can do with your profits in your community, for your family and for your employees.

Chasing a big topline number isn’t worth it if all that new work costs you money.

But to do any of that, you need to first have profits. It doesn’t do anybody any good if you post $1 million in revenue and $1.2 million in expenses. Just chasing a big topline number isn’t worth it if all that new work costs you money.

If you can make a solid 30 percent on a $500,000 company, I say do it. Many contractors get to a certain revenue level, figure out how to make money and settle in. There’s nothing wrong with that. An efficient, profitable business that grows steadily and methodically will do more good in the end than a company that tries to grow by 50 percent every year and falls flat.

But growth for the sake of growth doesn’t make sense. Make sure you’re focused on profitable growth first.

Maybe you’re established and working on your second million. Maybe you just started and you’re working on your first $100,000. Whatever your revenue and wherever you plan on being 12 months from now, do yourself, your team and the industry a favor, and make sure that you’re building profit into your plans for growth. That’s the true measure of success. That’s when you’ll have truly arrived. – Chuck Bowen