Carita Koen will be speaking at the 2022 Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference. You can learn more about the conference by visiting bit.ly/lawntech2022.

This mother of four and retired insurance professional/financial advisor knew very little about the green industry before joining forces with my husband in 2016 to assist with his dream of becoming a business owner. Married for over five years, we discovered that starting a business required balancing two relationships, the marriage (and a growing family), and the business. It was then that I realized the importance of effective relationships in business.

In fact, a valuable relationship established the foundation on which our family business currently stands. Unlike myself, my husband was exposed to the green industry at a very early age and recruited to work alongside his grandfather at the age of eight. After years of being his grandfather’s apprentice and having worked for several well-respected landscaping businesses, he decided to do something about his “entrepreneurial itch.”

When it came down to business, my husband and I discovered that building and establishing effective relationships would perhaps be the most important principle in our business. A close relationship, between my husband and his grandfather, was the very reason we were even in business. Another key aspect was nurturing business relationships with both our existing and potential customers. Doing so enhanced the quality experience needed for our business to establish long-term success.

The customer experience is just as important as our business brand and reputation. We shifted to a “people-centered” focus that helped to improve our overall customer experience, interactions and relationships. If your goal is to stay afloat and to have continual growth, effective relationships are a necessity. Any business that wants to succeed needs to have and develop effective relationships.

How do you build effective relationships?

Develop positive business connections. People have a desire to work closely with those they know, like and trust.

Business isn’t only about profit! When you take care of your customers, they will take care of your business. They will always see your company’s value.

Pave the way for others! First, be sure to let strong ethical values be the light of your business. Second, boost your support by helping your community learn from successful business owners.

Build your brand awareness. Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they (the consumer) says it is. Ultimately, the brand you create is built on the customer experience. If your brand is not well known, you will miss out on opportunities.

Also, you can improve your brand awareness within your market by ensuring consumers are aware of your brand name, products and services, as well as your brand attributes; what distinguishes you from your competitors.

Get connected! Joining a chamber of commerce gives you access to valuable resources and relationships that could increase your authority, credibility and trust. In order to keep your business humming with valuable leads be sure to connect with your local public, charter, and private schools, alumni association, churches, as well as your local colleges and universities. This approach will allow you to control the budget, the target area and the type of jobs you will receive.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals Women in Landscape Network (powered by Bayer) provides a forum for industry professionals to support each other’s professional growth. The Network is free to all industry professionals.