Tips for business owners who feel stuck

Growing a Business When Owners Feel Stuck

By Evelyn Long

Growing a landscaping business takes time and resources. After a few years, owners can feel stuck in one place. Maybe sales are down, or the competition is getting tougher — there’s no shortage of potential obstacles you can face as an entrepreneur. But staying focused and moving toward a motivating goal can help break you out of a rut.

Nurture new leads

Focusing on existing customers creates steady business, but it can slow sales growth. If you’re feeling stuck, it might be a good time to focus on, and expand, potential leads to generate additional business growth. Owners can use multiple methods to reach new clients, including paid search, direct mail, social media or trade shows.

Once managers gain prospect leads, they should establish a plan for reaching out, following up and, hopefully, converting them into loyal customers. If your current marketing plan isn’t fruitful, trying out a new strategy or using marketing automation tools can streamline this process can help you find a new rhythm that can breathe new life into your landscaping business.

Improve customer engagement

Many leads in landscaping come from referrals, so strong customer service is vital. It encourages clients to be more loyal to the organization. Managers should think about the total experience, starting with the company website, following through to employee training and ending with opportunities to receive feedback and reviews.


Trying out a new loyalty program, sending out surveys on client experiences, or offering a one-time discount for services to regular customers can help you engage with the client base and invigorate their relationship with your business. It might be just the thing to help you take next steps with reliable customers.

Changing up marketing tactics can be beneficial here, too. Collecting data on the client’s demographics and interests can improve customer service, and allows for more personalized marketing messages. Surveys can determine what kind of services and promotions people want, and this will help you maintain growth with new customers, too.

Delegate tasks

Many business owners overwork themselves and take on too many responsibilities. While it’s understandable for entrepreneurs to take control of their business, it can also mean they don’t have time to focus on high-impact opportunities and are at risk of burnout.

When you’re feeling stuck, part of the problem might be that you’re stretched too thin to pursue growth. Proper delegation is critical. It reduces the amount of work one person has to do, and encourages growth since not everything relies on one individual.

Owners should develop the organization’s mission and goals, but delegate specialized tasks. A few main areas to consider are as follows:

  • Sales and marketing
  • Production
  • Customer support
  • Finance
  • Human resources

This doesn’t always mean you need to hire more people, which can be a tough decision for a small business with tight margins. Delegating can also mean outsourcing more menial work, such as adopting digital solutions for financial management, or hiring an agency to help you redesign your website.

Run the pros and cons to weigh these expenses against how much more growth you can accelerate with maintenance tasks off your plate.

Review monthly metrics

Do you use financial data to inform your decisions, or are you following your gut? When you don’t know where to focus next, try getting out of your own head and focusing on the numbers.

Reviewing monthly metrics can help landscaping business owners make smarter financial choices and better understand where their companies should continue to invest — and where you might be sinking money.

Here a are few key metrics to review:

  • Profit and loss statement: This shows a company’s revenue, expenses and profit during a given period.
  • Balance sheet: This is the ratio of current assets divided by current liabilities.
  • Cash flow statement: This statement helps people understand if they have more or less cash at the end of the month.
  • Closed sales: This metric shows how many proposals a company won versus how many they sent out.

Taking this view can help you check your emotions at the door, and allow you to take a hard look at the business avenues that benefit your growth as well as those that might be eating up too many resources. You might get a stronger idea of where your business should pivot to grow successfully.

Find better ways to manage time

Sometimes it can feel like there is never enough time in the day. Time management can feel elusive to business owners, but mastering a routine that helps you prioritize high-impact tasks while keeping other balls in the air can do wonders for your sense of purpose.

Many business experts recommend using a priority matrix to block out time for the tasks that matter most, rather than reacting to little fires as they pop up randomly throughout the day. Get in the practice of labeling to-do items as “important” versus “urgent.”

For example, if you use your most productive morning hours to complete a priority task before heading to a worksite or answering emails, you’ll know that you took a meaningful step forward no matter what else happens that day. Otherwise, it’s too easy for business owners to spend all day responding to “urgent” questions without making time to meet their larger business goals.

Be part of the community

Don’t know where to grow next? Try building up your local reputation to find inspiration. Getting involved in the community can increase a landscaping business’s brand awareness. Plus, it can show clients the people in your business care about others, which can increase new leads and help retain current customers.

Business owners can look up nonprofit organizations within their area, and encourage staff members to join them for volunteer hours. Alternatively, offering services where a percentage of funds goes to a chosen charity can impress clients while engaging landscaping staff in meaningful ways.

Other ways to be active in the community are as follows:

  • Hold a contest or giveaway
  • Donate to local organizations
  • Teach a class about landscaping, plant care or the environment
  • Sponsor community events or sports teams
  • Go to government meetings

Business owners need to navigate a host of responsibilities — from managing finances to juggling project questions. It’s easy to lose motivation and vision for what business growth should look like. Spend some time identifying why you feel stuck, then follow some of these tips to take more control over your schedule and choose high-impact ventures for growth.

Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.