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COWPOP
05-16-2008, 09:36 PM
Thanks to everyone for my recent post, but I have come across a little problem. After helping my son purchase the lawn equipment and helping with his finances (signing an equity note) he comes to me to say he's done he wants no more of this. He has gotten down because of the 5 yards that he has is not the type of yards he wants so he is going to quite. Since we are new at this we have taken on what we can get. We live near one the largest lakes in Virginia which has 500 miles of shoreline. There are many homes around the lake that have yards that need mowing. The homes are mostly owned by retired people and they hire people to do what is needed. I keep telling him to hang in there that good things come to those that wait. I also explained to him to look at this business as a opportunity not a obligation. All I get from him is that he is going to plan "B" which is going back to the NAVY. So I guess I am going to try to keep this thing going even if I have to hire someone. I already have one business that is growing that takes my full attention. So I might have to really have to demend on the forum for a lot of help.
Thanks for just lettng me vent.
Charlie

All Aspects Landscaping
05-16-2008, 10:28 PM
Charlie,
Its a great group of guys here, in fact, some of us contact each other via cell phones. Anything we can do to give a helping hand, just put it out there... someone always has a few minutes to help a fella out. Plus, steve is great at keeping the momentum going and getting peoples questions answered.

Hang in there.

musician/lawnman
05-16-2008, 11:04 PM
Charlie...
* Your son sounds like a friend of mine whos planing to go into the navy soon, He can't find the job he likes so he figures that is the answer. *I'm not downing the military but once he signs the papers weather he likes the job or not.... *They own your butt. *There's no "I don't like this anymore daddy, I wanna quit & go to plan b". *
* Teach your kid that life can stink sometimes & starting a new business can be one of those times Or it can be great depending on your mindset. *Work in any form is generally just that WORK. * If it's all fun you typically don't get paid for it & they call those hobbies. *But if he starts his own business at least he can call the shots & control his own destiny in it.

Not to mention.... I don;t want this to come off as telling you how to raise a kid, that's not what I mean. but you still have to pay the note on that loan because HE wanted the equipment & dear ole dad stepped in to help. You should probably hold him reponsible for those payments until paid off either way. There are consequenses for our desicions. If I closed my doors now I'd still have payments to be made resulting in a loss of investment in my business. If he chooses to back out It's his loss to bear not yours right? How old is your son by the way? I guess if he's like 15 he's just young & these kinds of things happen at that age. So who knows.
This is just my take on it & what I know my father would have done with me.

Steve
05-17-2008, 10:44 AM
Hi Charlie,

I was thinking that maybe if you got your son on here and he was able to talk to other business owners, it might inspire him and show him he can do this.

COWPOP
05-19-2008, 07:17 AM
Thanks again to everyone for letting me vent a little. To answer your questions Chuck my son is 23 and has already pulled one hitch with the Navy and they are after him to join back up. He is also aware that the note must be paid. His position, if you want to say, in the Navy was a, hu lets just say a task force, so they are really pushing him to come back. I know he has to make that decision. "SO" anyway I thought I could hire someone to keep this thing going. Like I said before I already have one business that I am trying to keep afloat and grow. Again I will more than likely have to depend on you guys for help and it might be a very long row to hoe.
Thanks again to everyone.
Charlie

Steve
05-19-2008, 10:36 AM
Charlie,

If you can say, what other type of business are you in? Is it a service based business? Is there anyway you can create some synergy out of the two businesses?

COWPOP
05-19-2008, 07:58 PM
Steve,
I am a manager/stockholder-owner of an auto, marine, and heavy duty truck parts business. With this, I have some customers that are in the lawn care business that have given us leads on the customers that we have. We also sell lawn mower parts. One of my guys does the service work on customers mowing machines, commercial and residential. We worked together at a John Deere dealership that I managed, years ago. I have passed out business cards to customers and word of mouth to try to gain more mowing business.
Thanks,
Charlie

Steve
05-19-2008, 09:25 PM
WOW! Well how about that!

Is there anything we can do here to help you promote your other business? Do you have a website? We can get that in your forum signature and let others know about your products!


Also, you had me thinking about something

Quote[/b] ]After helping my son purchase the lawn equipment and helping with his finances (signing an equity note) he comes to me to say he's done he wants no more of this.

I have a feeling a lot of other parents out there really try hard to get their kids started off right and do nice things like you did for your son.

Could you give our forum readers advice on how best to handle a situation where a child wants a parent to help them take out a loan for a business? What should they do or shouldn't they do?

COWPOP
05-20-2008, 08:45 PM
Steve,
I had to laugh when you asked to give advise. I feel I am one to give it. You know we have always been there for our childeren. Please, don't get me wrong we are not a family that hands them everything they want on a silver platter. We have tried to teach them to be responsible, put others before yourself and always, always, remember family matters. And one other thing, never forget your maker, the Lord above, he is always there for you. We have been very blessed with two childeren. One as you know 23 (son) and another 17 (daughter). We have went though are share of tuff times together which I think it has made is a tighter family. I know this sounds like a TV program. I always say, problems are not the problem it's self, the problem is how do you handle the problem. I agree they can be really tuff.

About helping your childeren with financing, I think first you need to really have them understand how serious it is. It can be good our it can be really bad. You try to show them this. Our childeren have seen how hard the wife and I have had it in the past with finances which has showed them the importance. We also have tried to explain and show them what you can accomplish with hard work, whether it's in your school work, your job or just raking leaves or mowing grass. (ha,ha)

The hardest thing I faught with before I agreed to help with the loan was how committed will my son be. And I guess at this point I really read him wrong. One thing we have done in the past with borrowing money is to make them work for a part of it. Like when he bought his first car. We had to save some money for half of it and we would help with the rest. That worked great. He bought the car. Before he did this, we had a talke about money that he would need for insurance etc., which he was going to have to be responsible for.

So I guess the only advice I can give is do the best you can in helping your childeren, but first and formost teach them responsibility and the importance of that.

You know, one thing keeps coming to my mind is what my mothers doctor said to me aftr she past away. She said that she was always worried would we be ok if she *wasn't around. So that is what I tell our childeren I want them to be ok.

I am sorry I have went on and on. This forum is really not he place to do this.
But, Steve thanks for having faith in me to ask the questions you have asked.

Please forgive me for my spelling. Thats way I married a school teacher so I could *have a live in spell checker, but she has went to bed on me.

Thanks again over and over to everyone.
Charlie
cowpop59@yahoo.com

Steve
05-20-2008, 10:32 PM
Hi Charlie,

Quote[/b] ]I am sorry I have went on and on. This forum is really not he place to do this.
But, Steve thanks for having faith in me to ask the questions you have asked.

I think that was a fantastic response and I feel this is the place for it. There is someone right now reading this and finding themselves in the same situation. In fact there will be more readers and forum members in the future who will read this and appreciate you spreading your words of wisdom to us all.

There are many many entrepreneurs who are sitting down right now and thinking, what do I need to get started.

As a business owner.

Do you feel that when one is starting a new business, should they get started with the absolute bare bones minimum they need to get started or should they step into the game well prepared to do battle with larger competitors?

Can both ways lead to success or is one more advantageous?

COWPOP
05-21-2008, 08:34 PM
Hey Steve,

Good question. I think when you are looking into starting a business you first want to look into a need. I have been in service, sales and retail all my life. I really enjoy service first and formost. Because you can see your finished product or job that you have done. If you go into something were there really is a lot of competion you want to look for something that you can do that will stand out ahead the others. Something that the customer will remember you for. One thing I do in our business is I offer my time to find parts that are hard to find. It makes repeat customers. And there are other things that I offer. When our delivery trucks are on the road we offer to pick up lunch, run errands, or even pick up parts from other suppliers for them. Of course we only do this if we going in that direction to start with. But we always ask if we could help. In the hot summer months we carry coolers in our trucks and offer ice cold drunks to everyone even if there are constructions workers on our we to a customers location we stop and offer them drinks. It really is amazing what extra sales this brings in.
As far as starting bare boned or jumping in feet first. At first I always had this ideas of things to start and didn't have the funds to start anything so I would start "bare boned" and someone would come a long with my idea and pass me by and be successfull. So I bit the bullet and moved up and ran with the big dogs. But you must do you research and be prepard plus also be prepard for failure. Sometimes you my have to fail before you can succeed. Something else you must have is the drive in you gut to make things happen. I think this comes from HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT and no one can help you with this but yourself.
A guy in business told me one time that a business is like a bus and you need to make the right choices of how you want to fill the bus to keep it on the path to success. Making sure that you have the right people in the right seats on the bus. I thought for a moment and then I said, #### with riding on the bus I wanted to drive. I have always remembered that. Do you want to ride the bus or do you want to drive. I have found that it has been hard to keep the bus on course. But you have to make that decision, drive or ride.

I will be the first to say that you don't want to drive around an empty bus either. Good employee's are hard to find, but that is another topic that would take a while.

I guess if I had to do it over again, starting out, I would find something that I enjoy to do and you can make a living at it and I would jump in feet first.

I hope those that read my posts don't take it wrong and think I am one that has or had it made. No matter what you do in life it is hard work, marriage, family, childeren and business. And always keep those that matter the most by your side because they are great support in the the time of need and they to when learn from your actions.
I dearly love what I do and I, we , have been very, very, blessed.

Steve,
Thanks for your questions. I look forward in the evening to set down to see what you have to say.

Thanks again,
Charlie

Steve
05-21-2008, 11:08 PM
Hi Charlie,

You have so many great things you said in the last post, I wanted to pick one part out at a time because I know a lot of us would love to hear your insights.

Quote[/b] ]And there are other things that I offer. When our delivery trucks are on the road we offer to pick up lunch, run errands, or even pick up parts from other suppliers for them. Of course we only do this if we going in that direction to start with. But we always ask if we could help. In the hot summer months we carry coolers in our trucks and offer ice cold drunks to everyone even if there are constructions workers on our we to a customers location we stop and offer them drinks. It really is amazing what extra sales this brings in.

Now I know this may or may not translate well into lawn care but I think it will open all our minds to being creative in the way we attract customers.

Can you tell us a little more on how doing things like picking up lunch or carrying coolers with ice cold drinks can help a business grow?

All to often, I think we all see the way to gaining new customers is to hand out flyers or business cards, but with what you are describing, a business owner really needs to sit back and see things from a bigger perspective.

How did you come up with these marketing ideas?

COWPOP
05-22-2008, 08:36 PM
Hey Steve,

Competition is so tuff out there you have to be creative.

I have always tried to think of ways for the customer to keep me on their mind. So when they need something they will give me first call. We also buy lunch for the customer that has bought the most for the month. For the the next four customers that purchase the most, we buy breakfast. Then every quarter we give away dinner for the business owner and wife and his employees of the business that has purchased the most in a quarter. Its funny, because we have customers always calling to see where they stand in purchases made or who is ahead.

I have also contacted some of the local clubs in the area and offered a special discount on purchases made if they can show me proof of been a club member. This works great.

All of these ideas and things that we do are all having to do with makeing more sales. It has brought in people that are first timers or someone has told someone about us and they come in.

As far as the drink coolers, our trucks are very well marked and as we hand out drinks we also talk about our business and what we do. And we might hand out a buisness card.

We try to explain to everyone that we make it our business to care about them and there needs not to just treat them as another number or what we might look like on the stock market (ha which we are not on any market).

I have a good friend that is a vet. When he makes his farm vists his wife makes fresh cookies for everyone.

As far as where do I get the ideas. I just try to look at what people like and listen to there wants. My wife always laughs at me because, we will be together and I would see something that would give me an idea for something to try.

Don't take it wrong I am always working on inventory, sells, profits, expenses and the all mighty bottom line. We do run a business.

But I think if you treat everyone like a human and supply A1 parts and service at a far price you will do just fine.

You can do the same thing in the lawn care business as I do. Make your customer feel special. I have went as far as finding out my customers family. The wife, the childeren, birthdays. Try to be there when there is a death in thier family or a wedding. Don't make them think that all you are out for is to take there money. I think forming relationships is a big part of do busniess.

I am one that tries to spend every day with a smile on my face and I am always laughing and making jokes. I love life even if it kicks you in the ###. Always help those that need you. Life is what you make it.

One last thing ( I promise ). We are always inside the box looking out. Take time and stand outside and look around, it's amazing to see what you might be missing.

Thanks as always,
Charlie

Steve
05-23-2008, 08:09 PM
Hi Charlie,

Those are fantastic ideas. With all these marketing ideas you have used in your business, which do you feel would translate best to the lawn care industry?

Could you do anything with drinks as you have done? Or possibly with buying breakfast or dinner? Could any of that translate?

Would it work better to land residential or commercial clients?

Do you often find yourself thinking of things that might work well in one of your businesses but not well in another?