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5 Marketing Mistakes to Fix RIGHT NOW

(The original article by Vanessa McQuade can be found HERE.)

Marketing. Everyone has an opinion. Some are good, most are not and few are backed by data and facts. So, how do you figure out what to do?

For the last three years, business has been booming. We are now facing headwinds and need to sharpen our approach to maintain healthy growth.

With that in mind, here are five common marketing mistakes to avoid in order to set yourself up for success.

#1: Marketing to the wrong part of your customers' brain

People make decisions emotionally, and then rationalize those decisions intellectually. We first need to engage the limbic brain, responsible for emotion and decision making.

Author Simon Sinek’s research dove into how the best leaders communicated. Long story short, they communicated through purpose and emotional engagement. A famous example of this is Martin Luther King crying out “I have a dream!”, not “I have a plan.”

We have to speak with purpose...

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Increased Value, Increased Profit

Being a landscape/snow business owner is hard. There are a million things vying for your attention, and
it’s usually the most urgent that gets it. Meanwhile, your business keeps going – but is it growing? Has it
increased in value over the last year? The truth is that most landscape business owners have no idea
what their business is worth or how it’s actually doing. They’re usually fantastic technicians, happy to be
working IN the business, but rarely ON the business. But knowing the value of your business, and
understanding the steps needed to take to increase its value are critical for the growth and health of the business. It will increase profitability now and also make your business more attractive to potential buyers – whether you’re looking at selling now or in the future.

Let’s take a look at six pillars of business and identify some best practices and tools you can implement
fairly easily to increase efficiency, productivity...

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The Low Snow Blues

Our next-door neighbour builds the most amazing ice rink in his backyard every year. It’s complete with curved corners, painted 2’ boards all the way around, lights, and netting to catch stray pucks. The only thing that’s missing is a scoreboard and lines in the ice, though I expect those are coming. It’s a work of art. But this year, it’s been more like a wading pool than an ice rink. It’s been so sad.

The weather this year has been unlike anything I can remember in all my years in landscaping. As I write this, it’s February 7 and 9°C in Toronto. There are no snow piles and no frost in the ground. Many of our clients are concerned about what this means for their business, both this year and in the future if this weather trend continues. While a light winter may have its pros and cons, one thing is certain – we need to adapt and make changes in our practices and snow contracts to survive in the face of low snow seasons.


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Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

nextraconsulting Dec 11, 2023

As you may have already known, I took some time off last year in order to avoid some significant burnout. Our team was gracious in their approach to me and Marla and took over some of my responsibilities during that time so that I could get the rest I needed. Marla and I will forever be grateful to them for that.

Since that time, I’ve been more intentional about evaluating our business, my role, my strengths, and weaknesses, and how to best provide for the needs of our team moving forward.

We feel that it’s time for us to simplify what we’re doing and focus on what we do best – business coaching.

With that in mind, we have sold our HR and Finance divisions to PowerGroup, a company that shares our core values and desires to see its staff and clients succeed. They are committed to providing excellent HR and Finance services, while we will focus exclusively on coaching.

Our HR and Finance staff (Charolette, Rachel and Annette) are exceptional – absolutely...

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Strategic Planning: Marketing & Sales

This week in our strategic planning series, we’re focusing on marketing and sales. This is often an area that we give little attention to. We generally focus on providing an excellent product or service – and we should. But if we don’t let people know how our excellent product or service will enhance their life, and why we’re the best choice for that product or service, we will likely not experience the type of growth we want.


Marketing can be thought of as all activities a business carries out to:

  • Identify its target market
  • Prepare promotional material designed to appeal to ideal client
  • Communicate the material in a cost-effective manner
  • Distribute the product or service to the target market

To be effective at marketing, you should be doing each of these four activities. If you have a great product or service but communicate it to the wrong market segment, the marketing won’t be effective. If you have great marketing material, but...

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Building Strategic Plans

A strategic plan defines who you are as a business and lists concrete actions to achieve your goals, so creating one takes time and thought. Let’s discuss the W’s of strategic planning:

Who should be involved?

Clearly the owner should be involved. And depending on the type of plan you’re creating, you might also want to include division leaders, administration, sales staff, operations management and a facilitator.

What should be discussed or decided?

The strategic plan meeting should identify or review the company vision, mission and core values, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, company goals and objectives as well as an action plan.

When should you prepare a strategic plan?

A strategic plan should be created annually, reviewed quarterly and discussed weekly.

Where should the meeting take place?

It has been our experience that the most productive meetings take place outside of the office. We recommend booking an offsite location...

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Strategic Planning 1: Navigating HR

This month we’re focusing on strategic planning. If you’ve been watching our social media at all, you know that I’ve been teaching about strategic planning at the Waterloo Chapter monthly meetings. These meetings are open to anyone, so I invite you to join us in December. For more information about the meetings, or to view the previous content that’s been presented, click HERE.

To begin our series, we’re going to focus on HR. This can feel a bit like navigating landmines, but by implementing some of the following tips and recommendations, you’ll be able to recruit and retain great employees.

  1.  Implement effective recruitment and hiring practices

“Always be hiring” is advice we regularly give. Finding the right person is more important than just filling a position, so always be looking for great people. Then once you find them – or they find you – you’ll be more prepared to find a spot for them.

One of the best...

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Book Review: Mental Health and Wellness in the Workplace

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2023

As October is Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to showcase to you a recently published book entitled Mental Health and Well Being in the Workplace; A Practical Guide for Employers and Employees by Gill Hasson and Donna Butler. This book does not disappoint and certainly lives up to its title of gaining practical guidance around mental health and well-being.

 Did you know that burnout is highlighted - not as a medical condition, but as an occupational phenomenon, burnout being defined as chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed? Or that more than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their lives because of work, which may increase their vulnerability to mental health problems? Or that 90% of people who called in sick because of stress say that gave a different reason? Or that the more hours you spend at work, the more hours outside of work you are likely to spend thinking or worrying about it; as a person's weekly hours increase, so...

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Owner Health: The Healthy Workplace

Over the last four articles, we’ve been talking about how we, as business owners can get healthy and stay healthy. We’ve talked about physical, mental and emotional health, as well as decision fatigue. For this article, we’re turning the attention to our staff and how we can promote a healthy work environment for them. Perhaps we can use some of the information we’ve gained over the last few articles to create a work environment and mentality that promotes the well-being of our greatest asset…our staff.

We are heading into darker and colder months, months that are generally harder for people. It is my desire, as I’m sure it’s yours, to provide an environment that acknowledges and actively seeks to provide for the needs of staff in order for them to be healthy and effective, as well as ensure they’re with us for the long haul.

A safe workplace

In my experience, the best thing we can do for our staff is to make sure they know it’s...

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Owner Health: Should I Stay or Should I Go (Decision Fatigue)

I love going out for dinner with my wife. But I hate deciding which restaurant to go to. This is an issue for us because she, too, hates deciding where to go. If our conversations about where to have dinner were recorded, they would be painful to listen to. For your amusement, here’s an example:

Me: “Where do you want to eat?”

Her: “I don’t care. Where do you want to eat?”

Me: “It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll eat anywhere?”

Her: “Do you feel like anything in particular?”

Me: “No. Do you?”

Her: “No. Would you please just make a decision?!”

Like I said…painful. I remember the first time I heard about decision fatigue. Finally our struggle to decide on a restaurant made sense to me. We make so many decisions each day, that by the time dinner rolls around, we are done.

Medical News Today defines decision fatigue as “a psychological phenomenon surrounding a person’s ability or...

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