If the unpredictable Nigeria weather isn't enough to dampen your desire to work outside, then gardening is a great industry to get involved in. With the ease of networking and use of a strong hobby, entrepreneurs are in a good position to start a successful business.
If you have dreams of wanting to make a living interacting with people outside of an office environment, this article will guide you and give you a head start to get your name out there. Who knows, one day you may find yourself exhibiting at the world famous Flower Show.
[b]START A DAILY ROUTINE (Day-to-day)[/b]
It's difficult to pinpoint a strict routine for someone running a gardening business but, for many, this might just be a part of the market appeal. More as, you're guaranteed early morning starts and weekend work. Customers typically want their work finished at specific times and may want you to be around the house when it is done.
If you plan on taking less residential work and working with businesses instead, you're going to find you will have a more regular working day. However, it might be hard to find these corporate contracts in your early start-ups. Keep in mind that commitment is all you need to give to networking and administration.
Another thing is, showing up on time, even in the early hours of the day, maintaining good relationships with clients will help spread your name.
Due to a combination of simplicity and pre-established networking opportunities, it is most common to start a gardening business close to your home. But, don't just take my word for it, research your location first so as to know how many competitors you will be up against, what they are offering and their prices.
If you have seen someone who's already using a well priced and effective gardening business near you, it is going to be very hard to get the customers. Your best option is to look at areas where there's a need, and start offering services in those areas. So do your research and make sure you know as much as possible about where you are going into business.
Once you're done scouting those few areas, start looking out for large areas that you can reach, weigh up their benefits, such as market appeal, gaps in the market, advantages and disadvantages such as commuting time and expenses. Once you have this sort out, you can decide what/where will be the first location of your business.
Running a gardening business requires you to function in a lot of different ways. While your ability to create beautiful landscapes will be tested regularly as a business owner, so will your financial expertise and people skills.
Moreover, before committing yourself to the business, you need to know if you possess the following skills:
• Communication skills
• A knack for designs
• Planting and general gardening expertise
• Bargaining skills to cut costs and increase profits
• Reliability to hold up your business' name
• The motivation to keep working in the wonderfully changeable Nigeria weather
• A grasp of business and management skills
As you start your gardening business, you will need some clout to show you what you are going to be doing in a garden. While a huge portfolio of your work will help bring the clients, so also will a professional qualification.
There is a wide range of options available, like obtaining a certificate in practical horticulture or working for an established landscaping company. Make sure you conduct a proper research on the business so as to build your business and enhance your skills.
One of the best aspects of starting a gardening business is the low costs, you get to set up without searching for outside funding.
Other than what you spend on any qualifications, your outlay will go towards equipment, goods and marketing. You can cut cost by establishing good relationships with suppliers although you will need to purchase a couple of equipment from the start-up.
When starting up, it's advisable to combine buying a smaller set of equipment to hiring large, more expensive ones to keep your invested cash to a minimum before you know how well your business will fare.
On the profits side, ensure to stay realistic about what you can make and grab every available opportunity. Starting up takes a lot of hard work, but if you combined your work with effective marketing, you're sure to bring in a good income.
Insurance is a big deal in the gardening industry. You need something, which covers you for accidents, injury, theft and damage to property and others.
[b]ADVERTISING AND MARKETING[/b]
Having an in-depth knowledge and skill sets you apart and gives you something to sell yourself to help you reel in business, even when competition might be stiff in the market. Once you know what you can offer, get the word out too far and near; while local advertising such as papers and shop windows may work, it will be far more effective to spread your name through friends, family, and contacts. Make sure to use a website to advertise yourself and effectively brand your company in order not to lose out.
Aside from this, consider striking up deals with garden centres and other businesses in your area. If you are buying goods from them regularly, and they do not offer landscaping services themselves, then maybe they can recommend you to customers.
Don't be blind to the range of opportunities available. While acting as a gardener, remember you could be selling tools and products to your customers.
Be both professional and friendly with clients. Striking up friendships with all your clients is the best way to bring in business, but always stay professional, have prices agreed and decisions documented to prevent unwelcome disagreements later on.
Never let yourself become disorganised - just because you currently have a few jobs lined up, doesn't mean you shouldn't be scouting for more in the near future. But, at the same time, double booking yourself is not a good idea as it might leave at least one customer dissatisfied and may cause negative impressions. So stay organised to remain on top of your clients.