An employee with Ramey’s Yard Care fertilizes a lawn.
Who knew that what started as a part-time gig in high school for Scott Ramey would become "Ramey's Yard Care and Pest Control," a local business providing 16 local jobs and serving thousands of clients.
Scott and his wife Kristy grew the business from the ground up when they moved to Coeur d'Alene 24 years ago. After long days of placing hundreds of letters on doorsteps, the phone slowly started ringing. Each job brought referrals for additional work. One of his first weekly jobs that netted just $15 per week garnered a referral to a property management company. "Soon we were mowing condo complexes and other properties," says Scott, "What a blessing! 24 years later, we still work for those wonderful people!"
After 18 years of being in business, he felt he had reached a plateau. "We were doing OK," he says, "but I knew we could do much better. I just didn't know how to get to the next level. We all get stuck in our thinking sometimes, or simply run out of ideas."
LEARNING TO GROW
Scott heard about the one-on-one business coaching at North Idaho Colleges' Small Business Development Center from a friend. After deciding to give it a try, he reported, "I learned that a business is only going to rise to the level of its leader and that I had a lot to learn."
His business coach helped him recognize the importance and necessity of setting specific goals rather than just "working hard but wandering into the future." Together they would regularly review those goals and create action steps to reach them. For Scott, taking time to step away from the business and review "the numbers helped him to think and plan strategically rather than simply reacting to current circumstances.”
With coaching, Scott says, “I now know I do have the ability to do better. Having a fresh outside perspective along with some accountability helped me be more confident in where we are going. I’ve been able to see which jobs are most profitable and how to develop those segments. I’m better able to track employee productions. Things run more efficiently. The bottom line is we are just much more profitable now.”
HURDLES AND HEDGES
As with any business, Ramey has had his hurdles. From limited cash to managing growth and employees, each stage had a barrier to break through. Early on, cash flow was managed by living very frugally, borrowing only when necessary, and being realistic about expectations. With his business coach, he was able to “truly understand and document expenses and revenue to make honest and wise decisions based on the true numbers.”
While many businesses are struggling today with finding and keeping good employees, Scott learned early on that “they are the backbone and heart of the business. You are who you hire. When you get good ones, take great care of them.” He’s worked hard to develop a company culture that people want to be a part of. As a result, their low employee turnover rate translates to a highly experienced and dedicated staff.
HEALTHY BUSINESSES MAKE EVERYONE STRONGER
Known on Google for being punctual, professional, and having great products, it’s easy to see why so many rely on Ramey’s Yard Care and Pest Control. They have a reputation for taking good care of their customers and community as a whole. Just last year, a food drive, organized by Ramey's staff with several other lawn care companies generated more than 2,000 pounds of food to restock the shelves of local food banks. Businesses run by great leaders create healthy businesses that are the foundation of strong local economies and communities.
Scott shares his leadership lessons learned from growing Ramey's Yard Care into a first-class provider of landscape spray and pest control services over the years. "All of us need to constantly learn and improve. Don't expect success to come cheaply, easily, or quickly. Sometimes you need to exercise some humility and seek counsel, and advice, and expose yourself to new ways of thinking. If you are willing to work at improving as a leader, your business will improve as well.
To learn more about how to grow as a business leader or to schedule a no-cost meeting with a business coach, visit NISBDC.com or contact 208-665-5085. Click links to register for the free Business Acceleration Series or Special Topic Wednesday Webinars.
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Katrina Boyer is the Training Coordinator at the North Idaho College Small Business Development Center.