November 15, 2019
Learn a lot from fellow business owners
The annual summit included a fun boat cruise.
Jacki HartLandscape Ontario’s Peer to Peer Network held its annual Muskoka Summit in Gravenhurst, Ont., Sept. 21-22. Once again, the two-day event proved to be an amazing, information-packed weekend for all business owners and managers who took time to attend.

On day one, participants spent a full day reviewing industry benchmarks across five key business areas: overhead, sales effectiveness, marketing, estimating, and change orders/job tracking. In addition, we were joined by Joe Salemi, Vice President of Dynascape, who came armed with some great stats, information, tips, tricks and advice.

The second day featured an action-packed discussion with a lively and vastly experienced panel of successful business owners. Facilitated by Tony DiGiovanni, Landscape Ontario Executive Director, the panel gave advice and shared experiences on how they survived the enduring and overwhelming demands of scaling up a business. The panel included: Janna Bradley, COO at LMN; Scott Wentworth, President, The Scott Wentworth Landscape Group; Kevin Scott, President, Muskoka Landscapers, Cypress Gardeners, Blackwood Property Management (and several other related companies); Tyler Lockhart, Financial Lending Consultant, Muskoka Futures; and myself — both as a former landscaping business owner and now as an active business coach.

At the end of the two-day Summit, our 40 peers were asked to share the top things they had learned by participating. Here’s what they said as a result of the lively and deep, meaningful discussions:
  • We all have the same/similar pain points.
  • It’s important to investing in your team.
  • There’s an exciting future for our industry and many opportunities all around us for well-managed growth.
  • Step back and understand your numbers every week – work ON your business not just IN it.
  • Networking is AMAZING!
  • Values will drive success, not get in the way of it.
  • The energy of the LO Peer to Peer Network is a HUGE source of inspiration and support.
  • People make mistakes when they panic.
  • Know your numbers (at least monthly), AND SHARE THEM WITH YOUR TEAM.
  • You have to spend money to make money. Long-term debt for long-term assets.
  • A business plan is a must.
  • Salary versus hourly pay is an important question for retention strategies.
  • Identify the leaders in your midst and engage them.
  • It’s okay not to grow. You can focus on improving profit instead and make good money.
  • Shut the phone off and enjoy family time every week.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Growth is possible. Confidence is crucial.
After members of the group had shared the points above, someone then asked me what my top take away was. I was caught a bit off guard, but immediately knew my answer: “That running the LO Peer Network is highly-valued and validated,” I responded.

I would like to personally thank everyone who actively engages in the LO Peer to Peer Network at our various events and in the ongoing discussions online. As we forge ahead into a new year, I urge all of you who are already active in the association to also make the time and effort to join our effective management improvement workshops. Over 130 of your peers already find the group a fantastic place to learn, improve, and benefit from the collective knowledge of others. There are many things you can learn, but also many things that know more about than others. The workshops will help you to learn, share, build skills, connection with others and gain confidence.

It’s simple to join – you just need to be an owner or upper manager of an LO member company, and send an email to

Our next gathering (which sold out quickly last year), will take place Jan. 6 on Warm Up Monday, in conjunction with Congress 2020. Visit to register.
Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager