May 15, 2010

By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners program manager

Jacki HartThere is no doubt in my mind that joining Landscape Ontario launched my business success in ways that I never anticipated. It also enriched my career beyond my wildest imagination.

It is my hope that by pausing in your frantic schedule to read this, it might help you surf the stresses of this wildly busy month. I want to encourage you to reflect on the great people you have networked with for your business and career over the past winter. I also want you to know that we are all in our own pressure cooker right now, and we are all here to support each others goals and success.

When I started to engage in Landscape Ontario offerings, my business was running me. I didn’t know that then, but I sure do now. I thought back then that the harder I worked, the better and easier things would become. It wasn’t until I learned through talking to my industry peers, that unless I put systems in place and learned to manage people, I would remain in the pressure cooker that I had created for myself. Hindsight is absolutely 20/20.

At that time, I struggled to navigate my way through the myriad of rumours that I’d heard about health and safety compliance, the unmanageable burden of expense to train and sign-off on everything we do, managing remittances in a timely way, learning how to manage my cash flow, and the list goes on. I just wanted to work and not get mired in the red tape of regulations and government imposed rules. In hindsight, I was flying blind.

By working like a relentless bulldog, I didn’t make the problems go away, I had only exaggerated them. I could not have made things more difficult for myself if I had done so intentionally.

Back then, there was a stack of resumes on my desk to choose from, which was a good thing. Sometimes, I felt like my company had a revolving door of employees coming and going. I didn’t know how to hire properly and paid the high price of training new people over and over again.

I went to Congress every year, attended seminars, and roamed the show floor looking for miracles to jump out in front of me. However, I kept thinking about my business the same way, so I kept getting the same results. It wasn’t until I really started to engage with people I had met at various seminars and workshops in Milton that I learned to step back and reconsider the ways in which I was running my business and why the business was running me.

This is the busiest month of the year for most of us, and it is a time when I often think about the people I have met through the Prosperity Partners program. I reflect on how their Prosperity Partners experiences this past winter have helped them in some way to ease the stress of running a business.

There are countless ways to network, and it all starts with just getting out there and meeting people in the same industry, with similar business challenges and working together toward solutions.

There are so many informal peer groups, many which have been created by fellow participants of the Prosperity Partners seminars. Some of them have structure, and some do not. You can sign up for one of many structured and managed peer groups for a hefty fee, or you can leverage your LO membership as your peer group fee, and meet peers at your own convenience, ask them questions, mentor and be mentored. The real value exchange comes in sharing common goals, road blocks, solutions, and ideas, regardless of the structure. From peer discussions comes the confidence to create improvement and new potential in your own business. By expanding on the base, you establish through exploration and reflection.

Without a doubt, I can assure you that by engaging with my peers I have been exposed to thousands of years of experience, from which I have picked and plucked ideas, resources, reading materials, new product ideas, systems and technical savvy. And, the most magical part of our gift of networking is that not once has someone declined to give me their best advice, share a template, system or helpful information of any kind. Not once.

I have given back by helping hundreds of business owners, if not thousands, by sharing my experience. The best part is that I still feel indebted and grateful for all of those who have shared ideas with me.

So, while you lurch your way through this busy season, reflect for a moment on the connections you have, people you’ve met with similar challenges, ideas you’ve learned, and friendships made by being a part of this green community that we call LO. We are truly fortunate to have programs like the Prosperity Partners program, which serves as a conduit for engagement, provides a framework which demystifies the questions of ‘now what?’, and is an invaluable tool to help navigate the challenges of business one step at a time.

It is because of this successful model which combines peer-to-peer engagement with sound business management skills that has made the Build Your Prosperity seminar now mandatory for all new members to LO. It serves as an introduction to the quality of professional development, mentoring and mutual improvement goals of this association.

Networking is the life blood of the new economy. It is also a huge benefit to all in our Landscape Ontario community who engage with each other, share experiences and ideas.

Meeting with peers over lunch: $15. Networking with peers: priceless!

For those new members to Landscape Ontario, the following is a list of upcoming seminar dates to accommodate your mandatory membership requirement to complete the first Prosperity Partners seminar:

  • Ottawa, July 19, Garden Creations of Ottawa
  • London, July 27, Fanshawe College
  • Milton, July 28, Landscape Ontario

To register, please go to

Jacki Hart may be reached at