May 15, 2012
By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartI hope when you mange to take time out of your frantic schedule to read this, it might help you examine the many levels of stress you have experienced during this crazily busy month. Reflect on the great people with whom you have networked during the past winter. Remember, we are all in our own pressure cooker right now, but we are all here to support each other’s goals and successes.

Joining Landscape Ontario launched my business success in ways I had never anticipated. It also enriched my career beyond my wildest imagination.

When I began my involvement with Landscape Ontario offerings, my business was running me. I didn’t know it then, but I sure do now. I thought back then that the harder I worked, the better and easier things would become.

By talking to my industry peers, I learned about putting systems in place and how to manage people. Isn’t hindsight absolutely 20/20? I struggled to work my way through the myriad of rumours 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 so on and so on.

I just wanted to work. I didn’t want to get mired in the red tape of regulations and government imposed rules. Boy, was I flying blind.

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

Back then, I felt like my company had a revolving door of employees coming and going. There was a stack of resumes on my desk. But, I didn’t know how to hire properly, and because of that paid the high price of training new people over and over again.

I attended Congress every year, going to seminars, and roaming the show floor hoping to find a miracle. But, I kept thinking about my business in the same way, so I kept getting the same results. It wasn’t until I really started to engage with people who I met at various seminars and workshops in Milton, that I learned to step back and consider how I was running my business and that the business was running me.

May is the busiest month of the year for most of us. It is a time when I think about the people who I have met through the Prosperity Partners program. I reflect on their Prosperity Partners experiences this past winter. It feels good to know that the program has helped them ease the stress of running a business.

There are countless ways to network, and it all starts with meeting people in the same industry, who have similar business challenges. There are so many informal peer groups created by fellow participants of the Prosperity Partners seminars. Some of them have structure, and some do not.

Sign up for one of many structured and managed peer groups for a hefty fee, or leverage your LO membership as your peer group fee. Most peers meet at your convenience. Ask them questions, mentor and be mentored. The real value 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 the base, you establish through exploration and reflection.

I have been exposed to thousands of years of experience. I have been able to pluck ideas, resources, reading materials, new product ideas, systems and technical savvy. Not once has anyone declined to give me their best advice, share a template, system or helpful information of any kind. I have given back by helping hundreds, if not thousands of business owners, 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 rush your way through this busy season, reflect for a moment on your connections, people you have 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, 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 so important for 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 to engage with each other, share experiences and ideas.
Jacki Hart may be contacted at