FAQ

Common
Questions About
Rmark

These are some of the most frequently asked questions me and the business of landscaping. If you don’t see your question here, contact me directly via my contact form.

How would you describe the ideal Rmark client?

The ideal client…

  • Runs a 5-50 person business. The principles apply to any type of business. I just happen to know landscaping. 
  • Has heard of Open Book Management, is interested in it and wants me to help them avoid the difficulties of change and the associated financial and mental mistakes along the way.
  • Will allow me to candidly and kindly challenge their beliefs and make suggestions. At times they may need thick skin to hear what I believe is the truth and look past my lack of good bedside manner.
  • Is facing what they feel is a realization, turning point or recurring hurdle that continually keeps them up at night.
  • Realizes I am NOT there to do the work for them. In order to attain true and lasting results the game has to be played by the players with direction and interaction from the coach/advisor. That’s not to say I am not willing to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. Inevitably my success will be measured by theirs.
  • Is tired of the “lonely at the top” feeling and can subscribe to the notion that if they were truly “on top” there wouldn’t be a feeling of loneliness. 
  • Has no hesitation about my fee because they know that not hiring me will be much more expensive in the long run.
  • Is ready to invest time and resources now to ensure there is a better future for all stakeholders – their employees, family, community, suppliers, etc.
  • Is willing and engaged from the very beginning, listening and reading with intense focus, and then jumping into implementation like they are both excited and scared shitless at the same time. I’m here to help, but I don’t do “needy,” helpless” or “the urgent is more important” very well.
  • Has chosen to listen to a different perspective but at the same time is willing to test each piece of advice rather than simply accepting it blindly.

I have always surrounded myself with fun, good natured, hard working, competitive and humble people. Nothing fuels my fire more than sharing my experience and expertise to help someone who is open to change and is already taking a good run at living their dreams.

What is Open Book Management?

OBM is many things, but mainly it’s a time-tested, common sense way to run your business based on this theory: 

If you want people to think and act like an owner, everyone needs the same information to think and act on.

Operating this way:

  • Provides employees with the tools, education and pertinent financial data needed to understand the rules of your business.
  • Shows them in real time how their actions affect the outcome.
  • Empowers them to make better choices.
  • Gives them a stake in the cultural and financial results.

What Open Book Management is not.

Open Book Management:

  • Isn’t just about opening your financial records to employees and hoping they feel involved enough to act like an owner.
  • Is not a spectator sport. Sitting on the sidelines hoping your team will win for you simply doesn’t work. You need to teach, play, learn, lead by example and share in the outcome – win or lose – just like everybody else.

Is not a quick fix. Long lasting, positive change takes time – often longer than you would care to imagine. Like anything worth doing it takes effort and commitment.

When is the best time to implement OBM?

I’d like to say there is no time like the present. But there will be other factors that help determine this answer – factors related to other commitments you have made, how tied to the front line you are, etc. 

It might be better to ‘clean up the clutter’ of those other commitments  in order to prepare yourself.  This, in itself, could be considered part of the process! A good conversation is probably the best place to start.

What can I expect from you?

My clients are often at a point where they’re not able to see the forest for the trees. Fortunately, I’m not bogged down by the history, politics and habits of your organization. 

As an Advisor/Coach, I’m there to help improve performance and take you through a process of self-discovery and skill development. This will ultimately lead to you being more capable as a leader and help you grow your business. 

Think of me as fresh eyes. I’m open to all possibilities, bringing a new and valuable perspective to your business. I am not the subject matter expert, nor will I claim to have all the answers. What I will claim is to know the value of a third-party perspective , someone who isn’t there to deliver long reports, or even any reports at all. 

My distance and objectivity enable me to see solutions, options and choices, then offer the clear, concise and appropriate interventions. And I suggest you embrace them with both hands.

What are your payment terms?

All services require a 50% deposit upon booking with the balance due when we commence.  All are non-refundable, for any reason.

Exceptions: The initial 50% deposit holds the date. If the engagement is canceled before full payment is received, all funds paid, plus any time/materials already delivered, are payable upon cancellation. Other exceptions on my terms may apply. 

Here’s why:

I want my name associated with your success and that requires a large commitment from me. This can result in me turning away other deserving clients. As I only work with a handful of clients at a time I need to be sure your commitment is real.

The reason is not to boost my cash flow. Rather, it gives me the freedom to be completely transparent with you, not harboring any fear that you’ll be upset and withhold payment.

Can you share with me some documents, scoreboards, etc that you have used for your business or others you have consulted with?

No. I am not in the business of giving my – or my clients’ – work away.

The nature of the work I do with my clients is proprietary – they have put in the hard work to get to this point. Giving it away simply isn’t fair to them.

I have made several recommendations on my Resources page. These can definitely help you to learn about many of the very principles I include in my services and why Open Book Management is arguably the most efficient and effective way to run a business. 

Do I have to tell employees how much I make?

The short answer is no – but I do. Let me explain why…

Statistics prove that the majority of employees think business owners make much more than they actually do. 

From the beginning I knew I had to build and maintain trust, and that transparency would be the key factor. It would be me under the proverbial microscope and I didn’t want there to be opportunity for finger-pointing when the financial goals the employees helped set weren’t met and there was less than “expected” or even not enough share from our Profit Gain Sharing Program. 

I want employees to know where the money comes from, where it goes and what is left over at the end of the year. 

Educating my team on the difference between the compensation for my working role within the organization and what a fair ROI would be as an owner is an important part of the BIG picture. 

Why can't I just tell my employees what is important?

Sorry but everyone has their own ideas about life priorities, so unless you involve them it will be just a job trying to achieve what’s important to you. Why? Because if you don’t ask then you are indicating that their ideas and input are not important .

People support what they help create.

If people don’t participate they don’t buy in, if they don’t buy in they don’t commit, if they don’t commit they don’t deliver.

Engaging your team shifts the mindset from “that is your plan” to “this is our plan.”

I have one big issue I need your help with, but I don’t see a package dealing specifically with that, and the larger packages cost more than I want to spend right now. How can we work together?

You can book a block of time with me to work through your issue. I have two packages available: $2500 for 5 hours or $4000 for 10 hours.

Don’t discount the value of these offerings. Compare it to the value you might bring to a potential client pre or during the design stage for their multimillion dollar property. One of two great ideas from you could truthfully bring their entire property value far beyond the cost of fee you would charge.

Why turn to your employees to help run the business?

Educating and empowering your employees is arguably the most effective way to engage and improve business results within your organization. 

Business has rules, it has plays, it has real time result tracking, it has an outcome – win or lose.

The players – you and your employees – will play to win when you are communicating, planning, executing and sharing in the outcome. 

Not every game is won, but people by nature want to win. When there is a clear plan to do better this or next time, you can be sure the ones you want on your team will take the ball and run with it. 

If they don’t…then you don’t want them on your team.

What if an employee has financial information and goes to work for a competitor?

Okay. Sit down for a few minutes and write down all the terrible things that a competitor could do with your information? Not the list you first thought of? Fear stops anyone’s mind from thinking logically.

Chances are, if you are running an OBM company you’re probably doing better all round than the competitor anyways. Is the knowledge that you’re successful such a bad thing?  

If the numbers are not so good, are you simply afraid they will laugh at you or somehow be able to take something away? You’ll have to get past that.

Do you have to share people's compensation?

No. There’s some good evidence that it might not be a bad idea, but most companies do not share personal compensation with everyone.   

It’s not what each person is being paid that is important, rather because labor is most often a major expense, it’s about labor costs relative to sales. Then because Labor Margin, or Cost of Labor, is a critical driver to overall profit the discussion ends up revolving around how the labour margin can be lowered.