This year’s FutureScape was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best yet. Thousands of visitors attended the UK’s leading landscaping trade event at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, on Tuesday 19 November. Some of the country’s top suppliers showcased their innovative products across the various exhibitor stands and a selection of the industry experts shared their knowledge in the fantastic seminar programme. Suffering from FOMO? Not to worry, we’re providing a snapshot of each of the seminars that took place.
Here are the highlights from Room One.
Making Money: It’s Easy?
Easy? Far from it. Running a profitable business and keeping your employees happy can be a difficult balance, and unfortunately there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’. But Mark Youde, director of Cheshire-based Urban Landscape Design, gave a crowded room of FutureScape visitors a few tips which can be applied across all companies of all sizes. These included the importance of having a business plans with realistic timescales and revisiting this business plan regularly. He explained how his own company has grown and developed, to the point where it is now set to open its own landscape academy.
Keeping Yourself Grounded: Health and Wellbeing Is Your Business
Wellbeing has been this year’s buzzword, and there’s a growing expectation for businesses to include policies around their employees’ health and wellbeing. Can companies of all shapes and sizes incorporate this, though? Sole trader Jo Manfredi-Hamer would suggest it’s certainly possible. The audience heard the garden designer undertakes various methods to ensure she stays happy and health whilst working, including deep breathing exercises when stressed and utilising The Wellbeing Journal from mental health charity. Paul Lynch of Elmtree Garden Contractors also strives to provide his 40+ employees with support resources, including having trained Mental Health First Aiders amongst staff. Even grounds maintenance giant Ground Control provides a personal touch for its employees, with director Marcus Watson and regional operations manager Marc Wilkinson explaining the numerous initiatives it has in place to look after its workforce, from mentorship programmes to free or subsidised gym memberships.
Stepping Up: Making the Move from Small Player to Serious Contender
Lee Bestall of Bestall & Co was joined by Dan Riddleston of Bowles and Wyer to discuss individual successes. How do you know when you’ve made it? Both agreed there’s no set standard. Their careers have been made up of various moments when they’ve felt this has happened. Lee went on to quiz the audience on whether or not they had a business plan, asking for details on what it was. This sparked a discussion about whether you need a business plan, if you can also benefit from a business coach and how this can manifest itself in the form of someone you admire within the industry.
The seminar ended with a conversation about how to work – or not work as the case may be – with clients you don’t like. Both Lee and Dan admitted they had recently turned down big projects because they felt what the client wanted didn’t match their vision for the project.
Responsible Recruiting: How to Hire the Right People for Your Business
One of the biggest costs to a company is staff, so ensuring the right team is in place is vital to the survival of a business. This starts with writing a clear job advert when looking for new members to join the team, said host Liam Colclough of Horticulture Careers, and making sure you’re looking for potential candidates in the right place. Panellists Marian Barker of Fresh Horticultural Careers, Paul Downer of Oak View Landscapes, Ed Belderbos of Belderbos Landscapes and Sarah Maddox of Bartlett Tree Experts all shared their tips for this, as well as what to look for at the interview stage. They also discussed key areas to focus on once a new employee has joined, such as probation period and retention.