Building ponds is a very satisfying trade, which is why we have all chosen to be here. The moment that we turn on a new waterfall and our clients’ eyes tear up with joy is the most fulfilling moment I have ever experienced in any trade.
Managing my pond business, though, is a constant battle with innumerable challenges. This is why we chose to attend the 2023 Mile High Profit Summit (MHPS) in Denver, Colorado, for the third consecutive year. A group of business coaches that call themselves The Contractor Fight put on the conference each year. I can assure you that this is no ordinary seminar series!
Why attend the 2023 Mile High Profit Summit?
“So, The Pond Gnome has been building and maintaining ponds for almost 25 years, and you guys are selling and delivering over a million dollars’ worth of pond services every year. Why bother with a business training seminar?”
I’m glad you asked! We believe in the mantra “Customers Served Right!” This requires not just a well-built pond and well-trained service techs. It also warrants a strong business that will be there to take care of clients for the life of their ponds. Keeping up with the best possible business practices is a sure way to be around for the long haul. Our clients count on us.
Too many contracting businesses fail every year for a plethora of reasons. Therefore, a great training program will include much more than how to manage your bookkeeping and resources. MHPS brought in expert speakers from all walks of life to discuss an incredible list of topics. We learned about money management, personal performance, recruiting and retaining great team members, selling techniques, knowing your numbers, business mindset, common bookkeeping mistakes, effective marketing, legal issues (how not to get screwed), techniques for effective estimating, how to hire a great gatekeeper, understanding and selling to people “not like you,” and working with property managers. A former Air Force Thunderbird pilot spoke about taking risks and a health expert who spoke hilariously on taking better care of our “meat machine” that mobilizes the three-pound sponge that contains our consciousness.
Network & Connect
As we networked between sessions, I connected with a general contractor, a remodeler, a plumber, an electrician and a fellow pond contractor. All were from my beloved state of Arizona!
Several familiar pond contractors attended Mile High Profit Summit, as well as general contractors, painting contractors, home remodelers, landscapers, plumbers and electricians. You name the trade — They all came together in one place to learn. The conference not only helps businesses get better at end of their respective trades, but also helps executives thrive and create an enjoyable, balanced life.
The primary focus of this business group is learning to sell with compassion and empathy and to truly connect with people. This is an important part of the design process. Listening, asking questions (versus dumping information) and avoiding time wasters and tire kickers is a huge part of their process. As my wife Barbi says, this is learning to “weed out the crap.” I think we can all agree that nothing is more valuable to us contractors than our time!
There are many educational opportunities out there for learning to be more effective business owners and managers. I hope everyone reading this takes advantage of a couple of them so that you can learn to build, manage and grow a stronger business model. This will ensure your business will be around for the clients you are bringing into the hobby every day.
About the Author
Paul Holdeman, co-owner of The Pond Gnome, is a third-generation Arizona native. He is an Arizona State University alumnus, a certified desert landscaping expert through the Desert Botanical Garden and an active member of the University of Arizona Master Gardner program. In 1999, he was introduced to organic water gardens. He and his wife, Barbi, started The Pond Gnome in January 2000. Together, they began a journey that has made their company very popular with the local native plant and wildlife enthusiasts.