A quick look at the finance news headlines might leave you feeling stressed about how you’ll continue to operate and scale your business profitably in our post-pandemic world. So now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to consider the many options available to help future proof your business for years to come.
Marcus and James Thomas, co-owners of Australian Native Landscapes, have done just that.
Australian Native Landscapes provides commercial landscape management services for blue chip clients like Vicinity Centres and CBRE. When Marcus and his brother, James, took over the family business in 2018, future proofing and sustainability were two of the core pillars of success on which the brothers agreed to focus.
Offering a range of innovative zero emission landscaping and cleansing equipment, EcoTeq is proud to assist with the transition to an electric commercial zero turn mower that meets the sustainability expectations of Australian Native Landscapes customers.
Future proofing your business is preparing how your business will adapt and thrive in the face of future changes and uncertainties. It involves developing strategies that will enable your business to remain competitive and relevant over the long term despite emerging challenges, such as new technology, a shift in client preferences, or a competitor on the rise.
Future proofing requires adopting a mindset of innovation and growth. By exploring new ideas and technologies, you can potentially diversify revenue streams by offering new services to reach new markets, and ultimately increase your revenue.
That’s exactly the approach Australian Native Landscapes has taken, adopting electric outdoor landscaping equipment, to offer a more sustainable outdoor facilities maintenance solution to their clients. And it’s a service offer that’s only set to grow in demand!
Knowing what’s happening in your industry is a key aspect of future-proofing your business. However, it’s important to ensure you are seeking information from reliable and credible sources.
Marcus and James stay up to date with industry news, including advances in electronic and autonomous equipment by:
When they were considering buying an electric mower, they found that many of the big-name brands were only producing smaller, residential electric mowers. However, their business needed longer battery life plus the cutting performance to rival a diesel or petrol-powered commercial mower.
“EcoTeq was quick and responsive. Their customer service is fantastic. They did a demo quickly and then we were glad to do the deal,” says Marcus. “What was compelling for us is the environmental and the social benefits of moving to greener and more future-proof technology.”
Machine maintenance was another compelling factor.
“It’s always been a challenge to make sure we’re maintaining equipment effectively and keeping that cost down. Knowing that maintenance is reduced by the technology is key. We don’t have our own in-house mechanics, so knowing how responsive EcoTeq is and that it’s a lot easier for your own staff to maintain vehicles to an excellent standard is a bonus for us,” says Marcus.
When considering ways to future-proof a business, Marcus sees three clear areas to focus on.
What lasting impact do you want to have on the world?
A landscaping maintenance business has a significant impact on the environment through its equipment choice, emissions generated, biophilia and the chemicals it uses.
Marcus and James want to ensure Australian Native Landscapes’ legacy is a sustainable one.
“As people who are specialists in green life and promote our living environment, it would be remiss of us if we weren’t happy to do what we can to improve the environment by moving away from fossil fuels,” says Marcus.
Anticipating and adapting to changing customer preferences and needs helps to future proof a business.
Their customers are large, public-facing institutions that have environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting requirements.
“Our customers expect a more environmentally friendly way of offering landscape management services,” says Marcus.
By adopting green tech, like electric mowers, Australian Native Landscapes is already ticking the ESG boxes their customer base demand (or soon will).
To be future-proof, Marcus says you can’t be reactive. You can be proactive by staying up to date with industry news and developments, and he recommends staying ahead of regulations and legislation. In Australian Native Landscapes’ line of work, switching from fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and equipment electric now rather than waiting until the regulations are inevitably rolled out across Australia, has set their business up to be ahead of future changes.
Marcus and James recognise that the greatest barrier for a company to adopt electric landscaping equipment can be its people.
“Transition is a human behaviour change piece. It’s about helping people to get used to what needs to be done for the next stage to ensure the new equipment can be stored and charged in the right location,” says Marcus. “The work you do today affects tomorrow.”
He notes how important it is to create an awareness of what you’re doing in the workplace, and more importantly, why. With EcoTeq providing demonstrations to the team, they could touch, feel and use the equipment helping them to overcome their preconceptions of electric equipment.
“Help your people to buy into the fact that battery-powered equipment is capable. Help them to understand how it aligns with your future vision. Once the day-to-day is taken care of, adoption follows,” says Marcus.
“The operational aspect is very painless. All you need to do is get an electrician in to make sure you have the right power locations in the right storage areas. It didn’t take too much effort to change our operations. We now plug in the EcoTeq mower and the job’s done.”
Landscape management businesses have always had to be conscious of operating hours due to noise emissions while using equipment, especially in high-density residential areas. However, with electric equipment, these businesses can operate in broadened hours of operation. With their blue-chip client base, the absence of noise complaints has provided the best indication yet that the much quieter electric equipment isn’t raising the ire of residents.
Another benefit of future-proofing your business is that it can help attract and retain top staff. People want to work for a stable business with longevity on its agenda and that can offer its staff opportunities for growth and development.