Keeping Business Simple

Amy's husband is a landscaper who works for the state. They want to do private work and wonder what books Dave would recommend.

QUESTION: Amy in California has a husband who is a landscaper that works for the state. They want to do private work as well and she wonders what books Dave would recommend for someone who is starting out a small business in that field.

ANSWER: As far as licensing, you just need to check with your state or municipality to find out what they require in that area.

When it comes to starting and operating, don't overcomplicate it. Keep it very easy and simple. Since he already has his technical license on this, print some business cards and get after it. Don't create some big legal and financial mess to do what you are doing. It's a service business, so print some business cards, start thinking about a basic one-page or two-page website.

As you get some jobs, especially in your world, post lots and lots of pictures of the finished product. A great sales tool is showing the before and the after. They won't know you're online unless you get out there and talk to them, so every spare minute your husband has, he needs to be talking to someone who might potentially lead him to be hired.

That's real estate agents and builders, even mortgage brokers and bankers, anyone who touches a piece of real estate. Certainly architects as well. When we had our house built, our architect recommended our landscape architect. Try to figure out what the natural connectivity points are and buy them lots and lots of donuts.