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APL Seminar & Networking Event 2012: From Promotion to Profit

Wednesday 17 October 2012, Wyevale East Nurseries, Kent

Wyevale East Nurseries hosted the annual APL AGM and seminar ‘From Promotion to Profit’ last night. Over 50 people attended to hear a range of speakers share their experience and knowledge on improving the profitability of a business.

This year’s APL Seminar was opened by Mark Gregory who has just been elected Chairman of the APL for another year following the APL AGM before the seminar. Mark highlighted the theme of this year’s seminar ‘From Promotion to Profit’ as being especially important this year; he acknowledged it has been an incredibly tough year for landscapers and therefore businesses have to be clever, looking at how they make money, how they can improve their business, and understanding that profitability, before anything else, is fundamental to success. Mark encouraged optimism among the seminars attendees; after such a terrible year, things can and will get better.

The APL also had an exciting development to announce at the seminar. The APL have secured their relationship with the RHS at Hampton Court and will be teaming up for a second year  to invite APL members to design a ‘Low Cost, High Impact’ garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2013.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show takes place 9-14 July 2013. Four gardens will be selected from the entries to showcase what can be achieved on budgets of £7K, £10K, £13K, and £15K. The winning entry in each category will be awarded the budget amount in order to build the garden at the show.

To apply go here

or contact [email protected]

Paul Hodgen ‘How to Promote and Maximise Your Business’

Paul Hodgen spoke about the important role that marketing plays in the success of a business. Although carrying on as usual is comfortable, he explained that trying out new, possibly daunting ideas, could completely revolutionise your business, and your profits.

Paul discussed how important a website is to a business, he believes it is unrivalled in its importance. 91% of people use search engines to find things online, and 74% even use search engines for local searched; therefore having an online presence, and doing everything you can to make sure your business will appear in these results is vital.

Paul gave many useful tips on how to structure a website, and how to link it with social media. He also talked about advertising packages such as ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) which will increase the amount of traffic entering a website.

See Paul’s presentation here

Mandy Buckland ‘It’s in the Detail’

Mandy is the managing director of Greencube Garden and Landscape Design and gave a presentation focused on the importance of detail in designing a project. She briefly talked about her background in landscape design before talking about the way in which her company worked, and the ‘details’ of this way of working which she believes are crucial to the business’s success.

Among other things Mandy discussed: the managing of client expectations – in all stages of the process, from the initial expectations of what the client wants compared to the money that they have, to the arrival of plants for autumn planting that won’t look quite like the summer pictures; talking about budget early on; using plans and perspectives to excite the client with a good design; working as a team with the landscapers; and marketing each garden by returning (prepared!) to take photos, uploading them onto your website, and discussing the project in order to get the ball rolling again.

See Mandy’s presentation here

Mandy Buckland and Mark Gregory

James Steele Sargent – Arun Landscapes and Rod Winrow – Garden House Design

Both James and Rod closed the seminar with talks on increasing the profitability of a business.

James’ insightful contributions focussed on streamlining the business in terms of staff and time in order to work more efficiently, keep everyone happy, and increase profitability. James’ company Arun landscapes employs three teams of workers, who work independently in the manner of a self-employed team, although they are employed by Arun Landscapes. James encourages his teams with independence and bonuses so that they work more quickly and efficiently on each job. This impressive business model means that James has had a 0% staff turnover for 10 years, and his business is profiting, even in the tough times.

See James’ presentation here

Rod Winrow focussed on the advantages of selling additional products into a design, his website sells only products that he or his team have used in clients’ gardens, or their own, or are endorsed by professionals. Similarly to Mandy, Rod talked about the details that make a space a living, comfortable and useable space and how businesses can increase their profits by upselling these ‘details’ to their customers.

See Rod’s presentation here

Mark Gregory closed the seminar by taking questions from the audience directed to the speakers.

Many thanks to Wyevale East Nurseries for hosting this interesting and informative event.

Written by Rose Hales 18 October 2012



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