On this episode of the Profit Roadmap, welcome two special guests from New Castle Lawn and Landscape: Brian Cuccaro, President, and Brad Stephenson, CEO.
In this episode, you'll learn:
Brian and Brad were friends from a young age and got their start in lawn care by cutting their neighbors' lawns as they were growing up. Brian started by using his parents' lawn mower and then moved up to purchasing his own equipment and mowing lawns between classes.
Brad got his start in landscaping and even worked at a Christmas tree farm in his early teens. He made the shift to being a chef and everyone told him it would be tough and he’d be in a restaurant all the time. He had enjoyed his past experience in landscaping and went back to that.
Today, New Castle Lawn and Landscape has 91 employees and is serving the Eastern Pennsylvania area.
In addition to the lawn trimming, landscaping, and hardscaping they do they are also very focused on community outreach.
When they first started talking about the idea of community outreach, it seemed tough. With margins being tight, it didn’t feel like they could make it a reality. But then, during the COVID shutdowns of 2020, they felt the need to make it happen and give back to their community.
They started out by simply driving for a local food bank. They did this without any publicity because their whole focus was on giving back and not helping out for notoriety.
But they also realized that they wanted their team to be part of this too, and to see how good it felt to give back to the community. They decided to pivot and make this into a movement.
They also started making daily videos and sharing them on social media which led to a substantial increase in their following. These videos helped provide some joy in a very unique time when everyone was isolated.
Not only have they been able to impact the people of their community, they’ve also encouraged other businesses in the area to start similar programs.
Additionally, they serve on several non-profit boards in their area. Most people tend to think of giving back as something that is only focused on money, but you can also give back with your time and knowledge too.
Brian and Brad are committed to helping their community and they wanted to make it easy for their team as well.
They give their team voluntary paid time off to serve in the community. Some of their team use this time as a chance to serve their churches or even do walks/runs to support a cause that is important to them.
For service businesses that want to give back to their community, it can be hard to know where to start. Brad and Brian recommend starting small. That could mean giving a small donation to a cause that is important to you, participating in a local community event, or even starting a conversation with your team about how you can give back.
They also recommend working with some larger groups that can help guide your efforts and connect you with events. They are big fans of working with the United Way. They worked with the United Way which connected them to local chapters who needed help and volunteers.
The important thing to remember is that by giving back you’re able to see that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. You are joining with others so that together you can make a bigger impact than you could on your own.
Brad and Brian noticed that this culture of giving back has translated to the growth of their business and their team. Part of their giving-back efforts required time, which meant that they needed to train and mentor their internal team.
This changed things for their team members because they are now more committed to what they do, they “own” their position, and they are all dedicated to constantly improving.
This also leads to a mindset where mentorship is not only encouraged, but a valuable part of the entire culture. This is a proven way to pass on knowledge and experience and help newer members of the team grow and progress.
One of the things New Castle uses to help better understand their employees and those who would like to work there is the DISC assessment. They use this assessment to help understand how people process information, and in turn, how they should communicate so the message is well received.
When it comes to looking for candidates, they love working with referrals. They go by the adage that if you hire good people, those people typically surround themselves with other good people.
It also helps that they’ve created an atmosphere that is fun. It isn’t always perfect, but they do their best to create a family that is close-knit and has a supportive environment for everyone. Their goal has always been to create a place that their team wants to be.
They also understand that it is the little things that often go a really long way to making sure people feel great in the environment that they are working in. They take time to cook their team lunch on a weekly basis and it comes from a place of servant leadership.
Ultimately, this comes down to creating an atmosphere where human connection is important and a priority for everyday work and life. This creates a place where people are inspired to work and perform at their best.
Curious about how you should create your culture? Brad and Brian said that one of the best places to start is with recognition. Be sure to notice the good things your team is doing.
After that, be sure that the leadership culture is on top of things. Simply put, as a leader, if you say you’re going to do something it is important that you follow through and take that action. This helps build that sense of trust and rapport with your team.
If you can go above and beyond that, your team will notice. Take time to listen to what they have to say, and help them out where you can. This is the kind of leader that people want to work for.
Do your best to be relatable and treat your team with respect. Brian and Brad wear the same uniforms that their teams do to inspire that unity.
What New Castle has learned through their journey is that their community reach was a lot more important than they thought. It made them feel better, they helped their employees, and they were able to make their community a better place too.
So did it impact sales? Brian and Brad said that they went from just another company with recognizable trucks to a brand that people actually knew. The community knew about the work they were doing, it built trust, and it helped them grow their customer base.
Remember, that their motivation wasn’t for sales. As long as your focus is on serving the community the increase in sales is a natural outcome.
Lastly, the most important thing is to get started, and you don’t have to have everything perfect out of the gate. So when you’re improving culture or trying to do community outreach efforts, focus on getting started and then fix it along the way as your learning and knowledge improves.
If you want to learn more about Brad and Brian and their company visit NewCastle94.com
The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Summon the Rawk by Kevin MacLeod
Free download: https://filmmusic.io/song/4434-summon...
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