The Challenges & Benefits of Growing a Firm Outside Your Comfort Zone
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The Challenges & Benefits of Growing a Firm Outside Your Comfort Zone

Aug 16, 2019
Video Length:  53:46
Presented By:  Will Howard

Doing anything new is difficult, and it can be hard to step outside your comfort zone. Taking jobs out of your area or working with city governments can be challenging when you aren't sure how to navigate the new territory. In this guest webinar, Will Howard with Stack Rock Design will go over the challenges you might face in expanding your business into new areas, and the benefits that await you when you do.


Want to know more about Will Howard and Stack Rock Group? Read our case study on Will Howard.


Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • Stack Rock Group Company History and Growth
  • Get the Team Right
  • Coordinate and Facilitate Landscape Architecture in Other Markets
  • Grow and Maintain an Office in Other Markets

0:00 – 6:59: Intro/TOC

Will Howard’s bio and history (2:23)


Will’s contact info:

Instagram & Twitter: @StackRockGroup and @WilletHoward


BookFace: @StackRockGroup

LinkedIn: Stack Rock Group


7:00 – 9:19: Stack Rock Group Company History and Growth

9:20 – 22:06: Get the Team Right

Set your systems, and refine them over time. 10:05)

  • Accounting
    • Stack Rock Group uses QuickBooks, an AP/AR person, and an outsourced accountant.
  • File systems
    • Stack Rock Group uses Google Drive/Docs/Calendar, Toggl, and Asana.
  • Human resources
    • Stay out of the fight.
    • Keep emotions at bay.
    • There is right and wrong.
  • Culture
    • Make sure you take care of the family/team.
    • Get excited.
    • Provide a value, provide a resource, provide solutions.
    • Help out any chance you can: Give back, help up-and-coming kids, and always make time.
  • Communication
    • 90% of errors or issues come from miscommunication.
  • Embrace change.
  • Plan for growth.
    • Empower strong leaders, doers, and innovators.
    • Have a transition plan.
    • Employee failure is leaders failing as teachers.

22:07 – 36:02: Coordinate and Facilitate Landscape Architecture in Other Markets

The more information about a site, the better. (22:07)

  • Depending on the project, an on-site inventory/analysis could be needed.
    • Soils
    • Aspect
    • Climate
    • Traffic patterns


Strong team (22:43)

  • Communication is key.
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Leader/oversight
  • Have all the right people on the right calls/emails.


Talk with a jurisdiction early and often. (24:25)

  • Find out what they want.
  • Respect the chain of command.
  • Know the rules/road map for success.


Communication (25:55)

  • Within your team.
  • With your client.
  • With the city.
  • Contracts.
  • Document everything.


Bidding/C.A. (29:07)

  • How to find contractors.
  • How to compete and manage C.A.
  • Document.
  • Contracts.
  • Specs.


How to deal with issues (33:20)

  • Firefighting.
  • City coordination.
  • Always have a solution.

36:03 – end: Grow and Maintain an Office in Other Markets

  • Find work. (36:10)
  • Do the work. (36:50)
  • Jump when called upon. (37:13)
  • Chase clients, not cities. (38:08)
  • Make friends. (38:55)
  • Bring more than you take. (37:47)
  • Communicate. (40:30)
  • Manage debt vs. cash flow. (41:02)


Summary (41:01):

  • Communicate
  • Strong team
  • Get the team right
  • Coordinate and facilitate the aspects of landscape architecture in other markets.


Juggling continuing education, insurance, and licensing requirements across multiple states (44:33)


Drone-for-hire services (48:15)



Advice for starting a first firm: Find the work! (50:33)

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