Category Archives: business

Motivating Customers to Prepay

Chris Noon, founder of Noon Turf Care

Chris Noon, founder of Noon Turf Care and Green Light Consulting Services, shares his beliefs on motivating customers to prepay for services they will be receiving down the road.

Motivating customers to prepay for services is a challenge for some employees, but with Chris Noon’s techniques the convincing won’t be so hard. Chris Noons techniques have allowed his company to gain a higher client retention, create a cash flow for the “off season” months and decrease administrative expenses of following up on outstanding balances from customers.

With Investor Help Glassdoor Continues to Grow

Glassdoor Inc., made its debut in 2007 as an online marketplace which allows employees to anonymously post salaries, interview questions and review their employers while at the same time employers can post jobs hoping to find the perfect candidates to fill needed positions. Glassdoor Inc., has grown tremendously over the past 8 years and plans to grow further nationally as well as expand internationally with help from investors. Read more about the investors of Glassdoor Inc.

Glassdoor Inc., will continue to grow


The Power of Time Off

How generous is your company’s time off policy? Would you consider shutting down for a full year? That’s what Stefan Sagmeister does for his design studio once every seven years, allowing employees a sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He argues that for the first 25 years of your life, you’re constantly learning. Then, around 25, you settle into an approximately 40-year period of work, followed by around 15 years of retirement. In his words, he thought it would be helpful to cut off five of those retirement years and intersperse them between those working years.

Stefan Sagmeister The power of time off  Talk Video  TED

And sure enough, in this TED Talk, you’ll hear about the benefits of taking personal time off – not only for yourself, but for the sake of your work, as well.

Creative Uses for Satellite Images Proliferate with Increased Access

The evolution of technology used for space is incredible and mindboggling all in the same breath. With access to space cheaper and easier than ever, entrepreneurs have created new applications for the flood of data that is now streaming to Earth.

The satellite industry is continuing to develop, rising swiftly past both U.S. and global economic performance. According to the most recent State of Satellite Industry Report, the Global Satellite Industry grew 3% in 2013, outpacing both worldwide economic growth of 2.4% and U.S. growth of 2.8%. The satellite industry revenue has more than doubled in the last decade, from $74.3 billion in 2004, to $195.2 billion in 2013.

Observation via satellite has been integrated into everyday life. We now have the ability to distribute and aggregate extensive bandwidth, monitor weather, enhance safety, and aid in surveillance. Satellite imagery does not have high enough resolution to depict and identify individual people on the ground nor, as conspiracies may suggest, “Read our newspapers.” But, satellites can tell tales on people’s vehicles, property, and routines. And some forward-thinkers are finding creative and tactical ways to use this immense amount of data to solve problems on the ground – and make a profit.

Agricultural fields near Perdizes, Minas Gerais, brazil

The All-Seeing Detectives

What do a space lawyer and a satellite imaging specialist have in common? They solve crimes – with a twist. Air & Space Evidence Ltd. is being billed as the “World’s First ‘Space Detective Agency.’” The enterprising duo provides satellite-derived evidence to support legal claims including insurance fraud and illegal plant clearing. Regulatory agencies were calling in with regards to acquiring imagery that could possibly be used as evidence in legal disputes. Although the agencies were aware what the Earth observation technologies had to offer, they had no clue how to incorporate the images in a legal context.

Recognizing a clear opening in the market, Air and Space Evidence mentions on their website that they, “Established to bridge the link between the imagery from these technologies and those working in a legal context; and provide assistance in sourcing and using Earth observation imagery as evidence.”

They’ve definitely established this bridge, and as co-founder Mr. Purdy indicates in an interview with News Corp., Air & Space Evidence has big plans for the future:

“As the resolution gets better we will be able to do things like search fields for graves (recently dug earth) in cases of abduction, or trace where certain pollutants came from before they entered water courses.” This prediction is certainly probable as starting in 2015; the WorldView-3 satellite will be selling imagery up to 25cm panchromatic and 1 meter multispectral. Currently the best imagery sold is roughly 40cm resolution. As Aviation Week describes the advancement, “The effect will be like the difference between high-definition and conventional television picture.”

Air & Space Evidence recently evaluated imagery from the Syrian civil war taken in early 2013. The obvious destruction appeared within six months of the first image in February of 2013, and shows visible damage of at least 640 buildings at the end of July 2013.

The international human rights community relies on the innovation of satellite accessibility to monitor areas that may otherwise be unobtainable. As of 2013, there are nearly 1,500 operating satellites, with orders for 23 commercial GEO’s recently announced. Because of the growth rate of high-resolution satellites provided with an almost constant stream of data, these groups have the capability to document the images and evaluate eyewitness reports, such as acts portrayed in the Syria. Entrepreneurs like those of Air & Space Evidence are establishing expansive uses for imagery data provided by the extensive satellite access.

Satellite view of India at night

Lawn Care from Space

It doesn’t get much more down to Earth than mowing the lawn, but an enterprising lawn care company saw a competitive advantage from using Google Earth to assess potential client’s yard work needs – and they took it.

The simplicity of downloading Google Earth, typing in an address, and measuring the area of lawn is what is now driving the lawn care industry. Think about it: instead of having to physically go and spend hours measuring the acreage of the land, you could easily estimate aspects of the property by previewing the land with geospatial technology. This development in the business permits landscapers to control a lean logistical process, save time, and optimize resources without even leaving their deck.

Now, the practice of using satellite imagery in the lawn care business is de rigueur, with its own Apps and YouTube training videos. Noon Turf Care, a lawn care business out of Massachusetts, grossed over $2 million in revenue last year by integrating Google Earth into their business strategy. The increase in using geospatial technology has both customers and developers reaping benefits. Businesses are not only incorporating free satellite applications, but are also willing to spend extra money on subscriptions for software programs like Go iLawn. Go iLawntypically captures images by plane. Because the plane is closer to the image than satellites, the imagery produced is of higher quality and resolution. Go iLawn has helped lawn care businesses like Rob Reindl’s gross over $1.2 million, and Swingle Lawn, Tree & Landscape Care gross over $14 million.

Many business owners are now trying to integrate the stream of available date into other aspects of their company, like measuring roofs for reshingling, snow removal, or seasonal lights.

Below, video from iLawn and iPave explaining the use of satellite imagery in their app

The Future of Space Data

The availability of frequent high resolution imagery can do more than clarify legal affairs and promote business development: it could also affect the way we view our news. The projection of implementing this software into social media provides real time awareness and a larger platform for virtual assets solving non-virtual problems. With real time access to imagery data, agencies and civilians might be able to prevent catastrophic harm during natural disasters and human rights crises. Reporters will have an increased virtual presence as they will too have the ability to monitor and research almost everything available.

Where will satellite data take us next? Space is already integrated into our every day lives but with movement towards smart grids and the internet of things, it is bound to become even more entwined in human activity. While satellites themselves have physical limitations when it comes to optical resolution, since the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite in orbit has a ground sample distance of 31cm, applications like Google Maps that combine space, aerial, and ground based observations are likely to erase the seams, creating an immense data-verse ready to be mined by anyone with a good idea.

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Business Insights: Screening Sales Leads

By Christopher Noon

Originally posted on Turf Magazine, November 2014

As green industry professionals, we operate in one of the most seasonal businesses within the home services industry. To compete at our highest level, it is imperative that we maximize time in the peak demand seasons of spring and fall. Maximizing time starts by creating sales team efficiency to connect with and provide pricing to qualified buyers. Time is money, and if we waste time with the wrong prospects there is less time with qualified buyers. As seasonal demand ends, qualified customers are not supported, and revenue for that year is lost.

If you and your sales team are not properly screening sales leads, you are immediately falling short as a company by not setting the proper expectations for the sales prospect on the other end of the line. This can cause unnecessary frustration for not only you but also for the potential customer that is inquiring about services. A great example of this happened to me when I was on the buying side of the sales process last month when I tried to do some renovations in my home. I find that when I am buying services from other contractors, I compare our company’s sales practices to the vendor’s practices. When I am the consumer, I understand what we do right as a company as well as where we need to improve.

I called the home contracting company to inquire about some interior painting and touch-up work at my home. One of the major weaknesses I encountered while asking for a quote was when I was not greeted by someone who would screen me as a qualified buyer. I should have been asked my name and all necessary contact information such as best phone number to reach the prospect and their email address, have you used this service in the past, what exactly do you need and what are your goals for the project, what is your timing and what is your budget for this project.

These may sound like basic questions but it helps the salesman understand the customer needs. By getting your sales team trained to consistently use these screening questions, it will filter out all sales leads that are not a match for your company. This saves time so that you and your team can focus on qualified leads. For example, if a prospect calls looking to have a walkway or patio installed at a price that is not compatible with company pricing parameters, don’t waste your time but suggest that the client go elsewhere. The screening of leads can be done in just a few minutes, keeping you and your sales team from wasting time on prospects that aren’t good fits for your company.

Quickly screening and eliminating prospects that don’t fit your “best customer profile” will give your team more time to focus on selling to more qualified prospects. Screening sales leads takes discipline and practice, but once you become proficient with it, you will win more quality sales from qualified clients.

Let your competitors waste their time chasing the unqualified buyers while you sell to the qualified ones!