By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners program manager

By the time this hits your desk, we’ve all shoveled a bit of snow, spun a tire or two and resigned ourselves to digging an extra layer out of the hall closet, rather than heading outside in shirtsleeves.

Winter, my friends, is here. Every spring, we always say that it was a long winter. Yet, there were all those things we meant to do during that time, but didn’t. Well, professional development season is here. Congress is ALMOST here. So, what’s your plan to grow and learn through the next few months? For the snow and ice crowd, read on, this also applies to you.

I can guarantee that each of you reading this article will recall thinking at some point over the past year, “I really should learn to do this better,” or, “Next year we’re going to do this differently.” Maybe you are saying, “I have got to find a new source/seminar to improve.”

It is in our nature to ask questions, and to desire personal growth. The Prosperity Partners program is developed by your peers, to help you clarify and move forward on your journey to a better life balance and security. The most valuable benefit from the Prosperity Partners is that it is designed to help you at your own pace. It is based on where you are starting from and moves through your journey of learning and improvement.

Here’s a recap of a few thoughts from Prosperity Partners’ participants I interviewed for this column this past year.

Q. What stuck with you the most from the PP Introductory Seminar?

A. Mike Hayes, AllGreen Tree Service: It helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses. This seminar, thankfully, is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is designed so that everyone in the room can apply the tools to their business in a relevant way to themselves right now. This seminar helps identify your blind spots and makes sense of what’s going well and not so well, with way more clarity.

A. Grant Harrison, Escapes Outdoor Living Design: I learned a lot at this seminar. The most important thing is to stay focused on what we do, and where we are going as a company. To quote you, Jacki, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it with HUGE accuracy.” Now I’m clear on what I’m aiming at in terms of everything I do. You also taught us how to leverage our strengths. From this, I decided to leverage the uniqueness and talent of our woodworking to other landscapers. This has turned out a fantastic way to steadily grow my business, and in a direction that is different from what I had originally thought. The invaluable lessons come from other people’s experiences, and the networking/group discussions in the seminar were exciting and informative.

A. Paul Doornbos, Thornbusch Landscaping: The importance of being YOU; knowing yourself and believing in yourself. It’s also the realization of how much the success of one’s business is also tied to and related to personal growth.

Q. How have you been able to apply the things you learned to improve your business?

A. Mark Fisher, The Escarpment Company: One of the most valuable things that I have learned is the stages of a business. It’s understanding that businesses are dynamic and the amount of time devoted to each of the five pillars is related to where the company is in the business cycle. This has helped me manage my time better, to become more efficient and productive, by focusing on what is most important for our business, as we grow and develop.

Each learned something different

Each of the Prosperity Partners learned something different and hugely relevant for them. They now are able to continue by applying the smarter business practices they learned at various stages going forward. And, the best part is that it was painless for them to learn.

I’ve referred to the November Files every now and then in this column. Now is the time to check your file. That’s the list that is either written or stored in your head that reminds you what wasn’t working so well in the past year, and what you want to change/improve.

Prosperity Partners program focuses on five key pillars of business skills: Sales Success, Professional Operations, Leadership, Financial Health and Developing Customers for Life.

Join us this winter by moving yourself forward toward better prosperity. Here’s how to get involved:

Prosperity Introductory seminar: This one-day interactive learning experience gets you focused on what is truly working and what isn’t in your business. Who should attend? Business owners and managers. Learning outcomes: Understanding why your business runs the way it does; why you come up against road blocks and frustrations; how to navigate challenges in a step by step way – starting from where you and your business are now.

Best Practices: (prerequisite: introductory seminar) A full-day of interactive learning and resource connections, including access to our online template library. Who should attend? Business owners and managers. Learning outcomes: Making changes that stick; solving repetitive challenges in business; designing and committing to a custom journey of improvement; immense value of peer networking; access to the online best practices template library.

New Round Table Solutions: (prerequisite: either of the two previous seminars) A full-day of solution-specific peer networking, that focuses on next steps to improve each of five pillars of your business. Who should attend? Business owners and managers. Learning outcomes: How to leverage the power of peer experience to accelerate your business improvement initiatives; ensure your right-fit filter is guiding your choices (don’t fall into the band-aid trap).
Energy Workshop: Ready, Set, GO! Join Jacki Hart for an invigorating morning session of networking and thought-provoking planning for your Congress and winter professional development plans. Make new contacts, get focused, and make the most of the winter months to implement effective changes in your business, as easily as possible. Get off to a focused and effective start on your professional development plan for winter of 2010. It takes place on Jan. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel. To register go to

Mentorship: Available to all Prosperity Partners. You may be paired with a volunteer industry mentor for an hour per month. The purpose of this support is to have an experienced industry peer be your sounding board for ideas and changes you wish to make to your business. Email for more info.

Coaches and consultants: We have several endorsed coaches who are aligned with our industry’s unique demands.

Online forum: Go to Post your questions, offer your suggestions, network with your peers to continue your journey in good company, right from the comfort of your own office, or truck.

Template library: Offered as a value added bonus to our Best Practices partners, this library contains over 50 business templates (and is growing every month) used in our industry by our industry members to help develop and improve your business in each of the five pillars, including health and safety content, employee handbooks, forms, policies, proposal templates, due diligence tracking, etc. Don’t reinvent the wheel – borrow brilliance from your peers, and customize these documents to suit your needs.

Jacki Hart may be contacted at