Make A Positive Difference To The Lives Of Others
The following blog post is an extract from The Happy Financial Adviser. A book written by Truly Independent Director Andrew Goodwin. To purchase your own copy click here.
Consider an owner of a large house and vast garden who spends all his summer days cutting grass. He is the mower of a lawn, a lawn mower and with such a large lawn to mow he struggles. His lawn is huge, and it takes four hours solid to cut the grass, and he has had enough. He needs time for himself, so he decides to hire someone to take on this onerous task for him.
Searching online, he comes across an advert ‘Garden managers’, and so he phones the firm to enquire. Following a short conversation, he hires the chap to come twice a week through the summer months to cut his lawn and is charged £40 per week. All seems fine and entirely because the owner has got what he wanted – someone to cut his lawn. However, has he thought long term?
Similarly, his neighbour, who has the same size of lawn, is considering the same solution and also searches online for a person to cut his lawn. He was unaware that his neighbour had the same idea. However, on his search, he came across ‘Truly Independent Gardeners.’ Upon calling this firm, the gardener explains that he does cut lawns but that his business is primarily landscaping and he would like to see the garden and lawn in question to provide a good price.
When Truly Independent Gardeners arrive, they take a quick stroll around the garden and make a few notes before asking the owner a few questions about the shrubs, trees, lawn and importantly the line the sun takes around the garden. The owner wondered why he is so inquisitive since he just wanted the lawn cut and the gardener replies, “I have noticed that the trees you have are covering the lawn and in autumn the lawn will be covered in leaves. This leads to wet conditions and eventually a very mossy lawn. I also notice that your shrubs are not flowering as they should be and this is because their general positions are not right for them; some need shade and others need sun. When we spoke, you also stated you were fed up with cutting such a large lawn, which to me is a statement that you need a smaller lawn and not a person to mow it. We could cut your lawn at just £40 per week for thirty weeks of the year but over five years that is £6,000. I am going to suggest we instead landscape the whole garden for you. We will reduce the lawn to a size you can manage and hence will enjoy again, well away from the trees, move the shrubs to gain the best conditions for growth, health and summer flowers and in addition build some other features of our design. We can do all this for £4,000 and the result will be more beneficial to you not just now but in the long term – well into your retirement. Think of the increased value of your whole property if or when you come to sell. Before you make a decision, please give me just a few days to present you with a complete solution. Will you give us the time to do that?”
Impressed by the Gardeners knowledge and experience he agrees to give the chap three days to draw a proposed landscape garden. Later that month the work to do is accepted and implemented to the satisfaction of the owner.
Five years go by and neighbour 1 is still getting his lawn cut, but it is now £70 per week and so far he has spent over £6,000. He is about to retire and is no longer sure if he can continue with the payment, so is now considering selling the lot! He failed to plan for his future, preferring instead a short-term solution that has cost him in the long term. Short-term fixes are just that, short-term.
Neighbour 2 however, took the advice of the Truly Independent Gardeners and had his whole garden landscaped. The result is delightful, and he now enjoys mowing his much smaller lawn which takes just twenty minutes before resting under his trees in the shade from the sun and enjoying the full exquisite flowering of his shrubs and planters He is often complimented on his garden by passers-by which pleases him. Today, unlike his neighbour, he has no need or desire to sell even though his property has increased in value.
In summary, neighbour 1 got what he wanted and what he thought he needed, while neighbour 2 took independent advice and is much better for it. The message is, Truly Independent Gardeners have made a positive and long-term difference to their client by promoting a business of advice instead of the taking of instruction. They do not take direction because it is not always the right solution for the client, no matter how much the client thinks it is.