To Protect and Serve

To Protect and To Serve

by John Kennedy

On the side of every law enforcement vehicle in America is the simple phrase---to protect and to serve.

It got me thinking about how that translates to a garden center as well; to protect our investment, to protect our profits, and to protect our people while at the same time serving our customer, serving our community and serving our industry.

As we kick off the spring season, it would be wise to make a list of 5 things you and your team could do to address each of the areas addressed above.

Protect your investment: We invest a fair amount of time and talent in our business (marketing, materials, labor, land, irrigation and insurance) and we want to make sure it is indeed protected. Now insurance is the natural choice, but what are you doing to protect the future of your business?

We discussed this last year in Utah as we are continuing to take the steps in succession planning to either “love it or list it”.

But a deeper intention is required.  How are we protecting our plants, profit, and people?

Setting up systems that can drive this, as a team, is key to your success this year, especially as the 2019-2020 economic clouds begin to gather.

I come from the school of simplicity.

Ask your team:

“What five things can we do this year to protect each of those categories?”
Protect our Plants!
Protect our Profit!
Protect our People!

Let your team come up with the strategies and ideas that would address those three key areas of performance in the spring of 2019.

Next up is to serve

Serve your customer:  As many of you know by engaging with me over the last two decades, one of my Customer Commandments is “Thou shalt not SELL your customer…Thou shalt SERVE your customer!”

I suggest that we not “Sell… but Serve” by creating an opportunity for your customers to buy.

When you truly are looking out for your customers’ success, when you are ensuring that your customer is successful in their gardening interests, and when you are sincerely giving them advice, direction, and support to be successful, you will inevitably see your sales increase. 

So the same opportunity presents itself to you and your team.

What five things can we do this year to serve each of these categories?
Serve our Customers!
Serve our Community!
Serve our Industry!

Place these commitments somewhere that each of your associates can see and drive that culture of Protect and Serve throughout the year.

I have created a short video for the month of March that gives you a better sense of how you can approach the servant culture of your business and truly serve your customers.    

We have taken that aspect of service to the next level with the “Driving a Customer Experience” video training program, which can be found at
Reminder:  As a member of The Garden Center Group, you are offered a 50% discount to the John Kennedy On Demand program offered at 

Look for John Kennedy On Demand to add “The Great Game of Business” video training program in April to help you drive improved metrics, measurements, and profits to your garden center. You will have the complete toolbox to drive people, profits and plants in 2019.
The Discount Code is GCG50
Have a great start to Spring 2019 and I look forward to hearing how your “Protect and Serve” commitments are going.


Want to discuss "Protect & Serve" strategies for your business with John Kennedy? Call or email him!

John Kennedy
[email protected]
Cell: ‭443-605-7095

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as John Kennedy, Robert Hendrickson, Steve Bailey, Sid Raisch and Jean Seawright, are included in your retainer!


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