The Grounds Guys in the Financial Post
Published in FranchiseCanada magazine, July/August 2012
In April the Canadian Franchise Association emailed me with an opportunity to be featured in FranchiseCanada magazine’s July/August 2012 issue. The ‘Franchise Fun’ article is a regular feature and a two-page, ad-free spread that is meant to add a fun and whimsical note to the magazine, while informing readers about a franchise opportunity and giving them the chance to find out more about someone who plays a key role in that system’s success. The magazine was in news stands across Canada. Here is a copy. Enjoy!
Fresh off The Grounds Guys’ 2012 Franchisee’s Choice designation, Peter van Stralen credits “a culture of care” as a key factor in the landscape and irrigation franchise’s success. In fact, he looks forwards to one day writing a book to share the secrets of the culture of the company he and his nine brothers developed from a family business into a thriving franchise. He recently answered a few questions for FranchiseCanada about family, getting back to nature, and the perils of mini-putt.
The most interesting thing I’ve done recently is … become a Certified Franchise Executive. I love learning and this was a challenge that I was happy to complete this past spring.
In its best form, work is … so much fun that it’s not really work – it’s play.
A good franchisee … excels at building and nurturing relationships – with customers, vendors, team members, and colleagues. They see great value in being part of the franchise team.
A good franchisor … is a great communicator and thrives on helping to develop people both within their own organization and building exceptional franchisee business leaders.
My top advice for new franchisors is … to join the Canadian Franchise Association and connect, participate, and learn. The amount of knowledge and wisdom you can pick up in a few days of roundtable meetings and one-on-one conversations will save you years of mistakes and costs.
The most important thing in life … is my family.
One of the most enjoyable things to do … is to go fishing with my kids and see the peace and joy on their faces that comes from being out in nature.
The hardest thing for me to do is … make par at the mini-putt.
My favourite drink is … a large non-fat double latte.
I’d like my friends to describe me as … the same or similar to the way I would describe myself. It’s important to me to be genuine and authentic.
The key to success is … to have fun and love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, then either change what you do or change what you love. Have a clear vision and spend every day working towards it.
The person who has had the most positive influence on me as a businessperson … is not one person but all of my nine brothers. Together as a team, we have built our business into what it is today. Especially our oldest brother, Tim – his vision and leadership are an inspiration to me.
My franchise system began because … our existing family business had grown to capacity to service our customers from a single location. After researching different expansion options, we decided to franchise.
The most positive influence on my life as a person is … my wife, Carol. She inspires me and supports me. Meeting her has been the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life.
If I could meet anyone … it would be Tony Robbins. He is a great speaker, a fantastic motivator, and an inspiration. He gets it.
My top advice for prospective franchisees is … to do your research and make sure you are compatible with not only the business model but also the people. One is just as important as the other. Make sure you are compatible with the DNA of the organization.
One necessary item on my life’s “to do” list is … to take a month off and do a road trip with my wife and children across North America in a motor home.
The accomplishment I look forward to most is … writing a book on the “Culture of CARE.” It will be a great way to share what makes our company so special.
Canadian franchising is … like Canada itself: full of opportunity, vast and immense, influenced by geography but united by its warm and friendly people.
If I could change one thing … I would have started studying leadership and reading business books earlier in my career.
My personal motto is … “Whether you say you can or can’t, you’re probably right.”
Snow and ice franchising success
By Cheryl Higley
Entrepreneurs look for the smartest way to grow. Some choose to expand territories or services, while others buy out competitors or perhaps open branches in new markets. Two veteran Canadian companies instead chose to make their mark by entrusting their systems and lovingly built brands with others through franchising. Clintar Landscape Management’s Bob Wilton and Sunshine Brands’ Peter van Stralen shared their insights on why franchising worked for them, what they look for in a franchisee, and their visions for franchisee-franchisor success.