063: Aged 15, still in high school, started a lawn mowing business, grew to 150 FTE, $10m USD annual sales and sold 18 years later. Then launched ‘the Uber for lawn mowing’ app, now has 200,000 customers, 22 FTE and $20m sales p.a. (Bryan Clayton)

Presented by Troy Trewin

Troy has worked intimately with 26 businesses in 20 years. He knows their numbers, understands their growing pains and people issues and has helped with most financial aspects, as well as having coached on leadership and management.

December 17, 2020

In this episode, I interview Bryan Clayton, the Founder, and CEO of GreenPal, a web and mobile app that instantly connects homeowners with home service professionals. Bryan started out in business In 1994 when he was just 15 and while in high school. He started a lawn mowing business and grew that to one of the largest in the state of Tennessee with 150 full-time employees and $10 Million in annual sales. 

He sold that business in 2012 aged 33 and in the next year launched Greenpal, the Uber for lawn mowing. They had 22 customers in their first year and now have 200,000 customers serviced by 11,000 lawn mowing business owners and it generates $20 Million in annual sales. They had three full-time employees and now have 22, and their initial 12 competitors in 2015 went down to 3. He funded the business solely from bootstrapping and felt he had succeeded when forty people signed up for the app one Saturday and none were friends or family.

He feels the hardest thing about growing a small business is getting started and the first $100,000 in revenue. The one thing he says he would tell himself on day one of starting out is, “Look at it like it’s an infinite game. The way to win is not to give up” Ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome Bryan Clayton to the show to share his experience in starting, building, and selling companies.  

This Cast Covers:

  • How Bryan turned lawn mowing from a way of earning a little extra cash in high school aged 15 to a successful business venture.
  • Learning the fundamental principles of running a successful business like customer satisfaction, reliability, delivering quality, and more
  • The inception of GreenPal and investing in proper market research before venturing into your own business in order to avoid creating a business that’s based on assumptions.   
  • The power of having patience in creating a solid and perfect business foundation before expanding and rolling out into different markets.
  • How to Stay Afloat and close the gaps when running a seasonal business. 
  • Building a business that not only acquires monetary success but creates a lasting impact on society. 
  • Experimenting early on in the business, figuring out your strengths, and specializing in them as a key factor in growing and marketing your business.
  • Learning the ins and outs of your business to help you in making the right decisions across the board.
  • Investing in creative and innovative ways of marketing and distributing your product to ensure your business stays ahead of the competition.
  • Adopting a think bigger attitude and getting inspiration and insights from people playing on a higher level than you and applying that to your business.

Additional Resources:

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Quotes:

“Revenue is the best form of financing for any business” – Bryan Clayton

“If you don’t have customer satisfaction, reliability, and delivering a good product nailed, you’re not gonna make it” – Bryan Clayton

“Do more of what’s working, don’t try to do more of what’s not working” – Bryan Clayton

“Without growth and marketing, nothing matters” – Bryan Clayton

“Business is like a video game” – Bryan Clayton

“In the early days, balance is gonna be difficult” – Bryan Clayton

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Music from https://filmmusic.io “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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