Management Services Northwest

Tool 5: Perseverance – Never Give Up

July 22, 2015

happiness & freedom

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Management Services Northwest (MSNW). Taking a small cleaning and landscaping company from the living room of my home to a multi state facility management firm has been an exciting journey with many lessons learned along the way. Over this year, I would like to share with you 10 tools that greatly influenced our success, and took our company from ordinary to extraordinary.

Tool #5 Perseverance – Never Give Up

When the going gets tough….

Can you immediately finish that sentence? We have all heard the phrase, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.” Easier said than done. When the going gets tough, do you get going? Do you persevere? Or do you give up, or sit and wait. Wait in disbelief, wait for circumstances to change, or wait for someone else to do something.

Every business faces periods of tremendous opportunity and equally periods of challenge. Over the years as CEO of MSNW I have faced financial hardships, growing pains, lack of growth pains, seemingly impossible client situations, labor shortages, and employee issues. Perseverance has been a choice I have made over and over again through the difficult times. Webster defines perseverance this way:

Perseverance; per·se·ver·ance
Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Synonyms: persistence, tenacity, determination, staying power, indefatigability, steadfastness, purposefulness

Never give up. There will always be struggles to overcome. We have a choice to allow difficult times to make us bitter or better. We have a choice to do something. Never give up, no matter what happens. When you fall down, or are kicked down, always get back up, put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

A commitment to perseverance over the last 20 years has strengthened our character, taken us forward, and made our company extraordinary.

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you already did.” — Newt Gingrich

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Janelle Bruland, CBSE President, CEO

Janelle Bruland, CBSE
President, CEO

Tool 4: Be Bold

June 10, 2015

Tool 4_small

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Management Services Northwest (MSNW). Taking a small cleaning and landscaping company from the living room of my home to a multi-state facility management firm has been an exciting journey with many lessons learned along the way. Over this year, I would like to share with you 10 tools that greatly influenced our success, and took our company from ordinary to extraordinary.

Be Bold.

To be bold means showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous. Looking back over the last 20 years, one of the reasons for our success was being bold, and not letting fear paralyze our company when we were called to be courageous.

One of the most challenging times of our business was during the great recession. Overnight, our world changed drastically. I observed several clients struggle financially, and one client partner of over 13 years shut down by the FDIC. There was a spirit of fear around us. Many of my own staff had family members who had lost jobs or businesses, and our own project division dropped 30% overnight. It was a scary time to be a business owner, and admittedly I had sleepless nights worrying about providing for all of the families who called MSNW home.

I remember one moment when it seemed tough economic times were crashing down around us, that I too, allowed myself to become paralyzed by fear. One of my managers pulled me aside and said to me, “Janelle, you are always the one that puts the wind in our sails, but you can also take it out.” That was a wakeup call.

I made the fundamental decision that day to do whatever it took to thrive in the down economy, to learn whatever lessons we could as a company and use them to prepare for a great future. It was 2009 and we were in an office space we had outgrown. Our HR Manager didn’t even have a door. But everyone was saying – hunker down, wait for everything to blow over, hold on to your money. Instead, I began seeking larger office space and purchased a new building for our company twice the size of the one we were in. This bold move helped to position ourselves for further growth.

Be Bold. Don’t allow fear to paralyze you. Choosing a mindset of boldness over the last 20 years has propelled MSNW through challenging times and made our company extraordinary.

Boldness: Seeing and seizing the opportunistic moments in life – timidity has never produced a proud moment, only a could-have-been.

“What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.”
― Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese

 

Janelle Bruland, CBSE President, CEO

Janelle Bruland, CBSE
President, CEO

Tool 3: Watch the Wallet

May 19, 2015

Tool 3b

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Management Services Northwest (MSNW). Taking a small cleaning and landscaping company from the living room of my home to a multi-state facility management firm has been an exciting journey with many lessons learned along the way. Over this year, I am sharing with you 10 tools that greatly influenced our success, and took our company from ordinary to extraordinary.

Tool #3 Watch the Wallet

One of the top reasons that businesses fail, frankly individuals as well, is the inability to live within their means.

I was very frugal starting out, holding down another job for the first two years until confident the business could support our family. I remember purchasing our very first work truck, a little red ranger for $1,000 cash. That truck got a lot of miles on it before we put it to rest. As the company grew and had need for larger purchases, each one was planned, budgeted, and paid for with cash.

Years later I consulted a new business and shared my conservative approach. I urged the owner not to be distracted by the shiny new trucks and equipment he wanted to purchase but couldn’t yet afford. He didn’t listen to my advice and had the most beautiful fleet on the road. When times got tough his business went under.

The conservative financial approach really paid off during our recent recession. Companies felt the pressure of lost business and reduced margins, and those with high debt load found they suddenly couldn’t pay payroll. Many went out of business as they had no bridge of cash to carry them through. When our construction division dropped 30 percent over night and we had a fleet of vehicles in the yard, we had no debt on them, allowing us to carry the business forward without concern.

Watch the Wallet. Spending wisely and conserving cash over the last 20 years has brought us through the worst of times and made our company extraordinary. MSNW is well beyond our little red truck, and now has a professional fleet of vehicles and equipment that billboards our brand all over the region.

Nothing happens without focus. Don’t try to do everything at once. Take it one step at a time. — Dave Ramsey

 

Janelle Bruland, CBSE President, CEO

Janelle Bruland, CBSE
President, CEO

Tool 2: Culture is Critical

April 23, 2015

shutterstock_115747024_Values

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Management Services Northwest (MSNW). Taking a small cleaning and landscaping company from the living room of my home to a multi state facility management firm has been an exciting journey with many lessons learned along the way.  Over this year, I am sharing with you 10 tools that greatly influenced our success, and took our company from ordinary to extraordinary.

 

Tool #2. Culture is Critical

One of my most important jobs as CEO of MSNW is to create, enable and sustain our culture. When starting out in 1995 I admit not giving a thought to our company culture. Our culture just was, influenced by my vision and values and lived out through the small team I employed. It wasn’t until 2008, after our company had experienced exponential growth, doubling in size in three years and going from 50 to 100 people that I realized it could no longer be about me. Where I used to know every person on my team I suddenly found myself not knowing everyone’s name.  It was time to be intentional about creating a company culture.

 

With the assistance of a branding consultant, we asked ourselves the questions:

Who are we?

Who do we want to be for our clients?

Why do we exist?

What do we value?

How will we differentiate in the marketplace?

 

In naming our core values and the MSNW way of doing things, we created the culture that would allow us to provide the same customer experience throughout the Northwest Region we serve, from Bellingham to Boise.  We hire by these values, recognize when they are lived, and part ways when they are not. It has helped us in our decision making, what paths we will choose or avoid.

 

Culture is Critical.  Enabling an authentic and sustainable culture has made our company extraordinary.  Focus on bringing people alongside that value what you value, and live and breathe your company’s mission, and watch the amazing results.

 

“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.”
– Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com

“Culture can become a ‘secret weapon’ that makes extraordinary things happen. ”
–  Jon Katzenbach, Booz&Co

Janelle Bruland, CBSE President, CEO

Janelle Bruland, CBSE
President, CEO

First-ever Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award presented to Janelle Bruland

March 19, 2015

HERNDON, Va., March 10, 2015 —The inaugural Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Janelle Bruland, president and CEO of Management Services Northwest, Inc. Bruland’s company has been named one of the fastest growing private companies in the nation by “Inc.” magazine. In the past seven years, she has grown her company four times in size, expanded into five states, and has added more than 200 employees to her team.

The awards were presented at the Breakfast for Business Success sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts. For information about the PLANET awards program, visit bit.ly/PLANETAwards.

About PLANET PLANET (as of April 2015, the National Association of Landscape Professionals) is the voice of 100,000 landscape and lawn care industry professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces. The association advocates on issues impacting its members and offers mentoring and education programs that inspire its members to excellence. Many members become Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the highest standard of industry expertise, business professionalism and knowledge.

Bruland_Press3

Tool 1: People Matter

March 16, 2015

JW Marriott Quote

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Management Services Northwest (MSNW). Taking a small cleaning and landscaping company from the living room of my home to a multi-state facility management firm has been an exciting journey with many lessons learned along the way. Over this year, I would like to share with you 10 tools that greatly influenced our success, and took our company from ordinary to extraordinary.

Tool #1. People Matter

From the early beginnings I realized the company’s success would rise or fall based on the quality of the team that was out in front of our clients every day. I will always remember the first staff meeting I held in the living room of our home in Ferndale, Washington. My words to 10 team members that day went something like this: “I don’t know much about taking care of buildings, but you will teach me. I do however know something about business and I will teach you; and together we will take great care of our clients, they will tell others, and we will grow.”

Over the years, we did just that. I found whenever I clearly defined roles, involved the team in decision making, and everyone understood their valuable part to play, we had success. Alternatively when I took the focus off of the team, we struggled.

I also found that people have very different things that motivate them, and will do their best when you take the time to know them, find out what matters to them, and remove the barriers in their way. If you have someone that loves to work with people, make sure they are in a customer service role with lots of interaction as they will shrivel up working by themselves. Someone else will shine brightest when working independently.

People matter. A focus on caring about the individuals that call MSNW home has made our company extraordinary. Bring out the best in your team members, and they will bring out the best in your company.

 

Janelle Bruland, CBSE President, CEO

Janelle Bruland, CBSE
President, CEO

MSNW Wins Landscape Image Award

March 3, 2015

WALP Award4 Management Services Northwest (MSNW) wins prestigious Landscape Image Award. WALP, the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals held their annual award banquet on January 24, 2015 and MSNW was presented an image award for one of their landscape renovation projects at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center located in Bellingham, Washington. Ben VanDyken, Project Manager at MSNW, attended and accepted the award for the company.

Management Musings – New Year/Fresh Start

January 8, 2015


I have always liked the start of something new-a new project, a new book, and yes, a new year. A New Year is a new beginning, and an opportunity for all of us to make a fresh start.

We have a tradition in my family of taking time to pause at the beginning of each year to reflect back on what we accomplished the year before, and to set goals for the year ahead. This time we asked each other three simple questions:

What do I want more of?
What do I want less of?
What is just right?

These are important questions to reflect on as how can we change if we don’t first know what we want to change?  Our family agreed on wanting to have more fun together, less worry.  After all of the holiday parties you can relate to this one: more exercise, less sweets.  From these thoughts we developed individual and family goals which varied from keeping a daily budget to finding a new job; starting yoga to qualifying for the New York marathon.

I appreciate the “just right” question which asks us what we want to stay the same. Sometimes this may be the question to start with as we often take for granted the many things going well in our lives.  I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my spouse, at my job, and chasing after those crazy kids.  Our daughter stated she wanted her values to stay the same with every decision. (Yes! Keep up the coaching parents-it does pay off.)

So what about you? Take time to reflect on and then write down what you want more of, less of, and what should stay the same. Then use this list to set goals with your first step of action. Share with someone who can help hold you accountable. Find ways to celebrate the wins.

A New Year is a new beginning and a great time for a fresh start. Make 2015 your best year yet!

 

Management Services Northwest Welcomes Todd Ramsay as Regional Operations Manager

December 3, 2014

Ferndale, WA, December 1, 2014 – Management Services Northwest is pleased to announce Todd Ramsay as its Regional Operations Manager. His professional background brings diversity to the team with twenty years as Bellingham Police Chief and as a community trainer and presenter for the US Department of Treasury. Ramsay is dedicated to the community as a past president of the board at Boys and Girls Club Whatcom County and founding board member at Whatcom Homeless Services Center. Ramsay sees himself as a team player and believes organizations should run as a team effort. In his down time he enjoys writing and has a few publications in law enforcement and problem solving.

 

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