Green Lawn Fertilizing Hosts Students from Chester County Futures
Green Lawn Fertilizing makes an effort to give back to its community whenever possible. One thing it believes very strongly in is the education of local children, which is why on November 3rd, 2015 Green Lawn Fertilizing hosted over fifty middle school students belonging to Chester County Futures’ “Futures AHEAD” program and five West Chester University students for an invaluable day of learning.
Chester County Futures is a poverty prevention program providing academic mentoring and scholarship support for motivated, disadvantaged Chester County youth. Their goal is to prepare students for college and teach them life skills to be self-sufficient. Their Futures AHEAD program is designed to set low-income middle school students on the path towards higher education through enrichment camps at local corporate or educational sites.
Chester County Futures arrived at Green Lawn Fertilizing’s office in West Chester at 8:30 AM. After being served breakfast the students were broken up into four groups. A West Chester University student, a Chester Valley Futures volunteer and a Green Lawn Fertilizing employee lead each group around the Green Lawn Fertilizing facility to learn about how a local lawn care and pest control service operates. Five members of Green Lawn management were set up at their own stations and told each group about their area of focus. Adam Granito, Pest General Manager, told the kids about how Green Pest Solutions operates. Chris Dejohn demonstrated how to use various pieces of lawn equipment. Alex Wolfington showed the kids the sales office. Kelly Zynn spoke about customer service and Ben Schloss presented the various marketing channels the company utilizes to bring in new business.
After the company tour, everyone convened in the training room for Green Lawn Fertilizing’s owner and President Matt Jesson’s speech to all the kids. As an entrepreneur who built a small lawn cutting business into the largest regional lawn care and pest control company in the greater Philadelphia region well before the age of 40, he was a tremendous resource for the Chester County Future students to hear from. He explained to the kids how hard it is to start a business. “80% of businesses fail within the first 5 years. Of the 20% of businesses that make it 5 years, an additional 80% fail within the next 5 years.” Jesson went on to explain how he and other entrepreneurs have beaten the odds as he laid out his three keys to building a great business:
- Build a business plan
- Recruit the best people
- Never stop learning
Jesson really made sure to emphasize the last key to the kids. With his unique gusto he told the kids “ I don’t care if you are 80 years old or in the 6th grade, the most successful people are lifelong learners.”
Upon the conclusion of Matt Jesson’s impassioned speech, the students broke into their groups again and were tasked with coming up with an idea for a start-up company. The kids came up with some tremendous ideas. The four groups devised plans for a 24 hour taco restaurant, a cell phone case that becomes a secondary screen, an after-school video game entertainment center, and a pet care / walking company. Each group brainstormed a company name, a tag line, and what their company services would be. They then went around to different stations set up around the training room where members of Green Lawn Fertilizing management answered and asked questions regarding their personal area of expertise. There were stations for finance, marketing, human resources, sales, and customer service. After speaking with the Green Lawn Fertilizing experts, the students worked within their groups to implement what they learned into their businesses.
The students were served lunch and then were on their way to Immaculata University for a continuance of the day’s invaluable education. The kids were all very appreciative of the time the Green Lawn Fertilizing employees spent to teach them about business and thanked them on their way out of the office.
The students left with an understanding about all the pieces of the puzzle that go into starting and running a business. At one point in the morning the students actually put together a puzzle that had each of the essential departments of a business. The kids were nice enough to all sign the back of one of these puzzle pieces and give it as a gift to Green Lawn Fertilizing as a memento of this special day.