ArborTimes Fall 2022

The prototype was functional in initial testing, but merely a starting point. Finley’s design needed refinement.

Business Expansion through Innovation By Emily W. Duane

The reasons for starting a business are fairly similar across services and products, and even across industries. Perhaps it starts with the desire to be one’s own boss. According to research conducted by Guidant Financial, an American small business financing company, nearly 61% respondents stated being their own boss was their biggest motivation. Other motivators include turning passion into profit, be- cause the opportunity simply present- ed itself, or even as the result of recent unemployment. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a whopping 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, possibly because of the number of unemployed people as the result of the pandemic. Howev- er, many entrepreneurs get their start because they’ve identified a “problem” and are uniquely positioned to provide a solution. This can be the case for many tree care businesses. One enterprising person with a chain saw might get their start

by offering their services to neighbors. Business growth can come through re- ferrals at first, but as clients start ask- ing about a tree dropping leaves pre- maturely, or deer munching on plants, the business can grow through service expansion. It’s up to an owner to skill up and/or bring on team members with specialized knowledge, and more team members translates to increased capac- ity to take on more work with existing clients or new clients. Kenneth Finley’s experience launch- ing SawHaul, and its evolution into GearHaul, is not unlike the evolution of building and growing a tree care company. Finley, CEO of GearHaul, based in Chanute, Kan., got his start by accident—literally. Aer acciden- tally running over a brand-new com- mercial chain saw gied to him by his wife, Shannon, Finley realized he likely wasn’t the only person who was carry- ing small equipment in the bucket of a tractor out of necessity, for lack of better storage options. The mishap re- sulted in a fruitless search for a chain saw caddy. When he couldn’t find one on the market, Finley decided to create his own. TAPPING INTO YOUR NETWORK It’s not uncommon for a new busi- ness owner to leverage their network

The SawHaul went through several iterations before the design on the market today. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.

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