Fresh Perspective
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Fresh Perspective

The new year provides those in the snow and ice industry a unique opportunity to re-imagine and tweak their business operations. ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride adds some key pathways for success.

January 8, 2021

Industry veteran and business coach Joe Kujawa, during a recent episode of The Snow Magazine Podcast, advised snowfighters to approach 2021 like a start-up, and this concept really got me thinking.

I believe Joe’s message really hits the nail on the head for the professional snow and ice management industry, especially after 2020’s challenging business climate. When Joe says “think like a start-up” he means to re-emphasize the importance of solid planning, the virtues of running lean, and to be quick on your feet to better deal with the curve balls 2021 might through at us over the next 12 months. And in adopting the start-up mindset, Joe stresses the importance of teamwork in achieving success, especially in carrying out your business plan and in maintaining sight of your short- and long-term goals.

Joe’s episode of the podcast got me thinking about some of the other areas where entrepreneurial ingenuity would strengthen your business. Here are a few additional essential start-up steps to key in on.

Identify Business Opportunities. Examine where and how you’re doing business and determine if these approaches are sustainable. In addition, see where future clients may come from as you expand and grow your snow and ice management ops. Likewise, identify those clients who are no longer an operational fit, or are more trouble than they’re worth.

Branding. Take a hard look not only at your corporate logo, but also your corporate name. As you grow, evolve and experience successes, often the moniker you start with no longer fully encompasses your service offerings or your corporate philosophy. Likewise, updating your logo and brand can serve as a fresh coat of paint for your company’s culture.

Location. Determine whether your existing headquarters still serves your business needs, as well as affords you room to grow over the next three to five years. You may learn that it’s time to move. If so, consult with a commercial real estate professional and begin to learn what your options are and where they exist in relations to your market.

Continued Development. Education is critical to long-term success. Therefore, I suggest adopting the Industry Standards and enroll your key personnel in ASCA-C training and certification. Likewise, convene with your top lieutenants and have a hard discussion about ISO certification. There’s a very good chance you’re already 75% of the way there just by operating a successful snow and ice management operation. An investment in ISO certification can pay dramatic, long-term dividends for your business.

We’re all looking at 2021 as a fresh start. Therefore, as an owner or top manager it’s important to remain agile and keep your company or snow operation lean, adapting, and moving forward. Good luck and stay safe.

Kevin Gilbride serves as the Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association. You can reach him at