There are literally thousands of successful janitorial companies. But not everyone has a successful business. Many people struggle on a day-to-day basis, and there are business owners who think their business is doing great but don’t realize they are treading water at best. As the saying goes, it is hard to see the forest for the trees. After all, business owners invest the entirety of their time, energy and resources into building a successful economic engine, not only for themselves but for their family, community, staff and customers. Sometimes individuals can be so focused on what they are doing that they are blinded to the reality of everyday struggles!
Asking yourself the following questions will help you see your business more clearly.
“Am I or my staff struggling with my operations plan?”
It sounds easy but it’s harder than it looks. Take time to really assess whether your business plan is working. Look for pain points: with your customers, your staff, and in your office…nothing is sacred in this assessment. Make a list and ask around, paying close attention to the people on the ground doing the work. Once you have the list together, think about which items need to be addressed and how. Finally: refine, refine, refine. The only way to survive is to adapt.
“Is my quality control system effective?”
Quality control is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when assessing your cleaning business. It needs to be effective, efficient and, most importantly, consistent. It doesn’t matter if your quality control operations catch errors only some of the time; errors need to be caught essentially all the time. That’s how your reputation is built, and rarely is there any room for a business that keeps things “mostly good”. In the commercial cleaning industry, there are too many businesses that don’t take this seriously. That gives those of us with a consistently high-quality level of service an advantage over the competition. Not all industries are like ours, but you better believe your customers will notice if your service is consistently of a higher quality than competitors.
“Are my staff members working together as efficiently as they could?”
That old saying about round pegs not fitting into square holes is true, even if the success of round pegs tempts you to shoot for the exception. You want to ask yourself if staff conflict is causing more trouble than is necessary. Even better, as you hire new staff, think about how each staff member fits into the larger system. Do skills overlap to create a comprehensive blanket of abilities? Is one staff member’s lack of social grace compensated by a rare wealth of experience? These are the kinds of complementary relationships to shoot for. Finally, will a new hire fit in with the team?
“Are my staff members engaged with my business?”
It doesn’t end with hiring the right folks. Ask yourself: is your staff coming to work and sleepwalking through tasks, or are they excited and engaged? If they aren’t, it’s not necessarily their fault. This can be difficult to ascertain from the business-owner’s perspective, but it’s very important to be honest with yourself. The solution could be as simple as hosting social events, educational programs, or creating a reward system. Or, it could be a staffing issue (see previous section).
“Am I still actively developing my business?”
Finally, even though it may be tempting when the business is running smoothly, never stop thinking about how your business can grow. It shouldn’t be tiresome, have fun! Network until your voice gives out. You never know where your next lead will come from, particularly in this modern communication landscape where Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and countless other social media tools extend your reach beyond what was previously imaginable. Use all your networks!
Bonus question: “Why should I trust this guy?”
Every business owner (including myself) should ask themselves these questions, not just once, but constantly as their business grows. If your business is slipping or has plateaued, don’t get frustrated, take a deep breath and ask yourself the important questions! Becoming frustrated will only add to your problems. There are more pitfalls in the business world than one can count, so focus on the positive over the negative! Starting with these questions, you can deal with some of them before they sink your ship.
Know when you need extra help. Turning to an expert to help grow your business may be the best decision you ever make.
About the author:
Tim Conn is president and co-founder of Image One USA, a Wood Dale, IL-based commercial cleaning franchise with nearly 100 locations that trains franchisees in all facets of the business, including sales, operations, and quality control. The company has received recognition for franchise-owner satisfaction by the authoritative Franchise Business Review. For more information, visit imageoneusa.com or imageonefranchise.com.