Find out why both 1st-time and returning attendance is UP at the ISSA Trade Show and ARCSI Conventions.
With employee training, quality control, and ongoing employee engagement in the headlines related to the new virtual maid services, it’s no wonder we saw a lot more sessions on these topics. And given the consumer trend toward less face-to-face and even voice communication on the front end of service adoption, many business owners are already finding that giving more attention and resources to the technicians and support staff is paying off.

It was nearly impossible to miss at least one session each day that touched on these topics: from how much training your techs need with Debbie Sardone to using a strong on-boarding program to get them connected to and engaged with your company with Leslie Power and Christina Bria. 

ISSA Education Arena coordinator David Schweizer reports that the ARCSI-member led session by Liz Trotter and Derek Christian on employee engagement was the highest attended session on the show floor, with standing room only!

And the BSCAI program included one of the few sessions on the Affordable Care Act as well as sessions on helping your staff with goal setting and achieving and creating a culture of trust towards great success.

Sales and Marketing
While beginner and basic small business marketing is a valuable perennial session topic and always of interest, this year saw the beginnings of some truly innovate marketing and sales implementation using sales automation tools like Infusionsoft, a sponsor of the CBT-ARCSI Disruptive Innovation Summit.

But if you’re not quite ready to take that step, make sure you’re moving the bulk of your marketing energy online with an active, authentic and engaged social media presence and frequent management of your SEO and local keyword placement by the various search engines. If you’re not on the first page of search results, you’re not getting found by potential clients.

The ARCSI schedule made marketing and sales the exclusive topic on the first day of their convention with additional sessions throughout the week while marketing and sales topics comprised a full 25% of the BSCAI education schedule.

Valuing Disruptive Innovation
While a full day’s schedule hit hard on the recent uses of mobile apps and online services to reach out to the millennial generation consumer, we can’t forget the very first disruption most business owners face: working ON your business instead of IN or FOR your business. It comes when you get that one extra customer that’s too many for your lone schedule to handle. It happens again when you begin to transition from being a peer cleaner with your staff to being the boss in the office.

When you’re a medium-sized company, disruption can feel extremely volatile because you’re dealing with the age-old business growth spurts and plateaus while at the same time learning, implementing and perfecting the latest client acquisition and employee recruiting and retention strategies before the tools change or become obsolete. That’s what happens in a highly connected and mobile world.

And when you’ve achieved and exceeded that $1 million revenue mark, disruption comes in the form of expansion and diversification: as mergers and acquisition of local/regional companies, as satellite offices in new service areas, as a new franchise, as adding co-lateral services – all of which add value for existing clientele and also attract new customers.

“You can choose to deny it, you can choose to defend against it, or you can choose to disrupt it. I strongly advocate that the only way to build a truly successful company is to disrupt it…. Following sucks. In economic terms is sucks because everyone that is second, third, and smaller takes more than their fair share of the beating. You do not want to be the follower because you will be the economic shock absorber.” ~Doug Williamson, The Beacon Group, CBT-ARCSI Disruptive Innovation Summit

“Millennials value cordial and invisible. Not friendly, cordial. It is a different thing. They want you to be nice, but they do not want to have a relationship with you. Millennials are much more likely to rent all things in their life. They rent their homes; they rent their cars. They rent everything…. Don’t play whack-a-mole with your employee’s cell phone. If you compete with their cell phone for attention, you are going to lose the millennial generation. You need to learn how to enable it and take advantage of it within your business.” ~Bob Wendover, Center for Generational Studies, CBT-ARCSI Disruptive Innovation Summit

“How do you connect with the most diverse, distracted, busy, wired, impatient, skeptical, consumers of all time? The Digital Natives. Those that grew up in a world with the technology as we know it. If it does not exist on their smart phone, it does not exist.” ~Derek Christian, My Maid Service and Cleaning Business Today

“I learned from Bob Wendover that I am a Digital Immigrant.” ~Tom Stewart, Castle Keepers and Cleaning Business Today

Attendee Take-Aways
“As a first-time attendee of the convention, I am happy to say that I am pleased with the event and will plan on attending again. I had a great sense of feeling welcomed by returning attendees, and loved the Disruptive Innovation Summit! The ability to talk with other maid service owners and talk about challenges as well as successes has proven to be extremely helpful. My biggest takeaway was realizing that more and more we are going to a less interactive way of processing orders; that is, online scheduling or scheduling service via email is becoming more of the norm. I can’t wait to see what next year has to offer!” ~Tina Servis, Maid 4 Time

“This was my 2nd convention, and I have to say I just can’t get enough!  Since I’m a member of the Foundations of Success IV, it was so great to meet people in our group and to see people I met from convention last year as well! And winning an award for best website was also a highlight. 😉  I took the HCT class and learned a great deal about surfaces, products, etc., and even got to use a Ladybug; now that I’m back in Oklahoma, I have ordered one from Tom! It seems that the topics/speakers this year were right on target for what I needed to enhance/grow my business.  I feel like part of a family when I’m at convention. I look forward to the next one, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015!” ~Amy Wiggs-King, 2 Green Chicks

“I went into this year’s convention seeking information that would help me build the stronger foundation that supports the company, office systems and procedures. Beefing up customer satisfaction and value via quicker response times and add on services. Utilizing a new way to reach people, who check out our webpage but never pick up that phone to talk to us, by way of quoting applications we can install on our webpage. The all-important financial tracking and record keeping are important to me as well and I always walk away with new ideas and systems that we can use to tweak those numbers! I go to every class I can. Even if I don’t think I need it, I go. By listening to the speaker my mind kicks in high gear. I always end up jotting down notes on things I want to achieve. I have a full blown plan at the end of conference week, and I’m ready to run with it! I returned to the office post-conference with my mind in a whirl of new and exciting ideas that I am happily working on to reach my goals.” ~Enid Tate-Shephard, Enid’s Cleaning Service

“This was my first convention and it was AMAZING!  I was overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge through the classes, meetings and the ISSA Trade Show.  It was great to be able to ask questions, share information and interact with other cleaning service professionals.  I felt so motivated returning to work and started implementing things I learned.  It was an awesome experience and I can’t wait till Vegas!” ~Marlo Kanipe, Deserved Comfort Housekeeping, LLC

“I have been to almost every convention since ARCSI started, and I think this one may have been the best one yet!  It felt very organized, from registration to speakers being well prepared and running on time.  The topics covered were broader than just cleaning and yet specific to running a business as a whole.  I enjoyed seeing new faces of both speakers and attendees; that keeps the experience fresh for me.  All and all, it was money very well spent; I have already made some significant changes (like becoming an S Corp) that will more than pay for the cost of attending.  I always say if I just make one significant change as a result of attending, it will more than pay for itself, and this year was no exception.  Thank you ARCSI and all the volunteers for making this year’s convention such a great learning experience!” ~Leslie Power, Leslie’s Cleaning Services

Planning for the 2015 ISSA Trade Show and Conventions
Before the trade show floor had closed, ISSA announced that the Las Vegas hotels hosting attendees were ready to start taking reservations. ARCSI had auctioned off several convention registrations and hotel accommodations at Bally’s already. And BSCAI had launched its 2015 events calendar online in preparation for another year’s convening of the largest annual gathering of cleaning professional in North America. Whichever group(s) best support your business goals, block off the week of October 19-24, 2015 to make sure you don’t miss anything!