There’s a big difference between being a business owner and being a cleaner.
I have been in business for seven years, and many things have changed since I started. There have been ups and downs, but this year – 2015 – has become the most important for me. This is the year that I changed my thinking about hiring, strategy, delegation and finances. And it all started with Foundations of Success six months ago.
Hiring: Learning to Hire Field Replacements
When I hired my first employee, I thought I would find simply an assistant to help me to clean, not someone who would ever clean without me. I kept track of (read: micromanaged) what she was doing all the time. I never corrected or coached her because I knew that I was the best cleaner ever, and nobody was going to replace me. But I learned that if I wanted be a business owner rather than a cleaner, I had to choose to change my perspective.
Now, I hire for my company’s core values, which my staff represents. I hire employees who embody the ideas of caring, reliability, a non-judgmental attitude and punctuality. I developed a system to train people so they can do a great job on their own – without me constantly hovering. Maintaining these values helps me to hire good people, and good people help me to build a great team. A great team is the foundation of my company.
Strategy: Learning to See Beyond the Daily Fires
As a cleaner, I never looked at the big picture. I was focused only on day-to-day operations. Potential clients were calling me because of my good reputation; I didn’t need to advertise. But, I did not make rules for dealing with my clients. I always just did what they requested.
I did not know where my business was going to be in five years. I did not know where I wanted to be in one year.
As a CEO, I am focusing on where the company is going, and a big part of that was defining the core values of my company. They empower me to focus on a clear picture where I want my business to be. They guide me to attract and nurture the kind of clients I will accept and the kind of employees I will hire. Thanks to this clear vision, I can set real goals against real benchmarks and accomplish them by the deadlines I set.
Delegation: Learning to Discern Between Routine Task and Strategic Decisions
As a cleaner, it was very hard for me to let go of the day-to-day functioning of my business. I thought if you want something to be done right; you have to do it yourself. But delegation is crucial in growing a company. Running a business becomes easier if you do not have to do everything. It wasn’t easy, and I started with a part-time person in the office until I got used to handing off routine tasks, things I myself didn’t always have to do to get right. Now, I hire field techs and office support when I need to create more time for myself to focus on my more strategic goals that take time, thought, planning, and the support of the Foundations of Success coaches and network.
The Numbers: Learning to Measure Growth, Not Dollars
When I was working on my own, I did not have to worry about company expenses. Whatever I made, I put in my bank account.
When I became a business owner, I had to pay attention to finances. Measuring growth is more than simply checking the bank balance every day to see if it’s going up. I have to know what is affordable and track my overhead expenses, especially the big ticket items like payroll and the recurring things like cleaning supplies. These numbers are important because they tell me if my company is growing.
I realized I needed to change my thinking in order to grow my business. I needed to see the big picture, follow my vision, establish my goals and make a plan. These four changes are helping me create the business I want to have, the business where people want to work, and the business clients recognize and appreciate.
Marzena Ziembicka is CEO and founder of Keep Your Home Clean, a professional residential cleaning service in Manhattan. Marzena is an alumnus of the Foundations of Success program from Cleaning Business Builders.