When Covid-19 started to become a reality in America, it was devastating. Especially so for small businesses. As most cleaning companies are small businesses, it hit this industry hard. Everything was up in the air. Especially at the beginning when people were not sure who counted as essential, who would get government assistance, and if customers would want people coming into their homes. One of the spotlight presentations of the ISSA Show 2020 told us how some of the best responses in the industry were handled.
The host of this spotlight, Carrie Knight, lead a very interesting discussion about leadership and resilience. With her was a group of leaders in the cleaning industry that showed their mettle when times got tough during COVID. Among these leaders were, RJ Patel, VP of PCT Clean, Elena Ledoux, CEO of Supurb Maids, Dan Smith, Owner of Home Maid Better, and Gosia Baran, Owner of Helping Hands Cleaning.
Each of these industry leaders did something different, yet effective to face the threat to their business. However, the common thread in each of their course of actions remained the same. Generosity. Be it paying their employees full time when everything was shut down, helping charities, or giving away disinfectant to the public when there was hardly any to spare in stores, they all decided helping others and protecting their employees was the best course of action.
Ultimately, their decisions to help others led to their businesses actually thriving under COVID-19. The goodwill they gained from their generosity was ultimately invaluable as many new customers cropped up as well as customers becoming more loyal. An important point, however, is that these actions weren’t made to make themselves look better, or for marketing. They did these things to help their community, which is ultimately their pool of customers. Gaining goodwill with the community was simply a bonus for helping those in need.
A few reasons these leaders also seemed to succeed was their ability to think of the future. For instance, when COVID-19 started picking up in China, many of the industry leaders in this spotlight did their own research. They learned from experts, doctors, anyone they could to try and analyze their options and figure out what to do. For instance, Gosia started to stockpile disinfectant supplies to try and get ahead of the curve, RJ spoke to his representative, and Elena started doing research by asking first-hand experts in the medical field.
According to Carrie Knight, there were about five different points that summarized this spotlight, and I am inclined to agree. Below, is the list of the points as well as an explanation for each.
- Be A Leader
- Be careful who you listen to
- Act as your life depends on it
Each of the people in this talk acted as a leader in their time of trouble. They did not show fear and were able to convince their employees that it will all be taken care of. Some especially so. For instance, RJ Patel took the initiative to call his state representative. RJ didn’t call him out of greed. He called him and acted civil, discussing with his representative about what exactly his company did. He was able to convince the representative that cleaning companies were in fact essential businesses. This act of leadership eventually helped get cleaning businesses government assistance across the country. And during the meantime, RJ paid his employees full-time wages when everything was locked down. His employees knew they were going to be taken care of.
Faith was another important aspect. Having faith in yourself to take care of business is key. When you know what to do stick with it and have faith you will get through the mess. Not having faith in yourself ensures that your plans will not work. Having faith in yourself also helps you act as a leader. Your employees will see the confidence in your decisions and will respect you for it.
- Be Careful Who You Listen To
Being careful about who you listen to was an important piece of information from this talk as well. With so much false information being spread around, you have to get the information that is accurate. To quote the book Dune, “False information-False results”. If you don’t have accurate information coming from a legit source, your course of action is going to be skewed and your plan will result in error. Finding correct information is essential to a good business plan.
Number four on this list turned out to be very helpful for the leaders in this spotlight. ARCSI was an incredible source for them as it gave them access to a community of successful people who shared the same goals. Having this connection gave them all opportunity to receive or give support to the cleaning business community which ultimately helped them thrive.
- Act Like Your Life Depends On It
Acting as your life depends on it falls in line with the idea of faith. If you don’t execute your plan with the intent to kill, you won’t succeed. Your attitude is extremely important and your ability to fight for your employees and your company is paramount. Everyone has this ability, it is just up to you to find it within yourself.
This article comes from the ISSA 2020 Virtual Experience. If you want to learn more click HERE.
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