I attended my chamber's Fall Forum event at a local theater with four business leaders sharing on the state of the economy and business. For the purposes of this podcast, I'll keep the panelists nameless, but will share their backgrounds. Their backgrounds were the following: an analyst from the FED, a chief lending officer from a local bank, a machine shop owner, and the owner of a construction engineering company. I listened to each of the men talk on the state of the economy and business and the lessons they've learned and implemented. A theme emerged in my mind. The construction engineer noticed that customers in residential real estate were more interested in energy efficient homes than ever as they wanted less expenses to operate the home. In past years, people didn't care about this as much. The machine shop owner struggled to get good tradesman to work for him. He was reluctant to take on new work. Therefore, instead of growing the bottom line, he focused on taking care of what he already had. He focused on his existing team and doing the work he could handle. He gave increased compensation and benefits and intangibles. He focused on relationships with his team and his vendors. I thought this was incredible as his culture is now booming and morale is way up and it's more desirable to work for him than ever before. All of this happened because he couldn't grow. The loan officer shared the point of view from his customers that he lends to. He notices that businesses are doing more tightening of the budget and watching their expense lines. They are watching their cash flows also to make sure they can handle what's coming next with increasing interest rates. He mentioned one customer that normally would do a single projection for the next 12-24 months. That same business owner is doing 3-5 projections at any point similar to a meteorologist tracking a hurricane on weather.com.
A SOP Story with Kate Sloan
The Smart Cleaning Tribe has been a fun membership to run these last 4+ years. Our founding members have grown significantly as they set goals and hold each other accountable each month. Every month, I bring a subject-matter expert into the Tribe to resource the members. Our very own, Kate Sloan of Chicka Chicka Broom in Montgomery, MN, stepped up to lead the call in September 2022. She has a superpower of utilizing standard operating procedures (SOPs) so well in her business. Kate has been such a resource to the other members. We were all grateful for her sharing so much that day with us. This clip is the first 25 minutes of the 100 minute call where Kate describes her business at the different stages. It's very helpful and encouraging. It's sort of like the 45-year-old without a retirement plan yet that suddenly puts it all together at 50. That's me by the way! Ha! That was Kate as well with SOPs in her business. This 25-minute clip is a SOP story with Kate Sloan.
If you're interested in leveling up your goals each month and having a tribe to hold you accountable as you achieve them, the Smart Cleaning Tribe is for you. Check out the videos and testimonials on our Tribe page and apply to join the 1% Club! You can also book a free coaching call on the Smart Cleaning School website at www.smartcleaningschool.com. Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available on the website as well.
Relationships Trump Transactions
Coach Josh and I use Marco Polo to communicate during the week. He allows me to send questions as I have them. He listens and responds when he gets the chance. I'm very grateful to have Josh Melton in my corner as we grow C3 to the next level in 2023, which is to add the second building block and earn over $100,000 income from the cleaning business. Josh and I had an exchange on November 8th and 9th of 2022 that was so interesting to me. I've never heard it talked about before in the cleaning groups or other podcasts. I had to cover it here.
Ghosted But Not Forgotten
Have you ever had a customer or an employee that ghosted you and you didn't know why it happened? When this happens early in your business, it really affects your confidence and your heart. Some of you may have had this happen with a first girlfriend or boyfriend. It makes you question whether you should be doing what you're doing. It's natural. Rejection is very difficult.
Warnings Against HazMat and 1099s
I met a young lady named Brittany Holter on a Zoom call in December 2022. Brittany is a mom, military wife, and new cleaning business owner. She is growing fast and starting to struggle with the good problem of too much work. Her niche is in AirBnB. Brittany reached out to me by booking a free coaching call on my website. Our conversation was wide-reaching and I certainly asked her permission to record in case we talked about anything that could help other listeners like herself. Brittany agreed and we did! There were 3 topics that we touched on that I wanted to share in one episode. They are how to deal with hazardous material or HazMat, scaling, and the do's and don't with 1099 subcontractors. I have included a clip from our hour-long free coaching call to give you the highlights.
You Must Let Go of Your Control
This is a powerful follow up to my last episode, Building Blocks, I shared a story about Legos and building your cleaning company in blocks that are duplicatable. I had developed a building block as an optimized solo cleaner, but there was no scaling needed. I shared in Building Blocks that we created our first scalable building block in 2022 which was comprised on 16 commercial locations and 8 employees. This block earned my family $40,000 income on $166,000 in annual revenue. This is not a good percentage to keep because the first block is very unprofitable. The second block nearly triples our income. There is something vital that I did not mention that really deserves its own episode. How was I able to trust others after being a solo cleaner for 15 years? How was I able to delegate, create systems, and get others to do just as amazing a job cleaning as I did solo? Do you ever find yourself asking that question? Here's the simple answer. You must let go of your control or you'll never succeed with a team.
My boys love to build Legos! It's one of their favorite things to do. You should see the look on their faces when they open a brand new 3-in-1 set on Christmas Day. It's even more awesome to see my 5-year-old building that same Christmas Lego set on the kitchen floor a few hours later while his brothers are working on theirs. Once and a while, I'll even help them if they let me. A few years ago, we got them Ikea furniture for Christmas. Boring, right? Nope. They each got 9 pull-out organizer bins with a table top for their Legos. Oh my, did they run with that one. They spend hours taking every Lego and carefully placing them into the right color-coded bin. It was a win for the boys as they could build their own projects easier with the organizer like a true Master Builder and it was a win for mom and dad as it kept their Legos in one place...sort of. Legos are kind of like a virus. They spread. Legos end up everywhere. Since getting them the Ikea organizers, my boys have used all available flat space on the family room hard floors, kitchen table, and certainly their bedroom tabletop areas and floors to construct massive Lego ciites. They combine other building materials like Duplo and wooden blocks from games we have like Giant Jenga and Kapla blocks. They bring their stuffed animals and plastic animal toys into the creation and then play for hours. It's mesmerizing. Boys love to build.
Action Unlimited Story: "Our founder, Alan Glazar, joined the Marine Corps at age 17. Wounded in Vietnam, the Marine Corps trained him in heating and cooling where he worked for the remainder of his service. While he didn’t enjoy working on HVAC systems, it exposed him to mechanical skills and a field where he was involved in inspections, repairs, quality control, and maintenance. After leaving the military, he became a janitor for a company that distributed cleaning supplies. His responsibilities quickly expanded from sweeping floors to making coffee, adding up invoices, and calculating daily profits. One day the owner said, “Kid, I want you to go out and sell.” That day Alan discovered his calling—helping customers. And boy was he good at it. The competition soon noticed and another company grabbed him. Throughout his time at the company, Alan rose to fill the shoes of general manager, purchasing manager, and sales manager before eventually running the company as the right hand for the owner. In 1982, Alan founded Action Paper & Chemical Co, a company founded with the mindset of a salesman on the street with a simple guarantee: 100% Customer satisfACTION! As time progressed and our product line expanded, a name change was necessary. Today, as Action Unlimited Resources, we are still family-owned and operated and we continue to handle customer needs with a sense of urgency – just as Alan founded the company.
Best Of - Get a Name for Doing
This episode has turned out to be one of the most important in my entire podcast episode catalog. I had just joined the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce after meeting with our Chamber Director, Steven Hunsberger in "I'm the Only Cleaner". A few short months later, I was sitting with new Chamber mentor Ken Byler of Higher Ground Consulting. Ken is a leadership coach and amazing listener. I was asking him how I should approach my chamber membership. In this episode, Ken tells me the best advice I've received for the C3 business. "Ken, get a name for doing." It was a selfless strategy to build a reputation in the chamber and business community as someone that cared, that got involved, that made a difference. I took that advice and applied it. Now, I serve on the chamber membership committee and have an outstanding reputation with the membership and leadership team. This reputation has also increased our local commercial cleaning business revenue by over $25,000 per year directly and probably another $40,000 per year indirectly. I highly encourage each and every one of you to soak this episode in and take action!
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.