When I was 13, I got a job with the Movie Exchange. It was the company owned bye buy step-grandparents Monty and Shelly Tibbitts, whom I've talked about in prior episodes. They were the only entrepreneurs in my teen years, but I never had the courage to ask them real questions on business mindset. I wish that I had! However, I did learn a ton from them by watching the way the they lived and the way others treated them. First of all, they had money! There were always two Jags in the driveway. They owned a private plane, a boat, a beach house, wave runners. Secondly, they had beautiful decor and they entertained first rate. Check out "Eat with your Eyes First". The Tibbitts' were all about serving and mingling family with business. They made their business deals and built relationships with employees and their families at the dinner table in their home. Their imprint is definitely on me as an adult entrepreneur. I just didn't recognize it until Pop-Pop Monty passed away a few years ago.
My son was getting frustrated with cutting the grass. We have an acre and he'd take 2 days to complete it. His total time was 2 hr 45 min (30 min prep, filling up grass, picking up large sticks, cleaning up yard toys and moving furniture) and 2 hr 15 min to mow over 2 days. He wanted a riding mower because it was taking too long.
Chest freezers are super-hard to get right now with the COVID pandemic. They are back ordered by manufacturers and the used market is dry. So when Teresa came across one on Facebook Marketplace, she jumped at the opportunity as she really wants one. It was a great deal and the seller was going above and beyond to save it for us. He assured me that it worked and I trusted him. He's a business person and had a solid story for why he was selling it. I'm usually a very good judge of trust.
In this podcast, I share an incredible case study from my friend Hugh Gbewonyo from Foot Solutions in Norristown, PA. Before I go into Hugh's case study, it's important to understand his industry and how he chose to niche. The shoe industry has been growing year-after-year from the 1-to-1 shoe salesman model to the box store. My dad was a shoe salesman in small private owned mall store who knew shoes, was great with people, and took the time with each. I sold shoes years later in a box store where I was trained to help as many as I could and how to properly greet and "sell" them. This is the retail model that took over every industry for the past 40 years. Hugh didn't want that kind of shoe store. He wanted to set himself apart and really help people with every day life by becoming a certified pedorthist. Although he's not a medical doctor for feet, he can analyze feet & gait to recommend custom shoes for people. Thus, his shoe store is a sub-niche from shoe stores.
I host an accountability & mastermind call every Monday for the SMART Cleaning Tribe. We are a family of cleaning service owners with teams (that used to be solo). I'm the architect of this group of amazing people, always looking for the 1% that desires to set monthly SMART goals and be held accountable to their achievement. Check out the episode "The Accountability Roadmap" to learn more about the 1% club.
For the past several episodes, I have focused in on the current crisis of COVID-19 in hopes of helping you through it. It's May and spring is in the air. States are beginning their reacclamation to the world. I felt it was time to catch you up on my own solo cleaning business and get back to the show format that I began. Before I go backward, let me share an awesome story. In "Local Heroes", Ellen Johnston of Above & Beyond Housekeeping in Reading, PA was ecstatic as her company's video clip on the news of passing out free sanitizer to her community was picked up in a video by musical superstar Alicia Keys. Ellen's very own Cary Extraordinary (my nickname) is featured at the 53-sec mark in Alicia's new song "Good Job" music video! So cool!
Perfectionism is a big problem in the cleaning industry. It took me over 15 minutes to say it in the podcast. It's really not that complex. Perfection is working hard to make YOU as happy as possible and you may never get there. Excellence is working hard to make THE CUSTOMER as happy as possible and you absolutely can get there.
The week started with a text referral. I had no idea who the client was until talking to her and connecting the dots to Erika lead #5. Here's the text. "Hello Ken, my daughter got your info from FB about cleaning. Can you send me information about your services?" I could have easily called her, but I used what I learned from "70% Happens Before the Phone Call", asked for her name, and then sent her my website to learn more about our company. She responded with her name, Diane, and thanked me. By the end of the day, she had done her research and wanted to talk, so I scheduled a phone call. The phone call lead to an in-person estimate and emailed proposal by the end of the week.
I'm calling an audible to my original plan. We started this now 5-part series with Goal Setting I "What is Your Why" and talked about the most important aspect of goal-setting. It's your reason for getting up and doing what you do. The "5 Why's" exercise is an effective way to peel back the layers of your reasons to get to the core of what makes you tick. We are not robots, but emotional creatures. Mike Michalowicz, in his epic book "Profit First", shares why rational accounting doesn't work. He uses an example of plate sizes. Do you know that the average size has grown from 9" to 13" in diameter. That's DOUBLE! Over the same time period, the average American male's weight increased from 160 lbs to 190 lbs! Why? Mike goes to say that humans consume everything they are given. It's human behavior. They also use every available amount of time to finish a project and every dollar to fill their budgets. This is why Americans don't have 'extra' savings on hand or 'spare' time or 'uneaten' calories. There is a name for this. It's called Parkinson's Law.
Parkinson's Law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." We have to fight against this human behavior to win and learn how to Kill Parkinson!
Our SMART goals are subject to Parkinson's Law too. If you set a SMART goal with a 'T' of 3 months, you will either miss the goal or make it just in time even if you could have done it faster. This is human behavior. I want to encourage you to set goals so that you can complete them in the beginning and get the wins. However, you need to get more aggressive as you progress. I'm going to use this example. I interviewed my friend Courtney Wisely of Rescue My Maid Service on a FB Live to help her set a SMART goal. She wanted to complete a technology course for cleaning service owners to help them be more productive and automated. I asked her if she could get it done by December (12 months away). Her answer was "Heck, yeah!" Then I asked if she could have it done this month. She said, "Heck, no!" I asked about June, which was 6 months away. "Um... yes." She wasn't as confident, but knew she could. Then I said April or 4 months away. She was very uncomfortable, but believed it was possible. I encouraged her to set her SMART goal for April. Here's the psychology behind this and it looks at the 'A' in SMART or 'Attainable'. I pressed Courtney and discovered she could achieve this massive goal in 4 months. However if she set the goal like most people for 12 months, Parkinson's Law would kick in and she'd allow the work to expand to fit the time. That would waste 8 months of potential goals or create a huge Opportunity Cost. Courtney won't do this. She will set the goal for 4 months and kill it this year. Just keep in mind that Courtney is a hyper-focused goal-achiever. We're not all there. So start where you are. The 'A' in the SMART goal has to be defined by YOU depending on where you are in your goal-setting journey. What's barely attainable now will be a joke in a year, so you cannot continue to set the same goals.
The reason I added a 5th part to this Goal-Setting series was to show that human behavior drives your completion of goals. You need to have an emotional 'Why' which determines the 'R' in your SMART goal. You need behavioral 'A' in your SMART goal to kill Parkinson. And you need an accountability partner to ride with you along the journey to point out when you are veering off the path or taking too long to get something done. Face it. Goal-setting is 80% emotional and 20% rational.
After 20 years of working in the medical field, Ronita was offered an opportunity to work part time as a solo cleaner. The position was commission based, so she started earning part time close to her full time job income. This built her dream that she could leave corporate America to start her own solo cleaning business, Divine Commercial Cleaning Services. Within a few years, Ronita felt like she was back in corporate America because of the choices she made in her cleaning business. She took on a high paying client in another town which required daily driving 60 miles each way. In her own words, she could not grow any more due to three things:
In this episode, I spotlight my first solo cleaner. Andrea McCoy runs Peachy Clean in St. George, UT. She is a mom of 6! She explains why she started her solo cleaning business and the various mind shifts she has made over her 3 years in business with my help to increase her rates from $25 to $65 per hour! We also talk about the power of keeping your hand on the marketing water pump and setting a goal for peace.
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.