On the road to a healthy growing company, everyone is going to encounter some speed-bumps. Let us guide you through some tips and ideas to get your company in the fast lane to efficiency.
1. Sort out what isn’t working. (Everybody loves a list)
Before making significant changes, you should identify inefficient practices and processes that exist in your day-to-day workflow. Never assume something is a problem, make sure to confirm your suspicions before moving forward.
Make a list of pain points and time/manpower wasting processes. Some of these might have very simple solutions. Having communications issues, or not following up fast enough with clients? Hire an operations manager, or another form of middle management to mitigate these issues. Cleaners are having trouble with training new employees? Restructure your training program. Often a little bit of research will show you that you aren’t the first janitorial company to have your specific efficiency issue. So, learn from others’ mistakes and achievements, as it is certainly better than learning from your own mistakes.
2. Embrace opportunities
Most successful companies, at some point or another, had to take a risk to get where they are. Risks are a necessary element of business.
It is easy to get comfortable in a process or way of doing things that you have, but without stepping out of your comfort zone, and trying something other than your “proven tactics”….you may be settling with many elements of your business that work, but don’t necessarily work well. Not every solution is created equal.
In short, don’t be shy, explore possibilities for improvement as they present themselves.
2.5 Be comfortable taking risks
So you ask, what does taking risks have to do with becoming more efficient? This point is so directly related to the above that we won’t count it as a separate thing. Taking risks is an important part of measuring your efficiency against more than simply what you are already doing.
Let’s say you have never, for example, received any complaints about your website. In your mind, it is perfectly serviceable. “If it ain’t broke”… right? Well, it’s possible nobody is complaining because they see an outdated website with broken links and hard to find company contact info, and simply go to your competitors. You can’t always count on people to tell you when something isn’t working, and sometimes you need to take the initiative to see if there are ways you can improve without being asked or told.
Spending money on advertising, entering into partnerships, going to potentially expensive networking functions, and making investments that may or may not see major returns…these are all opportunities that may present themselves to you at some point. Instead of fearfully avoiding all risks, perhaps give serious consideration to them. Weigh the potential rewards against the worst-case scenario.
Now, we’re not saying to jump off every bridge you walk across. But we ARE saying; don’t dismiss an idea or challenge that carries a bit of risk, before looking at it from all angles. An informed and weighed decision can mitigate much of the actual risk, and leave you with a smart choice that pays off
3. Automate, outsource, and for goodness sake, hire a manager!
Often a janitorial company owner and manager can inhabit roles that involve wearing many (many many MANY) hats. As much as we salute that go get em attitude and incredible work ethic, we do need to intervene. Just because you are in a leadership role, or built your company from nothing, does not mean that you are an ideal marketer, accountant, graphic designer, paramedic, and so on. There are experts out there who can not only do these tasks for you, but do them faster, and at less cost than the time you’d spend figuring all these things out for yourself.
One important element to your success is being able to trust the people you hire to hand the reins to. Letting go of control can be frightening, especially for someone who up until this point, has guided their company’s success. Think about hiring someone to help manage your day to day operations. This addition could be the difference between your business being scalable, and not. Adding someone you can trust to lead your company’s growth can be the most important step you take toward success.
But, “I got this far”, you declare with pride. We respect that, but at one point, your dedication to doing every task stops being scalable. And your business may suffer for how spread thin you are. If growth is your goal (and we hope it is), then outsourcing can be just the solution you require. It may cost slightly more than your average employee’s wage, but with only a part-time need, outsourcing may still be the best bang for your buck!
What about automation? Well, there are several software solutions your commercial cleaning company can use to put a lot of hours back in your day. Swept can automate many of your operational tasks. With time tracking, scheduling, digital inspections, messaging in over 100 languages and many more features, Swept can not only save you valuable time, but money too. Learn more here.
And there are other automation software solutions out there too, like Proposify! Proposify helps you to easily and quickly craft beautiful proposals that’ll help you impress your potential clients, and win those bids! We highly recommend you check it out.
4. Explore the digital frontier
If your company hasn’t embraced the digital world yet…what are you waiting for? When your average American talks about “advertising” they typically mean digital, and 95% of revenue for mega-company Google comes from advertising. As we mentioned in our blog on.
But of course, the digital space isn’t limited to a few google ads. When we speak of embracing digital trends we speak of having a tip-top website, blogging topics relative to your business on a regular basis, keeping up with social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and so on) and investing in some “key/adword” purchasing.
It pays to have an outside company handle your online marketing spend, and help you in making decisions on where to focus your money and energy.
Digital solutions like the above-mentioned software fall into this spectrum as well.
Properly taking advantage of digital solutions can increase efficiency by a wide margin. Technology can reach a wider audience, it can automate time-consuming tasks, and give you time to put a stronger focus on growing your company, instead of simply maintaining it. Better, and smoother communication and a deeper understanding of your market are all a positive product of well thought out digital implementation.
5. Crafting company culture and community
They say that the key to failure is trying to please everyone, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice a healthy company culture to find success. And while we’re being honest, they were probably referring to clients and investors…not employees. You should totally try to make them all happy by investing in company culture. Not only will it massively increase productivity, but it will help your employee retention meet normal industry standards instead of the lofty 300% employee turnover that the janitorial industry currently is plagued with. Curious about the ways you can implement ideas to improve the sense of community within your company? Here is an excerpt from our recent article: Raising retention, and Crafting Company Culture with our friend Justin Reus:
“Investing in our culture saw explosive gains professionally. We understood that by taking an interest in what our employees wanted, potential clients were more eager to work with us because they had worked with cleaning companies who struggled with a revolving door of employees. Without stability, the service that they were receiving was a roller-coaster. Our culture and retention rates became perhaps our most attractive quality to potential buyers.
The biggest driving force in our culture is communication! Nobody wants to be in the dark. Employees want to know what is happening in real-time. Swept facilitated that for us. It unified dayside and nightside teams and made everyone feel as though they were working as a unit.”
Statistics show that the clientele of companies with a healthy sense of community, spend up to 19% more than other consumers. To put it simply, having a healthy company culture is good for productivity, good for your employees’ satisfaction, and good for your bottom line!
6. Regularly track your progress and productivity
There are a lot of ways to track digital progress/productivity. From your website traffic to online ads, and even clicks on your social platforms. Many companies use specialized software that provides daily/weekly/quarterly reports. Some other companies outsource third party specialists to track productivity if their budget allows for it. By investing in tracking and evaluating your output and performance, you’ll find a lot of otherwise invisible avenues to give your attention, time, and advertising dollars to.
7. Employee friendly workplace
Employees spend more waking time in their office environment than they often do at home. So ensuring that their “Home Away From Home” is as comfortable and engaging for them as you possibly can, is always a good idea!
Think about making sure the cafeteria fridge is stocked, coffee is there to be made. Employee lounges are always deeply appreciated, and so it the simple act of actually having some kind of decor other than desks and computers. A plant or two can go a long way.
The more comfortable the environment, the less uncomfortable the employee. It seems so simple we know, but it is downright shocking how often something as rudimentary as comfort can be overlooked.
And of course, if you have employees who work out in the field, there are little things that can be done to make their days a bit more comfortable too. Of course in those situations, it is less about comfortable objects and more about making them feel safe, secure, and communicated with. Often a janitor (or any fieldworker really) can go weeks, or even months without seeing their boss (usually in-person meetings only end up happening if there is a problem), and so open lines of communication, and positive reinforcement can go a long way to make them comfortable in whatever place their tasks may find them.
If you’d like to know more about keeping your employees comfortable and happy, check out our Guide to Retention.
Following these tips may not be a guarantee to increase the efficiency of your janitorial company, but if you have a few of these checked off your list, there is a good chance you’ll increase productivity and (hopefully) your ROI. Context and common sense are very important elements when considering the best way to run your business up that steep hill to success. Smaller businesses have more limited resources, making it much more important to use the resources available to them, at the right place, at the right time.