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10 tips for successfully scaling your cleaning business
By Chris Wootton, managing director of Poppies, the domestic cleaning business that is a member of the British Cleaning Council’s Domestic Cleaning Alliance
“Having overcome the challenges of starting your cleaning business, the next challenge is to sustainably grow it beyond its current form. One of the most effective ways to do this is by scaling your operations. But where do you start? And how do you achieve your goal?
Scalability is about capacity and capability. Scaling a business means laying the foundation to enable and support growth in your organisation. It signifies having the ability to grow without being hindered and requires planning, the right systems, staff, processes, and technology.
I am sharing here my 10 top tips to successfully help you scale your business. If you get these right, they will be your launch pad to achieving long-lasting growth.
1. Create a strong foundation
Before you consider scaling up your business, you need to make sure you are ready and your processes are robust. Make sure you are confident your business is working well as a small operation before you even think about growing it. If your processes are inconsistent or your employees are not 100% committed to their jobs, the growing pressure of scaling will identify any weaknesses and worsen them.
2. Build a great team to create the right culture
Having a team of employees you can rely on is crucial when scaling up a business successfully. You need to create a culture that attracts and retains top talent, starting with a strong leadership team. Make sure your team's roles are well defined so you know every aspect of operations is being taken care of, and if you're asking people to take on more responsibility, it is vital you provide extra training to help them feel confident taking this on.
3. Adaptive employees
Scaling your business up means you will need to have a team willing to embrace the changes as they occur. Flexibility is a must-have skill to look for when recruiting new employees so look for employees who are fast learners, have a passion for knowledge and like to figure things out. Having a flexible, adaptable workforce is essential if you want your company to be able to pivot quickly.
4. Prioritise great customer service
Your commitment to customer service should be a priority when scaling up. Happy customers lead to more money, growth, and sustainability. By building a world-class customer experience strategy and consistently delivering great customer service as your business grows, will enable you to improve customer satisfaction, increase customer loyalty, and encourage word-of-mouth marketing from customers.
5. Invest in technology
Technology makes it easier and less expensive to scale a business, particularly if you are aiming to increase your customer volume without employing new staff. By integrating automated systems into your daily workflow, you can help reduce the time and energy you spend on mundane, repetitive tasks, such as invoicing, credit control, payroll, and bookkeeping. Not only will this free you and your employees up to run and grow the business, but it will allow you to nurture client relationships.
6. Learn from competitors
It is even more important to be aware of your competitors when scaling up. Look at what they have done to be successful and learn lessons. It might also help you rationalise and cut costs throughout the business, from marketing to customer management systems.
7. Office expansion
As you scale up your business, you need to ensure you have an office space that allows you to expand into larger offices as and when you take on new staff. It is important to be upfront with the property owner from the start and discuss your three-to-five year growth plan to ensure they can accommodate it.
8. Quality and consistency
Maintaining high standards and consistent practices are vital to growing while expanding your business. By creating clear systems and having the right processes, culture and staff in place, will help retain quality throughout the business.
9. Identify barriers to growth
When developing a strategy for growth, you need to recognise any potential barriers that could prevent your ambitions to scale up. These could be anything from a weak cash flow to lack of leadership skills or even being in the wrong location. Identifying these obstacles can help you address your weaknesses and the risks they could pose.
10. Stay true to your core values
Your values are the definition of a company's culture and are a way of capturing behaviours that you feel are important in your business. When focused on scaling your business, it is vital that you do not lose sight of what got you here in the first place. With all the changes that you will be considering and likely to take on, remember to stay true to your core values and principles as they define who and what your business is all about.
Scaling up can be a steep learning curve, but you will know when the time is right to grow your business. Whether you are ready to expand your service offering, add a new digital platform or widen your client base, you will need to take the right steps to prepare your business for a significant upturn in activity. By doing this, you will be perfectly placed to take advantage of the opportunities, and your business will sustain long-term growth.”
Chris Wootton is owner, managing director and also longstanding franchisee of Poppies with over two decades of experience in both the cleaning and franchise industries.
28th October 2021