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June 2008
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August 2008

Desperate For New Business

A cleaning business owner is desperately looking for new business:
"In the past I ran my cleaning business as part time - it's just me, cleaning four small medical buildings. I recently lost my full time job and I desperatly need to get more cleaning business going but have not had any luck. I have passed out flyers - is there anyone out there that has any bright ideas? I'm desperate!!!"

Here is some advise given by other cleaning business owners:

#1:

If you're desperate, don't despair! It will all come together for you!

One thing we did when we had a rough few months was talk to the people currently in the buildings we were cleaning. We asked for referrals for housecleaning (which is instant cash, rather than monthly invoicing), and we offered extra services (like carpet cleaning, window washing, and HVAC filter changing). Adding those extra services really bumped up their monthly bill and helped us through what could have been a pretty bad time!  If you're not currently cleaning carpets or doing the floors at your current accounts, it could be a very good time to learn how... There's good money to be made in this business by just supplementing your basic janitorial service with those extras!

Usually, you do your cleaning while no one is in those buildings, so it's a challenging marketing opportunity, especially in a medical building, where they're "doing their thing" with patients all day. But you could "pop in" for a walk-through, just to follow up on the service you are providing and ask for feedback. If they're really happy with the service you're giving them, ask casually, "Do you know of anyone who has mentioned needing a cleaning service or anyone that might be looking?" Make it a casual-sounding inquiry and you may be surprised by the referrals you get...

Flyers are OK, but they're so impersonal, that's why their success rate is somewhat limited. You'll have a much higher success rate with interpersonal relationships. Talk to people about what you do and talk about it constantly: you just never know who knows someone who has a friend that knows a guy...

Like they mention in the Marketing and Sales Success eBook, have your elevator speech (30-second introduction about you and what you do) ready and use it OFTEN!

You're obviously a pretty motivated person if you held a full-time job and also cleaned four medical facilities, so you're no stranger to hard work... Keep moving and grooving and you'll see that with a little persistence and imagination, you're going to be very successful!

#2:

Get out and talk to people. Talk to your current clients and their employees. Place that bug in their ear so they'll think of you when something comes up or if they hear of someone in need of services you offer. Communicate with your current clients. Go out of your way to help someone else who is possibly starting up their own business. You'll be surprised that they remember you and your generosity when they are in a place where you'd like to be.

This may sound strange, but forget about the flyers....get out and talk to people. They need to see who you are and you need to build credibility with them. You are the "face" of the company and not a piece of paper. That paper doesn't set you apart from me. Allowing them to see the person you are and the business you run will do that.

Offer "partially free" service to a potential client, so they see what you can do. Even if they don't respond to you now, they'll remember you when they're sick of their current cleaner. Hook up with a contractor whose giving out work. That opportunity puts you in front of more faces, of which they're seeing what you're doing, so the initial conversation, ie: cleaning services is easier to handle, because you're in the door.


3 Gas Savings Calculators

With everyone's mind on the high cost of filling the gas tanks these days, these three calculators might be of some help.

This calculator calculates how much you can save by driving a more fuel efficient car:
Gas Costs

This calculator calculates how much your daily commute by car costs so you can see how much you can save by using public transportation:
Cost of Commuting by Car

This calculator calculates how much you will spend on gas on a road trip.
Cost of Gas Taking a Road Trip


The Art of Positioning

A member of The Janitorial Store shared the following:     
        
Great tip's comes again, from Jeffrey Gitomer, “The Little Black Book of Connections” and has to do with the impact that each of us have as we position ourselves with our products and service. Remember that acts of kindness will return to you;  when you begin to give value to the world, somehow the people you affect will find a way to tell you. Even if it takes a couple of years (what great personal motivation that is!) -- your personal power, strengths and instincts will tell you what to do -- who to impact.

To help you as you learn the art of positioning and become known as a valued authority, pay attention to these elements:

1. Use public relations to your maximum advantage.  Get yourself mentioned, but not featured.  If the story is about the customer then you become the hero to them.

2. Being published through a weekly article will bring your notoriety -- and maybe books, seminars and wealth!

3. Speaking in public -- when you speak to a group you're presumed a leader.You may not know the whole group but when you are done, the whole group will know you.

4. Use the Internet to communicate value -- help others profit first through a “value message” and your profit will last.

5. Take an active role in your association (Chamber and other networking groups). Get to know and network with others who count. Get involved. If you learn enough, eventually you can teach.

6.  Be noticeably different-slightly left or right of center or you'll blend in with the wallpaper.

7. Add attraction to your outreach -- give someone a reason to want to use your services or want go to your web site and get more.

8. Add differentiation to your everyday business expressions -- voice mail, fax cover sheet, business cards, etc.  What do they say about the greatness of you, your service and your company?

9. Let others sell for you -- the power of testimonials cannot be denied.  They make your reputation, make sales when you can't, and give proof to the statements you make.  Customers believe others like themselves more than they believe you!

5 Tips on Managing Business Expenses

I was listening to the Wall Street Journal's Small Business Podcast and they gave these 5 tips on how small business owners can manage expenses while everyday operating costs are on the rise:

1. Fire your high maintenance customers. Think of the cost reduction if you're spending too much time and expense on this small group of customers.

2. Reduce non-essential staff. If you've fired your high maintenance customers, you might be able to reduce your staff to cut expenses.

3. Raise your prices. Prices are going up all over so people expect it - now might be a good time.

4. Focus your marketing on your new customers. Revise your marketing campaign to focus on where people are headed today vs where they focused their attention yesterday. Perhaps you can focus your marketing on an energy saving cleaning program.

5. Increase your marketing budget. While others are cutting back, you could be spending more and picking up a bigger share of the market.

Do you have any tips to share on managing expenses? Click on the Comments below to share your ideas.


Another Cleaning Success Story

I recently received an email from a cleaning business owner who wanted to share a success story:

Hello Jean: I have something to share. Recently I sent an introduction letter to a therapist that I was seeing, to offer my cleaning services for his office. He replied that he does not need the services but he will forward the letter to his landlord (a dentist that owns the building). Four days later she called me  so I followed through and I got a new account!!!

I also wanted to tell you that a used one of your sample letters!!!!!  Thank you!

This is another example of getting the word out to as many people as possible, including people you may know personally or do business with already (banker, insurance agent, accountant, etc.). These people especially want to see you succeed so make sure you keep your name out there.