We've owned two cleaning companies and used different ways to grow each business. With the first company we partnered with a successful builder and got started by cleaning several of his buildings. He also gave us all the construction cleaning on new buildings, which always led to getting that account when the tenant moved in. Cold calling was also successful back in those days, but not so much any more.
With the second cleaning company it was all about networking. We moved to a town where we didn't know anyone so we threw ourselves into every networking event we could find. And that worked very well for us.
These days in order to grow a cleaning company to the $1 million-dollar plus range, I don't believe you can do it with networking alone, and for a few reasons. First, people are busier than ever these days and it's getting harder and harder to connect with them in person. And you're probably finding that you never really get a steady stream of clients from networking alone. They usually come in spurts, so it's better to use networking, along with other marketing strategies to get that steady stream of clients coming to your business.
Also, marketing has dramatically changed in recent years with so much emphasis being placed on social media and having an online presence. Even if you are getting referrals from networking buddies and clients, those referrals are going to go online to see what they can find out about you and your business -- before they pick up the phone to call you.
So if Jane calls up Bob and asks if he knows a great cleaning company and he refers Jane to your company, do you think Jane will automatically pick up the phone to call you? If you said yes, think again. It's almost turned into an instinctive reaction to go online to see what we can find out about people and companies we're considering doing business with. And if they're not finding any information about you or your company, or if the information doesn't position you as an expert at what you do, then they're going to be skeptical if they do in fact decide to call.
Can you grow your business by networking alone? Possibly, but probably not at the rate you'd like. By coming up with a marketing strategy that incorporates several methods for gaining visibility and building trust, you'll have a much better chance at steady growth.