Starting a startup business in the services field is a true nightmare nowadays. Partially it’s because the competition is great, and coming up with an original idea is almost impossible. The other reason is because roughly 50% of new businesses fail during the first year, and not becoming a part of that statistic requires lots of skills and late hours. Here are some of the issues we faced when we started Fantastic Cleaners in Melbourne, with some tips on overcoming them.
Balancing growth and quality. The first step for a new business is to gain new customers. But if the primary focus is on driving customers and selling, soon problems and return requests start to flood the phone lines. You can avoid that. When you gain your first steady clientele, slow down and focus on the quality through creating detailed work characteristics for each position, proper training's for all employees and regular inspections of everyone’s work. Active seeking of client opinions will help you a lot with improving the quality.
Proper marketing strategy. Choosing a marketing strategy is something almost every startup business in the service area struggles with. Many businesses aim for the most popular forms of marketing, without even considering if they will reach their clients, and only end up losing money. Here are some things we found useful:
- Create a client profile – if you know your clients, it’s easier to predict what kind of marketing means they will most likely respond to.
- Try to be present everywhere your potential clients may be.
- Provide many connection options – only a phone won’t cut it in the 21st century.
- Appreciate all your reviewers, not only the positive ones.
- Provide full information of your work and how you do it.
- Keep full records of your marketing and sales records.
Retaining customers. Gaining regular and loyal clients is pivotal for your company’s existence. Your customer service is the first thing your clients will remember. Therefore, the people who work there must be creative and very convincing. Analyse your client records regularly, divide them into loyalty groups and provide approaches for each group, with special discounts, perks and other offers which would help them stay your clients. Also, keep detailed track of your failures too, it’s good for noticing repeating patterns and fixing issues.
Strong leadership. Managers are not always good leaders. Their primary focus is market growth, and not staff morale. Your team needs a strong leader, who will care about the people there and will put their interests as a top priority in his/her work. A strong leader must be knowledgeable, admit their mistakes and learn from them. Leaders also must listen to everyone, consider their opinions, motivate each employee separately, and create a balanced and communicative environment among the team.
Finding the right staff. This is something every new business owner strives with. One tip we can give you is to have a strong division of the work positions – sales people should do only sales work, and marketing people – marketing work. Provide regular training's for each field, distribute jobs evenly, provide solutions to their problems and mistakes, keep detailed employee profiles and follow their development. You will probably make mistakes, but the way you resolve them is what they will remember you for.
This article was submitted by Jane Wilson; a working mum, blogger and the executive director of the Melbourne branch of Fantastic Cleaners – a relatively new company providing domestic cleaning services. Their focus is on innovative and safe cleaning solutions. Jane’s main interests are customer satisfaction, business development and quality control.