Small Business Lessons

There are many reasons for people to consider starting a business of their own. For some it is necessity or as a means to make a change in their lives. For others it may be because they have an idea that they want to pursue on their own. Whatever the reason may be, having a small business is never a walk in the park; especially in tough economic times. But here are some small business lessons that can help you make it through even the toughest times.

Marketing is a Daily Activity

There are so many small businesses that put everything else first before marketing. The most important of all small business lessons is that there is nothing more important than marketing. The very success of the small business depends on marketing. Marketing is not just ads in the paper or billboards. It is about letting your customers know that you can provide solutions to their problems. Never overlook an opportunity to effectively communicate to your prospective customers that you have something that they need or want.

Develop Streams of Multiple Incomes

There are a lot of small business lessons out there but few will tell you about the importance of having multiple streams of income. Whatever the business may be, it is always a good idea to have more than one income streams as that will ensure that the business will not go broke even when times are not too good. Let us say that you own a shoe store, you can have a second income stream if you sell not only from your traditional store but also from your online store. You can have a third income stream if you provide some styling services, and a fourth if you allow young designers to use your shop for private fashion shows. You can even have a fifth by allowing a local designer to feature a selected few of his or her collections in your shop and you earn from every sale that is made.

Stay Focused on Your Brand

Among the many small business lessons that are shared by many successful businesspeople and celebrities, the most common is to keep focused on developing your brand. You need to decide how you want people to perceive your business and how they feel about it. You need to ensure that your business exudes the “look” and the “feel” that you want it to and not be sidetracked by other things. It is so easy to get sidetracked especially when money is tight and there are a lot of pressures. However, you need to stand firm and focus on your business and how you can further “grow” it.

How to Start a High-Income Producing Cleaning Business

Cleaning businesses are ideal for entrepreneurs seeking a low-cost start-up service enterprise. They are one of the fastest and easiest businesses to start and are evergreen in nature, with high income potential. And many multi-million dollar cleaning services started out as simple mom and pop type operations.

Equipment and Supplies Needed

Supplies needed to start a cleaning service are minimal. For example, basic supplies needed include cleaning solutions, cleaning peripherals such as gloves, masks, buckets, mops, brooms, rags, spray bottles, scrub brushes, etc.

Heavy equipment may include floor cleaning equipment such as carpet shampooers, buffers, industrial vacuums, and the like. Equipment that cleaning companies do not have on-hand can be rented from stores like The Home Depot.

The most expensive item for new businesses will be a vehicle for getting to and from jobs and hauling supplies and, if needed, workers. However, many starting entrepreneurs already have a vehicle and many workers will already have transportation.

Business Cards & Uniforms

Business cards can be ordered online for less than twenty dollars. Some websites even offer free business cards. Purchasers simply have to pay for shipping, which can be under ten dollars. Uniforms can consist of same-color t-shirts, which can be purchased from stores like Wal-mart for approximately three dollars each.

Marketing Material on a Budget

Grassroots marketing material for new clean-up services can consist of postcards, which can be ordered from printing sites online cheaply. There are a plethora of websites offering professionally printed postcards for very low prices.

Fliers can be printed on home printers for pennies a flier. And vehicle signage (i.e., car magnets) can be ordered in twos from local print shops for approximate thirty dollars. Car magnets can also be found via online printers as well.

Tip: Order two sets of car magnets initially so when one set starts to fade from sun or rain, you’ll already have your second set on hand. Further, if you have two vehicles in your household, you can place the extra set of car magnets on the other vehicle, even if you don’t use that vehicle for the business. You can get tons of exposure by simply sitting in traffic or being parked in a parking lot.

Setting Your Business Apart
Cleaning companies can also specialize to set themselves apart. For example, small companies can specialize in office cleaning, or restaurant cleaning, or luxury home cleaning. Further, companies can opt to clean warehouses, or offer simple move-in and move-out cleaning for apartment buildings.

Cleaning companies can also choose to vie for lucrative government contracts and bid on contracts for cleaning government run building such as libraries or court houses. (Check with your local housing authorities and government agencies for information on bidding on government contracts.)

Specializing in Foreclosure Cleanup

A burgeoning new industry that has shown incredible growth over the last three years has been foreclosure clean-up, which consists of cleaning foreclosure properties for banks, mortgage companies and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Foreclosure cleaning consists of the cleaning of homes that have gone through foreclosure. Banks and mortgage companies have to clear out, cleanup, often repair and maintain these homes before they are conveyed back to HUD, if they are an FHA property, or until they are sold again.

Duties involved in foreclosure cleaning can run the gamut, from cleaning, debris removal, minor repairs, painting, roof tarping, winterization, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, lock changing, boarding windows and doors, changing locks, initial and ongoing vacancy inspections and various other types of inspections.

Foreclosure cleanup can also consist of exterior work such as initial and ongoing lawn care, limb and tree cutting, removing yard brush, removing old vehicles, replacing broken windows, and more.

Foreclosure Cleaning Pays More

Cleaning foreclosures involves more than basic cleaning; but it can also be considerably more lucrative. It’s not unreasonable for one property to generate an invoice of upwards of $7,500, especially if minor repairs are needed.

Cleaning companies interested in specializing in foreclosure clean-up can contact larger property preservation companies and ask about becoming a small business vendor.

How to Handle Business Growth

A cleaning company is also a flexible business that will allow the owner to perform as much of the work as they are equipped to handle themselves. However, as their company starts to grow, duties the owner chooses not to handle, or is not setup to handle, can be subcontracted out, or referred out. This work can be outsourced to local companies for a percentage of the outsourced or referred aspect of the job. For example, handymen, debris hauling companies, painting companies, carpet companies, etc., can handle outsourced portions of jobs from cleaning companies.

Low-cost Start-up, Evergreen, High Income

Cleaning businesses are ideal for entrepreneurs seeking a low-cost start-up service enterprise. They are one of the fastest and easiest enterprises to start and will be needed forever. Strategically targeting clients by specializing or niching services will equal high income potential.

To learn more about starting a niche, foreclosure cleaning business, visit the Foreclosure Cleanup Blog.