Saturday, April 26, 2014


Like me you probably get a lot of articles and newsclips that cross your desk every day. I try to sort them out and many of them are nothing more than an advertisement disguised as an article.

I had one cross my desk last week that I thought was so appropriate for our industry that I want to share some excerpts from it. The article was written by Lindsay Broder who is a very successful certified professional coach based in New York City. Her company is "The Occupreneur Coach". The title of her article is 7 Things You should Never Say To An Employee. Let me share some of those things with you. The 7 things are hers, the commentary is mine.

1. I'm the boss. Do as I say--Ever said that to a co-worker or employee? Ever heard someone say or have you said, "Do it my way or hit the highway". Most people I know that say this have their employees hit the highway because no one person has a monopoly on good ideas. Oh sure, there are times where you have an emergency job like a water leak or fire and you have to just take charge and give orders but people expect it then but not in the everyday routine.

2. You're lucky to have a job--No one really works well in a job where they are made to feel that they are indebted to the boss. Even in today's environment where jobs are not particularly easy to come by, your employees deserve your respect. If they aren't doing the job, train them, and if that doesn't work, take the disciplinary steps to eventually terminate them but sarcasim and comments such as this won't endear you to anyone. In fact, it make cause you to lose YOUR job.

3. If you don't like it, I'll find someone who does--You may be the boss or manager but making comments like this also makes you a jerk. In today's work environment, threatening employees doesn't work. It worked in my father's generation but today's work force does not respond in a positive way to that kind of threatening talk, nor should they.

4. Why are you the only one who has a problem with this?--My question here is have you trained them in the correct way to perform the task that you are asking them to perform? Remember the old saying--If the learner hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught? People don't like to be compared to other people so when you make a statement like this you are putting the person down and that never leads to a productive employee. No question, you will have some employees that just don't get it or are always complaining or grumbling. If that is the case, address the issue with them and take appropriate action in private but never get into a employee comparison situation. Your employees just might start comparing you as a boss that has a problem that other bosses haven't had. Think about it.

5. I don't have time for this--If you don't have time for this then maybe you shouldn't be the boss. Your job is to take the time for "this" and make sure all employees are properly trained and have the right tools and time allowed to do the job professionally for your customer. Here I go again, what does your training program look like?

6. You have no idea what stress is--Everybody has stress and what makes yours more important than the stress your employees have. This reminds of the time someone told me that you should never share your stress and problems with others---half of the people don't care and the other half are glad you have the problems. That comment has served me well through the years. Take heed.

7. Do you see that name on the door?--Yeah, so what? You may have built your company or department from the ground up investing your money and time--YOUR LIFE into the company but your are not God and throwing your weight around as if you are, only drives you employees away from you and builds resentment. Without your employees, what do you have, how do your service the clients? Your employees are the inventory you provide for your customers. My question to you is, are you providing your customers with a well trained, happy, smiling inventory every day when they go work in the buildings you service?

So there you have it, the 7 things never to say to your employees as presented by Lindsay Broder of the Occupreneur Coach. How did you do? Ever catch yourself saying any of those? If so, make a concerted effort to eliminate them from your vocabulary. If you never say them, congratulations, you are on the road to providing a positive place to work.

We had a super number of people that tuned in to our conference call on Buying and Selling Your Company. Hope you were able to join us. We'll alert you to upcoming topics of interest. We have several exciting new things on the horizon. We will roll each of them out as they are ready to go. Stay tuned.

Don't forget our weekly FREE pod casts at

Till next time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Last week we talked about focusing on leadership and the difference between leading and managing and the importance of having both on your staff.

As promised, this week we will focus on what I consider to be 5 major leadership characteristics necssary for us to succeed in the contract cleaning business.

1. HONESTY--Here I am talking primarily about honesty AND integrity. I realize this is pretty obvious but look around you in the world today. Look around in the business world today. The government has had to get involved in many business empires to save the companies from themselves and sometimes it is obvious that congress needs to save itself from itself.

2. BE A DECISION MAKER--Here is where so many business people slow down and sometimes ruin their opportunity for success. Some people just cannot make a decision and by the time they get around to making the decision, the opportunity that  may have been theirs is gone.

I know a gentleman that is an outstanding manager in just about every way you could judge him, but he cannot make a decision. He waivers one way and then another and then another. If someone makes the decision and then hands him the program or policy to manage he will do a superb job but don't ask him to make the initial decision. I should also mention that most entrepreneurs are not very good managers. They are great idea people but have a difficult time managing the ideas they generated. This is not a bad thing.

3. HANDLE PROBLEMS PROMPTLY--This is one of the most difficult areas for most entrepreneurs to attack. Most can handle problems with customers or lawyers or bankers without much difficulty but handling employee problems, especially at the management level is one area that just doesn't get done well most of the time. Of course it can be difficult dealing with customers or lawyers or bankers but most entreprenuers will jump right in and address the issues. By the same token if they are having a problem with a management employee they will procrastinate until many times damage has been done to the organization that can be very difficult to repair.
As I write this I can recall about 10 instances through the years where I should have acted promptly on an employee issue and didn't. All of us make very good decisions in hindsight.

I should mention here that I terminated my wife twice and she quit once. I also fired one of my sons once and he quit once. Boy did those make for some "fun" family discussions. How come I could fire my family who I love dearly and not terminate a non-relative who probably deserved to be history for many more serious reasons, and sooner? Just lucky, I guess.

4. MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS--I have discussed many times the importance of a business plan along with the need for a focus on customer satisfaction and employee training and the need for constantly learning as much as you can about this great industry.

Rest assured, many distractions will occur as you grow your company. You probably already know that. Many so called "oppotunities" will arise that you will be tempted to "take advantage of" but it is your responsibility to address the one big issue of DOES IT FIT WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AND WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO GO?

5. DON'T ALLOW OTHERS TO CONTROL YOUR DESTINY--This is a big one. As a leader it is your responsibility to set the course for your company and for your personal life. The culture of your company is YOUR responsibility. A couple of ways you can control your own destiny or have others control it for you are...

 While relationships are critical in the service business, poor quality of work will eventually destroy most relationships. This means it is up to YOU to decide the standard of work that is acceptable in your organization. You will have supervisors and managers checking the work and doing the training etc. but it is still your responsibility. You set the bar, not the line worker or supervisor. Agree?
As you build your business, managing your time and the time of your staff becomes even more critical. You probably are realizing that every day. How are you doing? Many people are pulling you many different directions and your day can become one of frustration.. Your time management is one thing you will struggle with constantly.
Do you know that if you have 10 employees that waste 5 minutes a day and you pay them $10 per hour that equates to lost dollars of $2,520 per year? Now take your personal pay rate and time value and multiply that times 5 minutes a day and see what that amount is.
You can go to my web site at and download a free chart that shows you what 5 minutes a day lost costs you at various pay rates and with different numbers of employees. Just click on the WORKSHEET icon and it will take you to the "its only 5 minutes" chart. Other free items are there as well for your use. Hopefully some of them will be helpful. Much of what I have said here is also available in greater detail in my book "The Do's and Don'ts of Contract Cleaning From One Who Did and Didn't. That is available by clicking on the book icon at the web site. (that is not free however). Chapter 15 covers leadership qualities in much greater detail than we are able to address in a short blog such as this.
I realize there are many traits and characteristics to being a leader. What I have shared with you in these two blogs are just a few that I consider paramount to success in this industry.
Till next time. Don't forget our FREE weekly pod cast at This week's session was recorded with a beautiful sunset behind me. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


Whether you like it or not, if you are in the management of your company, your employees look to you to provide leadership in the direction the organization is going. What type of leadership are your providing? It's very important you know. The people are looking to YOU to give them overall direction.

For example, what is the dress code in your company? Do you allow jeans to be worn at all times by your office staff or do you require suit and tie for men and business attire for ladies? If you require business attire, try wearing jeans to work for a couple of days. It won't take long and everyone is wearing jeans because you have set the standard. Have an alcoholic drink for lunch and it becomes standard and "okay". They are watching you every minute of the day and that is not a bad thing if you are setting a good example.

Let's talk about leadership. As we go through these ideas, think about your organization and how it is or isn't performing and if you need changes to occur.

First, the definition of leadership from the dictionary--THE ART OF MOTIVATING A GROUP OF PEOPLE TO ACT TOWARD ACHIEVING A COMMON GOAL.

There's that word "goal". Have you established any for your company? How about yourself? That is probably a subject for a whole year of blogs so we're not going to spend a great deal of time here on how to set goals etc. but one goal that I think  should be the focus of every company is "SATISFY THE CUSTOMER".

You will notice I didn't say provide customer service, I said provide customer SATISFACTION. There is a big difference. One is a concept, the other a demonstration of the concept. Again, the subject for another blog.

So now that I have established the fact that I think one of your company goals should be to satisfy the customer, let's dig deeper into this whole idea of leadership.

I think it is important that we not confuse managing with leadership. You see, there is a major difference and the successful company will make sure they have both. I think the best defintion I ever heard or read on the subject is attributed to former first lady, Roslyn Carter who said "MANAGERS TAKE PEOPLE WHERE THEY WANT TO GO, LEADERS TAKE THEM WHERE THEY NEED TO GO".

Think about that. As a leader of your company you are charged with the responsibility  of taking people in the direction that is needed to accomplish the goals that are established for the organization. This is not always comfortable. You see, it is much more fun and much easier to just make friends with everyone and have a big happy family and try to please everyone, isn't it? You'll probably have a great time but you won't accomplish as much. In fact, you may not accomplish any of the objectives you have established.

Another way I have head this managing vs. leadership dilemma explained is that "managers do things right while leaders do the right things". As I stated earlier, your company needs both and you need to find those people who can do the things right once it has been determined what the right things are your company should be doing.There are many good and honest people who want to do things right. "Just tell me what my job is and I'll do it better than anyone else". Know anyone in your organization like that? If you do, keep them happy.

Most entrepreneurs are great idea people and know what has to be done but don't ask them to do the details. They will mess up the details almost all the time. They know the right things but need key people to do them right. Guilty as charged.

So, in the next blog we are going to take a look at what I think are the 5 major characteristics needed for us to succeed in the contract cleaning business. Be sure to come back next time and see if you agree with my 5.

Don't forget to  sign up for our next webinar to be held Thursday, April 24, at 3 PM Eastern time. The subject is "The Key Elements in Buying and/or Selling a Cleaning Business". You can register at Joining me for this informative webinar will be Steve and Jean Hanson and Shaon Cowan. All of us have bought and sold companies so no theory here, just the facts. Look forward to having as many as possible join us. So far, registrations have been brisk which is exciting.

Also, don't forget our FREE weekly pod cast at

Till next time.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Not a week goes by that someone doesn't call me to talk about either selling their company or they are interested in buying another company. Usually the conversation stems around the question--WHAT IS THE MULTIPLE FOR BUYING OR SELLING A COMPANY TODAY? While that is a great question, there are several ways to arrive at the answer.

At the risk of being chastised and banished to the back row, I want to advise you of a webinar we will be doing on THURSDAY, APRIL 24, AT 3 PM EASTERN TIME. I'll be joined by industry professionals, Jean and Steve Hanson along with Sharon Cowan. All of us have had experience in both buying and selling janitorial service companies and hopefully can give listeners an insight into this exciting part of the industry.

Our topics will include among other items,

--What to consider when buying a company

--How and when to prepare to sell your company?

--Should you use a broker?

--How is value determined when buying OR selling a company

--Different ways to get paid when selling

--Mistakes we made and how to avoid them

--What are some of the terms used in the process

--Planning for the afterlife when selling

--The due diligence process

Someone once told me that you WILL get rid of your company one day. You will either sell it, go out of business, or die, but you will be parted from your company at some point. I never really thought of it that way but it is true, isn't it? At some point, our business will no longer be in our hands, either through our choice or others.

You can register for this great  learning opportunity by going to It could just be the most important hour you will spend this year on behalf of your business life.
I'm looking forward to the event and hope that as many as possible will join us.

Don't forget to listen to our FREE weekly pod cast at This week our subject is We Can Do That.

Till next time.