Monday, January 16, 2012

Road Trip Day One - Chemical Free Cleaning in Charleston

My posts for the next couple of weeks are going to be a little different because I am on the road from 1/16  to 1/27.  Today I am in Charleston visiting Castle Keepers.  Tom and Janice Stewart have an amazing company and I come here when ever I can to learn.  Their company is larger and FAR more organized than mine.  Tom is an engineer by training and everything here is very well documents and just runs in a different class.  Everyone has strong and weak areas.   Operations is my weakness and Tom is an operational genius so I come to learn from the master.  Castle Keepers has also gone nearly 100% chemical free meaning no chemicals at all, just using water as much possible yet still providing a superior level of cleaning.  I am sorry if it sounds like and ad for Castle Keepers but I admire this greatly about them which one of the reasons I am here. 

I mentioned in my last post that I am hoping to launch a new company in July to offer chemical free cleaning in Cincinnati.  I have decided to do this as a separate company for a few reasons.  1.  I think operationally it will be too difficult to run two different business models in the same company.  2.  I come from Procter & Gamble and a larger percentage of my customers work for P&G.  I do not think people that work for one of the world’s largest makers of home cleaning products are ready for chemical free cleaning.  3.  I believe in niche marketing and letting this new company focus on the health and environmentally focused customer will be successful versus My Maid Service which focuses on the dual income family with pets that just wants help and free time.  4.  One of my employee’s has a daughter with severe allergies and she is passionate about chemical free cleaning.  Enabling her to pursue her passion by making her the general manager gives lets me keep a super star employee and to grow in new ways.  This is not a passion I share.  I understand it, but I cannot sell it as well as she can.  So my conclusion was the best approach was to set up an entire new company that does chemical free cleaning.  I know some people will think this is nuts, but it was my solution and one I am excited to see.

I am also excited to start something new from scratch again.  I have said before that I wished I could start my company over with all the things I learned.  I would be so much more successful so much faster.  This enables me to do just that.  It is going to be an exciting journey.

OK, I rambled some but at least you know why I am looking at setting up a new company.  So why am I in Charleston for a company that launches in July?  Well like I said above I am trying to learn from the first go round.  It is so much easier to get it right the first time.   Humans hate change.  Once you have a system in place they will fight you like mad when it you try to change it.  So we are trying to make sure we do lots of research and we have all the pay, work process, and pricing issues figured out well in advance.  At P&G we used to have a saying on my team “Sell a little, learn a lot” which is what we are trying.  We are basically test marketing systems and pricing in our market.  For ideas we are visiting different companies that have already done it.  We do not have all the answers yet, but by July we hope to.

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