Just over a decade ago, I had moved up the ranks in the international hotel industry, establishing myself in a high-powered, top-tier marketing role, all while juggling my responsibilities as a mum of three. Meanwhile, my husband Hamish was running a commercial cleaning business, which he had helmed for 14 years but struggled to grow beyond a turnover well under $1 million.
While the cleaning industry is highly competitive, the absence of good branding and marketing meant there was a gap to fill, and my skillset placed me in the perfect position to introduce something unique to the market. My husband understood my expertise in sales and marketing, along with my experience in a customer-centric industry, would allow Cleancorp to differentiate itself in a saturated market. I ultimately joined him at the company and helped it grow by 500 per cent in just two years. Today, Cleancop is a ‘top three’ commercial cleaning company, servicing some of the world’s most recognised companies.
Since joining, I have ensured the correct certifications and training procedures were in place and the company’s processes and systems were running smoothly, this enabled the company to be in a fortunate position when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia. I also immediately ensured there were adequate anti-viral services in place, developing three specialised COVID-19 services using hospital-grade anti-viral disinfectants. My team were also given further infection control training. As a result, since March I have received thousands of calls for anti-viral cleaning by organisations who lacked confidence in their existing cleaners’ expertise and training.
This year alone, there has been a 30 per cent increase in regular ongoing clients and a 260 per cent increase in one-off jobs. As a result, I have been able to create five new full-time positions in the executive team and hire an additional 100 cleaners. The company is now recognised as a leading coronavirus and commercial cleaning specialist in Australia and New Zealand and continues to service internationally recognised brands and organisations, including NSW Health, Australian Rugby, Nespresso, McDonald’s, Coach, Zimmermann, and Louis Vuitton.
- Automate, where possible. When I joined Cleancorp, I threw myself into my role as Sales and Marketing Director. I set out automating our operations and introducing technologies to systemise processes. This allowed the company to replicate great service and cleaning outcomes for every client serviced. Automating processes and creating efficiencies where possible is a vital first step to reduce costs while strengthening business operations to facilitate growth.
- Establish a marketing strategy. My goal was to differentiate Cleancorp from competitors in the market and position it as a premium brand, complete with a unique brand identity. After overhauling the brand with a clean and fresh look, I designed a new marketing strategy, designed to target the corporate market. Marketing strategies should also keep in mind the customer journey and consider ways to achieve the goals set out for the company. For example, a successful change I incorporated into Cleancorp’s marketing strategy was to overhaul the customer journey by concentrating on efficiency and lowering the high cost of customer acquisition.
- Understand the importance of company culture. I believe company culture is key to the success of any business. I have maintained a keen focus on creating a company culture that employees crave – one where the ethos is ‘leave better than when you came in’, and which fosters education and training. It is important to understand the importance of establishing a company culture that values employees, whereby you are creating an environment in which every team member can grow and succeed.
- Ensure certifications and training procedures are up to date. It was crucial for me to establish multiple certifications for the business, in order to guarantee our customers would receive the highest level of service possible. Today, Cleancorp is one of the few Australian cleaning companies that have achieved three ISO certifications – Quality, Safety, and Environmental Management – demonstrating that the business meets international best practices for industrial, commercial cleaning services. I also established the Cleancorp Training Academy, an in-house training school that ensures team members are properly inducted, operate safely and deliver top-notch cleaning services. Consider areas in your business where you can establish certain training procedures or gain certifications that set yourself apart from competitors, while also ensuring you deliver a high-quality service to clients.
Lisa Macqueen, Co-Founder and Director at Cleancorp has more than 25 years of experience in sales and marketing for large international hotel chains and has developed strong expertise in strategic marketing and automation. A highly regarded media commentator, Lisa has appeared regularly on the Brian Tracy Show on CBS, NBC, and FOX Affiliates in the US, as well as the ABC in Australia. Lisa is co-author of Power Principles for Success – Volume 2, which achieved best-seller status in two Amazon.com categories.