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4 Ways To Automate Your Business and Run It From Anywhere (with Elena Ledoux)

June 25, 2021 in Business

This article is based on a presentation by Elena Ledoux from the 2020 Maid Summit. Elena is the Co-Founder of Superb Maids LLC and was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women of Distinction Awards and 2019 SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year. In this post, we’ll go over the 4 systems that she used to grow her maid service to $90,000 per month in revenue.

We know you’re probably sick of hearing about how you need systems to grow your business. Well, there’s a reason it was a recurring theme of last year’s Maid Summit. 

Having the right systems in your business is what will take it to the next level. It’s what will allow you to separate your business from your life and spend more time doing the things you love. For Elena, that means kicking back on a beach in Waikiki while her business runs smoothly back home. 

There are four central systems you need to streamline your business: 

  • A people system – for managing your staff and hiring 
  • A sales system – to manage your sales and marketing processes
  • A money system – to manage your financials 
  • A work system – to manage the day to day operations of your business 

Let’s break down each system with simple suggestions on setting it up and getting it started as quickly as possible.

System 1: People 

When you first start hiring, you might be more interested in hiring as fast as possible without considering if they are the right candidate. The longer you’re in business, you start to learn that you need the right people – not just any people – to help you run your business. 

The first step to finding the right people to hire is to set up a hiring pipeline. Before you start writing your job ad, make sure you establish your ideal employee as well as your company’s values. 

Next, write an awesome job ad that sells them on the opportunity to work with you. You want your business to be attractive to high-level employees and position yourself as a great person to work for. 

Wherever you post your job ad, have it linked to an application page. On this application page, it’s helpful to include a recruitment video, a description of your company, and as much detail as possible on the role. 

Once you receive applications, invite qualified candidates to a pre-screening interview where you can talk to them in person or via video call to assess whether it’s a good fit. 

Elena recommends inviting candidates to a job test to see their skills in person. This can be a paid trial period where you observe how they work and see their skills first hand. It’s also a time to see if you enjoy working together. 

Even if someone has good skills, if you can’t see yourself working closely with them, or if you don’t think it is a good personality fit, it might not work out in the long run. 

Once you’ve hired a new employee, you need to make sure you train them thoroughly and provide feedback on the work they are doing. 

Before hiring, it’s always a good idea to have an employee manual and documented processes to hand over to your new hire so that they have a record of your expectations, as well as the rules you have for your company. 

Hiring quick tips: 

  • Hire for attitude over skill. Skills are trainable. Attitude is not. 
  • Hire slow and fire fast. If someone shows you they are not a good fit, move on quickly. 
  • Write your employment ad like you would write a dating profile. Make them fall in love with your company. 
  • Ensure each employee has a specific KPI that they are responsible for, and make it clear what that KPI is. 

System 2: Sales 

Your sales system is what will get customers in the door and keep them coming back. This includes your marketing, sales and customer management processes. 

To set up a decent sales system, you need to establish a few core aspects of your business, such as: 

  • Your company values 
  • Your target audience 
  • Clear and specific messaging 
  • Your leading service and offer 
  • Strong imagery and company branding 
  • A primary marketing channel 

All of these things will support your business in finding new leads and closing new clients. Once you have leads, you’ll also need support in closing new customers once they learn about your business. 

Hiring a virtual assistant can be a massive help in managing your sales process. When you hire someone to help with sales, make sure you’re providing them with phone scripts and all of the details they need to sell customers on your services. 

To offload some of their work, make sure you have a robust FAQ section on your website so that potential customers can learn all about your services before picking up the phone. You should also have a way for them to book instantly or request an instant quote on your website. You can easily set both of these up using the ZenMaid instant booking form – start your free trial today to see what difference it could make to your maid service.

Sales and marketing quick tips: 

  • Don’t neglect your marketing strategy – Consistently test new avenues to see what works.
  • Research, research research! Continue to research your audience and industry to stay up to date on the latest methods. 
  • Reputation is everything – Dedicate some time every month to managing your online reviews. 
  • Make sure you can be found – If you’re not doing SEO and don’t have a Google My Business page, set that up now.

System 3: Money 

Your money system is what will tell you if your business is financially healthy. Within this system, you should track and regularly update your financials and use a financial tool like QuickBooks Pro to stay organized. 

If money and financials are not your forte, Elena highly recommends hiring a bookkeeper to help you keep your income and expenses organized and manage reconciliations every month. 

It helps to have clear KPIs (key performance indicators) for each part of your financial system. This will help you track where your money is coming from and where it’s going. The main things to track are: 

  • Gross Sales 
  • Revenue
  • Cost of goods sold
  • Net profit 
  • Incoming and outgoing payments 

Knowing these numbers will also help you understand how much you should be paying yourself and how much more you’ll need to earn to pay yourself more. Decide on a dollar amount that will make you happy and allow you to live the life you want to live. Then, reverse engineer the amount your business will have to make for you to pay yourself that amount. 

Financial quick tips: 

  • Get ahead on taxes – Always put away money for taxes and make sure you’re making your estimated payments to avoid penalties. 
  • Is it profitable? Evaluate every client and service you offer for profitability. If a particular aspect of your business isn’t profitable, it might be time to rethink that strategy. 
  • Cash is king – Always get paid upfront. 

System 4: Work and operations

Your operations and work systems are essentially all of the processes and rules that your business and your employees follow. These can include things like the process for your cleaners to complete tasks, any safety rules, company guidelines, and more. Additionally, these systems should also include what tools you use, and how you pay and work with vendors and suppliers. 

One of the main aspects of your operational systems is having a quality management process and feedback system in place. This ensures that there is always room for improvement on everything that gets done within your business and to create a feedback loop where your employees are getting the feedback they need to improve their skills. 

To manage this system, you also need to have a good communication system in place. Decide how you want to communicate with your team. You can use tools like Slack, email, or SMS, but make sure that there is a set process for how you will contact and communicate with your team. 

Make sure that you have a communication process that isn’t just in-person so that you can document conversations you have with your team. When there are miscommunications, having a record of conversations lets you refer back to something to figure out how you could have improved communication. 

Operations quick tips: 

  • Hire a field manager who can manage your cleaners while they’re out in the field. 
  • Make sure employees get feedback directly from customers, good and bad, so they know where the input is coming from based on their work.
  • Use a quality management system to give bonuses to employees based on the quality of their work. 

Final Thoughts 

We can’t say it enough. Systems will support the scaling and rapid growth of your maid service. 

The more aspects of your cleaning business you can systematize, the more opportunities you’ll have to grow the business without investing more of your own time. 

Instead of putting in hours of time and energy talking to customers, sending invoices, and running the numbers, you could be sipping a daiquiri on the beach. All while being confident that your business is running exactly the way it should be. 
Get even more practical tips on setting up the right systems to scale your business from Elena’s full presentation from the 2020 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. Her talk is one of over 40 presentations from the summit designed to help maid service owners work less, earn more, and streamline their cleaning business.

ZenMaid

About the author: Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc (www.zenmaid.com). He previously started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. His goal with the maid service software at ZenMaid is to help other maid service owners do the same.

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