4 Ways to Compete Effectively in 2020

In this first quarter of 2020, many commercial sweeping businesses throughout the industry are strategizing for growth. To that end, some savvy owners of growing sweeping services are looking toward making the kinds of upgrades and other improvements that have helped their biggest competitors succeed. Naturally, bringing your services up to the standards of companies that dominate the market makes sense, if you plan to go head-to-head with them competing for new customers through 2020 and beyond.
Some kinds of changes can be expected to yield greater results than others, of course. Especially for smaller businesses, implementing one or two key improvements can make a significant difference in competitiveness. For medium-sized businesses, scaling up your number and breadth of changes across your company can be the ideal formula for accelerated growth.
Changes you may look to adopt from larger companies to facilitate your own business’s growth may include field services advancements, administrative technology innovations, and internal business cultural changes. These are, after all, key areas of improvement that the largest and/or fastest-growing companies in the power sweeping industry have been working on as part of their strategies to accelerate and sustain their growth this year.
Among the changes launched last year or planned for implementation this year by some of the most successful players in the business, here are four key kinds of improvements a smaller sweeping service business can make, to compete more effectively with these larger competitors in your local and regional market:

1. Improve Your Talent Retention Program.

Retaining good employees is the single most commonly reported problem for business owners throughout the commercial sweeping industry from coast to coast. Last year, virtually all the companies we featured as Spotlight businesses emphasized their internal culture-building, team-appreciation, and other employee retention programs. In addition to strong compensation packages, including health insurance and vacation pay, employers are striving to add value to their talent retention programs with team-building and/or culture-building events and activities.
Some of the most successful programs include; monthly meetings for sharing information and brainstorming solutions to common problems workers are experiencing, annual company picnics and/or dinners. Sponsored industry certification training. Awards ceremonies with trophies and other rewards are often included. Sponsored attendance at industry conventions is offered by some for field management employees.
Smaller growing companies are having birthday cake mini-celebrations for each employee, get-togethers at owners’ homes or clubs, pool parties and barbeques. Several employers have set up inviting breakrooms/hang-out spaces for staff to decompress after work, complete with a stocked fridge, big-screen TVs, and comfortable furniture.
One of the country’s large and fastest-growing regional companies, operating now in locations throughout the Southeastern US, has even put in place a monthly contest to run through 2020 in which each month the highest-performing employee company-wide puts his/her name in a drawing, and at the end of the year, in a ceremonious event a name will be drawn for one of those employees to win big prizes, one of which is a new pickup truck.
All the larger pavement sweeping companies also emphasized their recruiting and onboarding practices as instrumental components of their employee retention programs. They are screening with greater scrutiny than many smaller operators. Some have in-house or outside HR specialists managing some or all routine tasks and issues requiring skilled HR professionals throughout the employee’s term of employment, even though the exit interview.
For smaller businesses struggling in this area, hiring an outside HR service for employment marketing, screening, and onboarding can be exceedingly beneficial toward achieving long-term retention goals.

2. Centralized Your Service and Administrative Platforms.

New field services software options for growing businesses can help small operators obtain the same levels of advanced integrated tech platform advantages as the big industry players.
Options to help growing pavement sweeping business operators obtain the same levels of advanced integrated tech platform advantages as the big industry players include adopting GPS tracking, at minimum. GPS in conjunction with camera technology is becoming more common across the industry, even for smaller operators. But, those with the budget for it, have reported that GPS plus remote monitoring service has been paying off remarkably well in areas of management from quality validations, to payroll efficiencies, to inventory controls, to equipment maintenance, to customer service quality.
One major and rapidly-growing regional company has even developed its own proprietary special software system with integrated field and billing systems and QA functionality.
To bring a smaller operator’s systems up to this standard of efficiency that only such centralized business platforms can deliver, shop some of the wide array of field services operating platforms now available at affordable rates. The best include systems setup and testing, comprehensive user and admin training, and ongoing 24/7 HelpDesk support.

3. Earn Staff and Business Industry Certifications.

Across the board, the most successful commercial pavement sweeping services we talked to last year emphasized their advanced training for drivers. All recognize the importance of having the best-trained personnel in their competitive market. All expressed great pride in their field staff’s comparatively high level of training. Several key North American Power Sweeping Association (NAPSA) individual and company certification training programs are being used as both competency and brand builders.
NAPSA certification is recognized throughout the U.S. power sweeping competitive market as validation offering greater peace of mind to industrial and commercial customers. NAPSA is designated as an ANSI Standards Writer. NAPSA certification courses include:
• Certified Sweeper Operator (CSO) Training Course
• CSO Certification Training for Construction Site Sweeping
NAPSA Training on Sweeper Industry Best Practices 2020
• Certification Sweeper Management (CSM) Training Course
Note that all sweeping services operators should appreciate the need to protect themselves, their employees and their businesses legally, by ensuring operational adherence to established sweeping industry standards for workers to obey.
For more information about certification courses for drivers and managers, contact the North American Power Sweeping Association, Lebanon, OH. Phone: 888-757-0130, Website: powersweeping.org.

4. Seek Funding for Growth.

If you’ve bootstrapped to fund your startup, and your company has since grown to a size and has been financially performing to a degree that makes your business appropriately positioned to appeal to lenders or to venture capital investors, now may be the time to start turning your attention in that direction to fund your growth. Private equity is another option. It’s an alternative class of funding through investors and dedicated funds that invest directly in private businesses.
One new US commercial pavement sweeping company, SCA, has undergone spectacular growth over the past three years through acquisitions of smaller businesses. The company has grown from nothing in 2017 to a total of nearly 40 locations and 1,000 employees, throughout half the US. It is now the biggest self-performing pavement sweeping business in the country, and its owner has aggressive growth plans for the coming periods of 2020. All of this was achieved through private equity funding.
For fledgling operators not yet in a position to pursue such growth funding, organic growth through sales and smaller acquisitions of local competitors’ operations is the staple method for expansion. But, even in your earliest startup phase, it’s not too early to seek consultation with your local SBA office and your usual lender, to obtain information on the appropriate commercial lenders for your particular needs, and to become educated on your full range of growth funding options going forward.
Growing Along with the Big Boys in 2020
As you can gather, there’s no magic bullet for growing your small to medium-sized power sweeping business in a highly competitive market in which a much larger, better organized, and better financially positioned operator is dominating the local area. That’s nothing new. What is new is the advanced tech, training, and talent-retention means for increasing competitive effectiveness that are generally available today for both large and small companies alike, as discussed above.
The key to achieving the growth you believe your company can and should be able to reach requires taking measures in the several areas of business management mentioned above — retaining talent, validating your company’s credentials for customers, technologies that help utterly streamlining your operating efficiency. Growth also means focus on the basics — meticulous organization that inspires employees’ confidence, strong customer engagement, and impeccable quality management.
So, the takeaway here amounts to 1) follow sweeping industry business management best practices (see the NAPSA course listed above), 2) upgrade and update your systems as needed to stay current with competitors, 3) seek professional advice as needed to update your employment practices as needed to reduce employee attrition, and 4) reach out early for guidance on internal and external growth investment for your business.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!