One of the most important elements of running a business is having a strategic plan for marketing, advertising, and growth. After all, no one will be able to avail your products and services if no one knows about you in the first place. In turn, your business won’t grow without its customers.
When it comes to a commercial cleaning company, a strategic plan should include the following:
- executive summary (with a signature page duly signed by management, when applicable)
- company description
- mission and vision statements
- target market analysis
- SWOT analysis
- strategies and action plans
- monitoring and evaluation
Of course, this framework is the formal, structured side of things. Within this framework, you should include detailed information about your cleaning products and procedures, your core competencies, and how you plan to execute policies in order to achieve your goals.
That said, here are some helpful tips to help you craft the perfect strategic plan for your own cleaning company, no matter how big or small it may be:
1. Start With a Business Plan
Before you even start thinking about strategising, marketing, and advertising, you must first write your business plan. Once you establish your identity as an enterprise, it will be easier for you to devise tactics in delivering your services and achieving your goals.
Some of the most important details you should include in your business plan include:
- basic business information, including the name and contact details
- the management (e.g., who are the decision-makers, are you a solo entrepreneur or do you have a partner, etc.)
- mission and vision statement
- your objectives
- target market
- itemised business costs
- financial projections
- local competition and their unique selling proposition (USP)
Having a concrete business plan will guide you in developing your business strategies, ensuring that you can turn in profits while living up to your mission, vision, and values.
2. Differentiation Is Crucial
At their core, cleaning businesses are all the same: they provide cleaning services to the clients. The challenge, then, is how to differentiate your company from others. Your strategy should involve an “educate the audience” part about why your business is the one they should choose.
This is why it’s important to include a section about your competitors and their USPs in your business plan: to help you understand them better. In turn, this can help you figure what really it is that you do better than anyone else. Do you provide the best after-sales services? Do you excel in hospital cleaning? Do you have skilled and friendly staff?
Once you peg this down, things will be a lot easier-going because then you’ll be more focussed.
3. Know Your Target Market
The above-mentioned business plan should already contain a section about your target market, whether they’re homeowners or other businesses. By the time you write your strategic plan, you should already be going into a deeper dive. Having this information helps you refine your messaging and ensure that your marketing efforts resonate well.
The key here is to focus on one segment first, particularly if it's a small business. This will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and really allow you to specialise. Think about expanding your target market once you’re already established your credibility.
A good exercise is to create your ideal customer persona. Who are they? What are their jobs or what kind of businesses do they run? Are they young or old? What are their shopping habits? By creating this “avatar,” you can easily refine and target your marketing efforts.
4. Create a Detailed but Reasonable Budget
Like your target market, your budget should already be a part of your business plan. Then, when you create your strategic plan, you dive deeper into the intricacies of every tactic. For example, if you’re planning on spending on social media ads, identify which platforms you’re going to use and the kinds of ads you’re planning to make.
One good tip about creating a budget is to have both yearly and monthly allocations and projections. Doing this can help you determine lean and/or agile periods, not to mention track whether you’re actually making profits. Don’t hesitate to consult a professional if you need some advice.
5. Focus on Benefits Over Features
When you write your strategic plan, it’s tempting to highlight all the features and services you can offer your customers. However, the better approach is to focus on the benefits.
Think of it as if you’re selling a gadget like a smartphone. Sure you have a triple-camera set-up and 12GB of RAM—but what do these actually do for the customer? It would be better if you say that the phone can take beautiful outdoor photos or that it won’t slow down even if you’re multitasking.
The same goes for your cleaning business. Instead of saying you have experience in cleaning schools, say that you can help ensure the health and safety of everyone in the premises.
Doing your research about your target market can help in this regard because then you’ll have a good grasp of their common problems, questions, and pain points. You can then market your services as solutions to these issues.
6. Don’t Forget to Measure and Recalibrate
Once you start executing your strategies, don’t forget to keep track of their performance. This way, you’ll know which ones are working and which ones are not. Compare the before and after performance of implementing your strategies as well, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments where necessary.
Finally, don’t be afraid to scrap something if it turns out not to be effective. Sometimes, it’s better to start from scratch than force something to work.
Another important component of a strategic plan is the cooperation of the entire organisation (if you aren’t working solo). Nurture your team and provide support such as training and mentoring so that they can actively participate in executing your strategies.