Innovate your cleaning business to survive

To be sustainable you must be aware of the changesyour business must develop to adapt, writes FreshOps director Mark Jones.

Many businesses in the cleaning industry are improving their environmental credentials. This is a response by industry to the demands of our community and to government regulations. The community and government have responded to changes observed in our environment and the role that we as industry or consumers might be playing in making it worse.

The fantastic contribution of some helps customers of these cleaning businesses to deliver better outcomes for their staff the environment and the community will probably. Yet other businesses will do little or nothing to address rapidly accepted norms in what being environmentally

I want to draw your attention to two things that are happening here. The environment is being monitored expertly and businesses are responding to the demands of customers. And, in the absence of business responding, governments are setting regulations as they listen to their customers being the voting public. But the key is the customer is being listened to and action is being taken. To be sustainable as businesses we clearly need to do the same, can you say you are doing this expertly in your business?

Being sustainable and thriving

The word sustainability isn’t just about the environment as it relates to trees. It also relates to your business and the environment that your business operates in. To be sustainable you must be aware of the changes in the environment around you and your business must develop and ability to adapt.

We have often heard the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’. This does seem to describe the recent drive for operational efficiency, growing businesses at scale and ensuring we eliminate waste in our business. This waste takes the shape of both material waste, as in the environmental argument, but it also implies the waste of time not used appropriately, over-servicing of sites and also inefficient processes leading to excessive work for back of house functions. This over servicing can be driven by customers’ demands and we need to decide which of these we respond to in order to survive.

And some of the changes in the environment that our businesses operate in are ones driven by technology. Your business must be creating innovations using this technology that sustains your competitive advantage. That is if you want to have a business worth selling for at a future point in time.

Examples of this are equipment that is more efficient to run, more effective when it operates, easier to maintain and ideally more durable and requiring less replacement. This equipment will also be easier to carry so it is better for your staff and might even be ‘smart’ equipment that reports back its operating usage to allow better monitoring and might alert management and operators to maintenance it requires.

And as a director of a software company platform that drives operations efficiency, we have seen a genuine innovation in the way we now need to conscientiously manage our people and report to our customers. Customers have come to expect that in this digital age, sustainable businesses are those that capture more information and live data from the field and are able to effectively use this information to manage their team better and meet customer expectations reliably.

Businesses that use innovative information tools are those that will outperform businesses that do not. Therefore businesses with better information, more data and more complete delivery of services will outperform companies without them and hence more sustainable.

Be the change or be changed

Jack Welch is a business leader of considerable note and he has a fantastic saying that epitomises what we are observing today with this information revolution. Welch says, “If the rate of change outside your business exceeds the rate of change inside your business, then your days are numbered”.

To remain competitive, build value in your business and to ensure your very survival, your business must be innovating to remain sustainable faster than the environment around you. As a reader of this article you have received new ideas already. But that is not enough.

It is not the person who has the best ideas who wins. But the person who puts those ideas into action and learns how to apply new principles, technology and methods. You then operate your business in a way that leads to happier more satisfied customers over the long-term. And you do this better than your competitors.

I hope that technology forma a large portion of your thinking when it comes to building a business that is sustainable. Sustainable for the environment absolutely, but also sustainable for you as the owner, for your manager, the supervisor, the employee and for your customers. All of which are relying on you to innovate and deliver better performance through learning about technology, equipment and your people faster than the environment around you.

*Mark Jones is a board member of BSCAA Qld and a director of, a software platform to better manage cleaning staff while in the field. Based in Brisbane, he’s readily contactable at

This first appeared in the September/October issue of INCLEAN magazine. 

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