A map with blimps reading "expansion" spread throughout

In the last two articles on scaling up, I discussed the need for a specific vision within your company combined with a strong leadership team. You need the right foundation, a clear direction, and the right people to steer the ship. But where do you go from here? Vision and people are a good start, but that still leaves you with a gap of where you are and where you want to be. You need a model to scale with.

We are all familiar with the remarkable success of McDonald’s. What most of us don’t realize is that the secret of McDonald’s is not exceptional food or even real estate. Rather, the reliability of their model made worldwide growth a possibility. While the McDonald’s brothers possessed a great product, Ray Kroc created a model for growth.

A key lesson here must be understood by janitorial contractors. While your service offering is important, your ability to replicate is more important when it comes to future growth. Without a replicable model, you can’t effectively scale up, leaving the owner to manage most aspects of the business and putting the company at risk of taking a financial hit. Therefore, you must begin to systematize your business, creating a blueprint from which to build.

There are basically three parts of your business that must be systematized: culture, operations and sales. Let’s do a quick overview of each.
As you scale your organization, the moral fabric of your company can quickly become diluted, leaving you with branch operations that look vastly different from each other. Therefore, your company culture must be written down, preached and practiced if it is to be replicated.

Second, all of your key operational procedures must be in writing and practiced religiously throughout the organization. Procedures include things like hiring and onboarding, uniforms and image, quality control and inspections, customer relations, etc. Each of the major components that make you successful now must be written down and followed as gospel truth.

Finally, your sales processes need to be ironed out. Who are your ideal customers, how do you effectively sell to them, and what is your pricing model? Your selling processes must match the culture and processes of your operation.

When all these processes and systems are operating in harmony, your company is officially on the launching pad poised for mega-growth. Attempting to scale without first putting these essential pieces in place is a recipe for disaster. With the right vision, people and systems, you are ready to move to the final step: creating a long-term growth strategy.

Jordan Tong is a BSC consultant and founder of Elite Business Coaching, in addition to being a third-generation owner of Frantz Building Services based in Owensboro, Kentucky. For more information on his coaching services, visit