We have all heard the expression “sometimes it’s better to learn the hard way.” These lessons lead to twists and turns, and stumbles and falls, or “growing pains.” I am sure you can think of a time or two in your life when you learned a lesson the hard way, and are glad (or not) that you did.

As a business expands, management may experience growing pains. For many building service contractors the challenge is not getting more business; it’s keeping what they have. All too often, we see businesses losing accounts as quickly as they win them. Taking your lumps may be part of life but they should not be part of growing your business. With your business at risk, it’s essential to create a framework for growth that enables you to build the proper foundation for managing growth.

The following list of operating principles will ensure that your organization has the right pieces in place to operate efficiently as operations expand. The best practices can be used as a “platform for growth.” Well-managed BSCs conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to see where they are doing well and where they need to improve. Fixing the areas that need improvement prevents growing pains later.

  • Quality Systems: This first principle is designed to ensure BSCs run an organization that delivers quality results. To do this, define cleaning service requirements, measure performance and obtain relevant feedback from customers. In order to grow, BSCs need to commit to continual measurement and improvement.
  • Service Delivery: Organizations must have a service delivery plan that outlines the organization’s customer-related processes, including workloading, staffing, purchasing and handling of unexpected events.
  • Human Resources: A cleaning organization will only operate in an efficient and professional manner if its employees are well-trained, customer-focused and dedicated to delivering a quality service. From hiring to training to the actual delivery of service, an organization’s human resources must be prepared to upload its commitment to quality.
  • Health, Safety and the Environment: Businesses have to comply with existing legal and regulatory obligations. Documentation of this compliance is important. This also includes any processes and systems related to health, safety and sustainability initiatives.
  • Management Commitment: BSCs should have a clearly defined vision for the future and an understanding of their missions. Well-defined organizational roles and responsibilities as well as an effective communication plan are also must-haves. All of this will prepare BSCs for times of organizational change.

When a business goes through growth spurts, its owners should experience exciting times, not tumultuous ones. A framework that helps prepare BSCs for steady, organized growth ensures owners avoid the pitfalls and growing pains so they can reap the benefits of a well-run, thriving business.

Jim Peduto is the president of Matrix Integrated Facility Management and the co-founder of the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences.