Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Accidental Janitorial Company: Freedom Cleaning Services

Sometimes opportunity finds you.

In 2003, Cherry Hills Community Church called Baby Bud's Director Dianne Sager with a question. The recovery organization that had been cleaning their facility had just closed and Cherry Hills needed a new partner. Would Baby Bud's be interested in cleaning the school at Cherry Hills?

Normally a retail baby store would think twice about committing to a job completely unrelated to its core business. But Dianne had 20 years of experience managing a janitorial company prior to Baby Buds. She saw this as a new opportunity to employ more single moms. Within a couple of weeks, Baby Bud's added five single moms for a cleaning crew and Freedom Cleaning Services was born. Within a year, the business had grown to employ ten women with several other churches and commercial businesses as clients.

One of the challenges to any business start-up is maintaining the focus on your core business when other opportunities arise. Sometimes it's good to pursue opportunities to expand the business into new areas because it increases revenue. But, many times, expanding takes away from the focus of the venture and creates new layers of complexity that hurt the business in the long run. It's not hard to find the stereotypical entrepreneur who pursues five different ventures but is unable to focus long enough on one of them to find success.

The decision become even more complicated when you add the unique nature of a faith venture's double bottom line. A faith venture pursues a mission that seeks both earned income and changed lives. In the case of Baby Bud's, we made the quick decision to start Freedom Cleaning Services because we saw a definite opportunity to employ more single mothers in an area that key members of our staff were extremely experienced. This unique situation would also be profitable right from the start. We saw it as a chance to subsidize our other expenses related to Baby Bud's.

But over the years, this decision has become more complicated as Freedom continues to grow. It is important to remain vigilant to avoid the danger of focusing too much on one of the ventures at the expense of less focus on the other venture. If our goal is to hire more single mothers rebuilding lives, we need to constantly analyze how best to spend our resources towards achieving that goal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is a great story. It's great how a service or product is accidentally created when it is sometimes an obvious needed service. Charlotte housekeeping service was also accidentally created because of a neat-freak mom and when some people asked jokingly if she would clean their homes for fee. Congratulations to every business owner out there!