The Philadelphia 100® Award ranked Jidan Cleaning number 30 of the area’s 100 fastest growing, privately held companies in 2014. Run by the Wharton Small Business Development Center, The Entrepreneurs’ Forum of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Business Journal, this merit-based award is one of the most sought after recognitions in the region.
Qualifying companies must meet selection criteria that include having a full, consecutive three-year sales growth history and must be an independent, privately-held corporation, proprietorship, or partnership organization.
Patricia Claybrook, president and CEO of Jidan Cleaning answered some questions as to how she grew her company in a way that helped it earn this latest recognition.
2. Is there a particular mindset in the way you approach your business that helped you earn The Philadelphia 100® Award?
It started a long time ago. Watching how hard my Dad worked after emigrating from Trinidad set the tone in my house growing up. He aimed for a better life for himself and our family and showed us that you had to give 120 percent in everything you do.
Watching and learning how hard and smart he worked gave me a sense of discipline that I have used throughout my life and with my company, Jidan Cleaning.
Each member of my team has the same work ethic. We take a proactive approach to all of our work and if there is ever an error, we address it on the spot, take ownership of it and resolve the issue without delay.
3. The Philadelphia 100® Award, which recognizes the area’s 100 fastest growing, privately held companies based on three consecutive years of sales growth, has some stringent criteria.
Gathering this information undoubtedly took time and a full understanding of your business.
Was there anything in particular that helped you prepare for and earn this award?
What ultimately helped me was the continuing education I require of myself in growing Jidan Cleaning.
As soon as I started the company in 2005, I attended classes and workshops at the Rutgers University – Camden Small Business Development Center, which is a free service.
As I grew my company, I moved on to other coaches and mentors who helped along the way.
I recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. The program really changed how I conduct business. They provide courses in all elements of business including sales, pricing, marketing, long-term goals, human resources and even exit strategies. It gave me a long-term goal mindset.
I am never afraid to ask for help and having those educational experiences has been a huge factor in growing Jidan Cleaning.
4. You refer to your staff not as employees, but as team members. Why do you do that and how do you think it has earned you The Philadelphia 100® Award?
Jidan Cleaning is a team. We are very much tied to each other’s success. Without my teams there is no business. They know that by working together, we will all share in the success of the business. It cannot happen without them.
Our team mindset starts at the hiring process. We hire people who are dedicated, honest and have the same work ethic my father instilled in me.
No one on the team starts without extensive training about procedures, products and customer service.
The education pays off for the customers, the team and me, as a business owner. There is honor in doing a job well and I am blessed to be surrounded by good people.
5. Jidan Cleaning is literally a hands-on service. Are there technologies that you utilize in your business that have helped with your successes and your client services?
At Jidan Cleaning we use CleanTelligent®, a quality control software system to schedule our clients’ first monthly inspection after any initial cleaning service.
This electronic communication system allows our clients access to their own online website account. They are able to notify us of any changes they need in their services, even if it is last minute.
Clients are also able to rate our efforts as well as track specific services. This system provides our clients with written reports about the results of our monthly inspections 90 days after the initial cleaning.
We also notify clients when one of our team members notices a cleaning or maintenance issue that may require the client’s attention.
This communication and feedback system is shared with the team and really helps us stay connected with our clients.
6. Can you explain the business decision for using “green,” or environmentally-friendly products?
They are products our customers really want. We work to make sure the products we use are both effective and safe for our clients’ employees and our team members.
We only use EnvirOx® cleaning products, an environmentally friendly cleaner, the best product to combat sickness-spreading germs and bacteria in a work environment.
Green cleaning does not stop with the cleaners we use. Our team members are also very conscious of waste. Rather than using paper towels, we use microfiber cloths, the ultimate green fabric because it does not rely on chemicals to do the actual cleaning.
These clothes can be washed hundreds of times before wearing out. Jidan Cleaning then donates them to organizations such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill for eventual repurposing into insulation and cushioning materials.
7. How do you manage your time between the everyday operations of your company while keeping an eye on the vision you have for Jidan Cleaning?
I credit the training I received from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. It really helps me stay focused.
My decision to bring on a like-minded operations manager has allowed me to concentrate on the longer-term goals of Jidan Cleaning, while she can stay laser-focused on the teams and our clients.
8. In your years of growing your business is there anything that has really changed or surprised you?
When I started Jidan Cleaning, I saw a need for professional and dependable commercial cleaning services. I grew the company with a need to support my family and provide for them. What I did not know back then is that by sharing that growth with staff, I can help others achieve their goals too.
Providing employment opportunities helps them support their families and it gives me an even greater sense of purpose.
I had no idea starting a cleaning service would end up being so fulfilling.
When I look back on achieving this award in my retirement years, I will think about how helping others has really enriched my own life.