April Fresh Cleaning is one of those businesses.
Their success in a very turbulent economy has not come without bumps and bruises though. In the beginning of the lockdowns April Fresh Cleaning saw roughly a 40% reduction in business. According to April Weygand, owner of April Fresh Cleaning, most of these cancelations were meant to be temporary however, some of the businesses have yet to re-open.
“The 60% of our clients that were still there really kept us going”, says Weygand, “thankfully because my staff still needed their paychecks.” April herself had to forgo her own paycheck for a while just to ensure her staff had theirs. Truly walking the talk of leaders eating last.
“The initial slowdown for us gave me some time to think”, said April. She knew she had to pivot and needed to figure out what that meant. “Business success really depends on how well you pivot. Figuring out what you do well and how you can use that to help people in a new environment is what will make or break your business” said Weygand.
Turns out a little time off paid off in the end.
During the shutdown April practiced what she preached. She formulated a plan to work with what she did well and started to do manual disinfections for clients and then eventually upgraded her equipment. These upgrades included a couple of hydrostatic sprayers that allowed her to do these disinfections at a much faster rate, while also bringing her cost down as the manual disinfections took quite a bit of time and labor. April told us that the sprayers she added combined with the solution she uses “can kill COVID in two minutes”. Her clients use this service to keep their businesses clean, and open. April said she is doing most of these disinfections for local restaurants and commercial offices.
How has this helped her business? This pivot, as April puts it, has helped her see a year on year increase in revenue of roughly 20%. Not bad at all in any economy, pretty incredible in this one.
April says she owes current success to the fact that people have changed the reason they clean and how often they have cleanings done: “People are cleaning more. They realize that a clean environment is important. They are now cleaning for health reasons rather than just for aesthetics.”
The disinfection services are not the only pivot she has made. She has also added Restoration Services to her portfolio helping business owners and residential customers clean up after water damage from either fire or flooding. She has gotten her certification in this field and is currently working on her mold remediation certification. She says she may continue on to gain certifications in fire and smoke as well. April, a true visionary, is always looking forward.
April has set a shining example of what businesses need to do to make it through this pandemic. First and foremost they need to take care of their employees, without them there would be no business. Secondly, businesses need to take a hard look at what they are doing and how they are doing it. Only then can they decide on how best to make the necessary changes that their company and their clients need. Lastly, they need to develop the habit of always looking forward. As a friend said recently to me, “you have to behave like a carpenter building stairs and always be looking a few steps ahead”.
Written by Michael Nelson of the Saratoga Business Review.