Building A Scalable BusinessBy Wayne Wudyka on February 23rd, 2013 /
When I first started out in the cleaning and restoration industry I knew nothing about drycleaning. Today, as the owner of Clean Brands L.L.C., I operate five highly successful Michigan-based cleaning companies including the Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network (CRDN), which has an international network. My secret to successful growth and expansion is simple: I pick the right opportunities at the right time.
During my 20 years in the laundry industry I’ve had numerous opportunities to expand my business into new markets and new lines of service, but I’ve only acted on a select few. I know first hand how tempting it can be for an up-and-coming entrepreneur to want to accept the first offer or opportunity that arises, but it’s important to take the time to fully analyze the situation and ensure it makes strategic sense for your business and its future. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll have the confidence in your sustainable business model to know that the first opportunity to grow will not be your last, so don’t be afraid to say no to an acquisition, partnership or other deal in favor of the long-term view.
The points I always ask myself before acquiring a new company or forging a new partnership are:
Does my business have the infrastructure in place to fully support this particular expansion?
This means not only having the right people in the right seats, but also having the overall operational capacity and tried and tested systems in place to manage an expansion and increase in output. My team and our model were not ready to take on the operations of 1-800DryClean the first time we had the opportunity to acquire it years ago. But after refining our operations with our national franchise, CRDN, we had the manpower and capability to take on the new chain, which joined our Clean Brands Family in 2012.
Is the category ready to be defined?
If you’re venturing into a space that no one has yet defined, is there a reason for that? Sometimes a great idea just has to wait for the right timing or for technology to catch up. For example, I had thought about incorporating some sort of locker based delivery service into the cleaning business for a long time, but the technology component just wasn’t there. Now, with the widespread use of smartphones and the brilliant programming of a couple of super smart guys in San Francisco, my new operating model, bizzie, is primed to take the industry by storm. Had I attempted to launch the idea before the technology component was perfectly in place, it never would have been viable.
Take some time to determine what the right questions are for you in your line of business and you’ll be on the path to effectively growing your company or organization.