AdvantaClean’s Erik Mortensen’s Rules to Live By
Erik Mortensen came to AdvantaClean after many years working in corporate wholesale food services, shipping fresh produce all over the country. For Erik, having a plan of action, taking care of the smallest details, and relaying a sense of urgency to staff, meant the difference in providing fresh, crispy veggies to customers, or limp, squishy, slime, fit only for the dumpster.
Erik has brought those same key qualities to his AdvantaClean of Southwest Minneapolis franchise, which is why he’s been among the top performers, year in and year out.
As a successful veteran, Erik took notice, recently, of all the new owners joining AdvantaClean. That started him thinking about his own early days with the company, especially what strategies worked, what didn’t work, and what he learned from both experiences. He decided to put his thoughts down on paper to share, and its generated a lot of positive buzz among his fellow franchisees.
We recently talked with Erik from his office about his “Rules to Live By”.
Q: How long did it actually take you to write all of these rules down?
Erik Mortensen: “30 minutes. The funny part was I intended to jot down a couple of notes, while watching the World Series. The next thing I knew, I had listed 20 thoughts, and probably could have written 200!”
Q: Your “Rules to Live By” is more than just a “How I Solved This Leak Issue”, but more of the “nuts and bolts” of being in business for yourself, right?
EM: “Yes. AdvantaClean is tremendous when it comes to training and education, and they encourage franchisees to talk to each other when it comes to looking for solutions for different things. I just thought it would be good to dig a bit deeper, and provide new business owners with a guide of sorts, based on my own experiences, of some of the business-side challenges. I want to help everyone get off on the right foot.”
Q: Of the 20 points you wrote, which are the ones you believe are key for new franchise owners?
EM: “Well, there are enough there where anyone can maybe find something which applies to them. However, I think Rule #14 speaks to all of us: know your daily fixed and variable costs so you will know how much you have to make EACH DAY from EACH JOB. If you’re fuzzy on this, you have no shot at making it. Commit yourself to making your goal EVERY DAY. Be accountable.
Q: You’re not big on “sponsorships”. Why?
EM: Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy giving back to my community, but you can’t depend on just sponsoring events to help you market your business. To get real sales leads, you must embrace Rule #2: your business will be driven by two primary lead sources: online and referrals. Both are easy to monitor for results, so you can gauge the effectiveness of your that marketing.
Referrals are especially effective. The best referrals are positive reviews from other people just like them. I make it easy by attaching a “Write Us a Review” link, which connects directly with my Google Review page. I also reward my team for positive reviews. That really incentivizes them to do excellent work, every day.
Q: There are several rules that are just common sense, like keeping your eyes open for opportunity, right?
EM: Absolutely! Several of the rules cover simple things which can help grow your business, like offer to do presentations at home inspector association meetings. Think how many leads you could get from them!
Cultivate relationships with property facility managers when it comes to commercial work. They can be a great resource to help you get to the property managers, who are the decision makers. It’s all about networking. Sometimes, working from the bottom, up pays dividends.
Always be thinking about other applications for AdvantaClean’s high -detailed cleaning services: schools, healthcare facilities, labs. Maximize your skill-sets and equipment.
Q: Final thoughts?
EM: Focus on your processes and people, especially your core people. Treat them with the respect they deserve, and trust them to re-pay you by doing consistent, quality, work for your clients. They are your best sales people!
Processes must be reviewed constantly to make sure you are working the AdvantaClean system correctly, and the training for your team is timely, first class and on-going.
Q: Oh, and those 10PM water job calls on a Friday night?
EM: Like I said: Suck it up and do the damn job. Yes, it’s a real pain, but think of it as profit to your bottom line!