Building through Cooperation

How Trust Can Expand Your Market Share

People, companies and organizations often struggle to cooperate today because their egos don’t allow them to see the benefits of strategic alliances. Simply put, nobody believes in trust anymore. Therefore, business owners operate independently until ultimately the “lone wolf” entrepreneur drives himself over the cliff.

In today’s overly-litigious society – where 90 percent of the attorneys in the world live in the United States (yet our population only represents a minimal .044 percent of the world population – it is refreshing to find entrepreneurs that have figured out how to build their respective businesses by the virtue of COOPERATION. What is more, they don’t need a legal document to tell them how to do it.

These extraordinary individuals realize that a person’s word is more important than a signature on a piece of paper.

For Instance

Four locally-owned and operated businesses, which are actually competitors, are showing us all how these time-tested principles of life still work quite well. They are Al and Ellen Sanders of Ichiban Cleaning, Ian Kennedy of Fish Window Cleaning, Mark Jepson of Clean Sweep and Frank Haven of Fox Janitorial. Over the past ten years they have demonstrated how the virtues of TRUST, COOPERATION, COMMUNICATION and RESPECT, in a competitive marketplace, has not only helped their business but has resulted in staggering growth for each.

These four companies figured something out that everybody can learn from: the NEED of the CLIENT is more important than their personal needs as a company, and if they put the client first, their needs will get met also. As Al Sanders, owner of Ichiban shared, “None of us can be everything to every customer. One of our first clients wanted their carpets cleaned so I tried buying the equipment and providing the service directly and just failed miserably. So I reached out to Mark, owner of Clean Sweep. He came in and did a remarkable job because he was a professional at carpet cleaning; it made me look great in the eyes of the customer.”

Haven, owner of Fox Janitorial, said it well: “We invested into the relationship with each other and constantly work on the communication between us in order to serve the client better. It is all about the client.

Surprising Growth

Today, these four entrepreneurial companies continue to grow while others struggle because they cooperate, trust, respect and communicate with each other. “We are problem solvers for our clients,” stated Kennedy, owner of Fish Window. “Of course we have had our bumps and struggles, but we have learned how to stay in contact with each other and consequently we have grown as a family,” added Sanders.

“So many people think that there is a secret world of ‘proprietary information,’ said Haven. “I came from the golf course maintenance community and it’s a community that is constantly sharing and helping each other. So I brought that philosophy to my janitorial business and now my business grows because I have four people working on finding new clients, instead of just what I can do by myself. You just have to get your ego out of the way, because the benefits of sharing are far greater.”

Values Shared, Value Added

Sanders, a Board Member of the Melbourne Regional Chamber, made the only rule for the cooperative effort – that they all would be members of the Chamber. “It provides us a basis for values, morals and ethics to run our business and to demonstrate to others how people do business by our word instead of legal documents,” explained Sanders. “We can bid or offer our services in a combo package or a la carte depending upon the needs of the client. We just simply refer and use each other as if we’re all owners together.”

Ellen Sanders made a great point when she added: “I am a perfectionist and it is about getting it right for the client. All four companies operate with that same moral code –we strive for perfection.”

In a day where self-interest, greed and ego come before any values, morals or ethics, the cooperative effort of Fox Janitorial, Clean Sweep, Fish Window and Ichiban Cleaning demonstrates that you don’t need attorneys in order to do things correctly – you just need CHARACTER.

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