We’ve said many times that being a small business owner is just plain tough. The amount of literal blood, sweat and tears you must pour into building a small business is incredible. Think of a successful small business owner you know; any small business, any industry. There is no doubt that there were days, weeks, months or even years when that business owner wasn’t sure how much longer they could continue.
The story of Lora Olson, owner of Superior Cleaning Solutions is not much different. Her success over the past ten years hasn’t come without a great amount of sacrifice and hard work. In fact, Olson admitted that this year was the first time she and her husband had taken a “real vacation” where they didn’t answer work calls or emails. Olson’s dedication to her customers and employees shows. Her passion and pride in the relationships she has built with their incredibly loyal employees and the company’s excellent reputation with their customers and vendors shows. For Olson, these relationships are extremely personal. “Our industry is a small, tight knit community and our employees have a very specific skill set. This means we work hard to hang on to both our customers and our employees”
Being a very small business with only a handful of employees, employee retention is vital for Superior Cleaning Solutions. When asked what she does to help keep employees around, Olson’s first answer was simple, “I feed them.” She said it with a laugh and it may seem like a small thing, but providing food for your employees every so often shows you value and appreciate their hard work. Olson takes that to the next level buying lunch or dinner for her team on a regular basis. She takes that same approach with her customers. The company doesn’t just sell customers a piece of equipment. They provide training classes hosted by the company that always include some home-cooked food. “They are friends. They aren’t just customers,” Olson says.
The company also recognizes the importance of family and personal time for their employees. They encourage employees to spend time with their families and offer flexible time off policies to make sure employees have a good work-life balance. They ensure that employee’s schedules work with their family life and make adjustments whenever possible. This flexible approach shows employees that they are respected and trusted.
This approach is not without its downfalls at times. Olson recalls times when employees have taken advantage of the flexibility. “It’s hard not to take it personally,” says Olson. But after this many years in business, Olson has become skilled at weeding out those that will not be a good fit for the company. She understand s her company culture and what it takes to keep both employees and customers around.
Building a business with a great reputation in the industry with customers who value and trust their service is incredibly rewarding for Olson. But, being a small business owner definitely has it challenges. The immense amount of pressure places on business owners, who literally hold the livelihood of their employees and their customers in their hands, can be overwhelming. Olson says, “Sometimes you just have to white knuckle it and hold on for the wild ride.” With their great reputation and amazing employees, it looks like Olson will be on this ride for many years to come.