Persistence pays cleaning business owners


twin cities

Patience is a trait that it very much in short supply in the current generation of prospective entrepreneurs who prefer to make maximum profit with minimum effort. This is said to be one of the obstacles to the development of a vibrant small business sector in the country.

But co-owners of a fast growing small business, Chris Ndongeni and his business partner, Kenneth Khumalo have led the way. Since establishment in 2007, the small contract cleaning business, Twin Cities Cleaning,  has just broken even.

During hardships Khumalo and Ndongeni stayed put and focused on the bigger picture, while their partner could not stand ‘the heat” anymore and quit.

Based on his experience, Ndongeni shares the following three precious pieces of advice with young people aspiring to be successful entreprenuers:

  1. Don’t skimp on research

Our first day was a huge shock because we hadn’t done enough research. We assumed that the previous contract cleaning firm would have left equipment and chemicals behind for us to use, but when we arrived there was nothing! As a result our first month was a huge scramble of taking loans and using provident funds to get equipment and chemicals.

Had we known before we started, we could have made more considered purchases and business decisions – in fact we only discovered after we’d gone into business there was a National Contract Cleaning Association (NCCA).

  1. Be prepared to make sacrifices

Starting and running a successful business starts with partners sharing a vision and end goal. Myself and one partner understood that to make the business work and grow we’d need to make sacrifices and take a small salary only when it was financially possible to do so. Our third partner wasn’t happy about that. He wanted money right from the start. Fortunately buying him out didn’t turn into a drawn out and expensive exercise. The lesson I learnt was the importance of clear communication, recorded minutes, and driving accountability.

3. Employee to employer gear changes

When I went into business, we had to hire and manage a team of employees, and with that came staff issues. I found myself needing a whole different skills set to deal with low education and found myself struggling with things like disciplinary hearings, incentives, HR and other related matters.

My solution was to take a course in HR to learn how to deal properly with my staff and get the most out of them to help the company grow.

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