December 19, 2023
The Times, They are Changin’
It seems this may always be an appropriate theme as we face into a new year. However, as 2023 comes to a close, it feels that the challenge, change, and uncertainty are more prevalent than in years past. This is our shared context as we all look forward to how we’ll grow our businesses in 2024. Looking back at 2023, I am inspired by our customers, who demonstrate perseverance and resilience and find opportunities where others see obstacles.
Let's take a brief look back at the exciting events that unfolded in Swept during the year 2023.
2023 at a glance
It comes as no surprise that we heard about more challenges customers are facing in hiring and retaining their staff. From technology to janitorial services and all the sectors in between, we are all facing new challenges where hiring cleaners and talent management are concerned. The New York Times wrote about job openings defying the economic pressures that would typically tip in an employer’s favor for hiring. The aging demographic, the shifting needs of the workforce, and labour costs indicate a change is afoot.
We also heard from customers who want real-time views of teams in the field and better ways to track profitability and expenses. While these aren’t new issues, the sense of urgency to solve them feels more acute than in years past. Retaining profitable contracts and team accountability are key elements of successful, growing commercial cleaning businesses. While you need to know how to find commercial cleaning contracts, you also need to manage them effectively. Rising labour costs and inflationary pressures require a new level of management and tools to operate successfully.
At the annual ISSA trade show, we were inspired by stories from customers who joined us 3–4 years ago and consistently exceeded growth targets during the pandemic and after. We know the janitorial industry remains vibrant, offering numerous opportunities for operators with a growth mindset, and a growth plan and are resourced to be successful.
Looking ahead to 2024
When I took over as CEO in September, I knew it was a perfect time to examine what we’ve done well and where we can do better. Today, we serve Janitorial Owners from scale-up to those running enterprise-sized operations. Many started with us when they were much smaller, and we’ve grown together. I’m very proud of our customers' growth and so grateful to be part of their story.
That’s what I believe Swept has done really well. We’ve brought stability and the right-sized software to growth-oriented janitorial owners, giving them peace of mind and confidence to build their businesses. The systems we’ve created have provided a new level of accountability between our customers and their clients and have been an enabler for growth.
Where can we do better?
There is a concept in leadership development that I think also applies to organizations. It’s the concept of overused strength. You can read more about it here. At Swept, our reflex is to help and support. We love this industry and have great respect for our customers and their goals. To that end, we want to help and support you at every opportunity. However, in trying to help and support everyone, we inevitably will be stretched too far and fail to deliver.
Going into 2024, I’m renewing my focus on our strengths by looking at the needs of the customers Swept serves best. Through this filter, in 2024 we’ll increase our investment in our product to improve the core functionality our customers depend on while addressing the growing needs for reporting and insights. As a business, we’ve made significant changes in 2023. We are committed to sustainability and growth and that requires us to stay focused on our core customers and deliver what we promise. So, yes, times, they are a changin’ and in 2024 I believe (and hope) it is for the better.
From our team to yours, we wish you a season of peace and time with your loved ones.