When Greg Theroux launched an innovative new program to his commercial cleaning company, Heritage Building Maintenance, his goal was to position his Des Moines, Iowa based business to scale in both revenue and its regional footprint. When the growth came, however, it was from a surprising direction – one that would force Greg to quickly adjust his business plan and his leadership.
Recap – Sticking With The Plan
I first interviewed Greg for this podcast in autumn of 2017, after he attended a Birthing of Giants Fellowship masterclass. By then, his small business had grown into The Heritage Group, a holding company with three divisions, including the original Heritage Building Maintenance, and Heritage Microbial Control – an innovative initiative to bring a specialized cleaning component to the commercial cleaning industry. His main goals for his company were to secure the very rapid growth of the legacy division, Heritage Building Maintenance, and to continue expansion via his microbial program.
Though Greg’s team had recently launched a promotional campaign to jumpstart the microbial program, Heritage experienced a sudden growth spurt not from this new initiative, but from their legacy division, the traditional building maintenance company. It turned out that, despite Greg’s worry that the Des Moines region would eventually get tapped out, business was booming. Greg made the decision to slow down on the microbial program and expansion outside the area in order to adjust and maximize growth locally.
Two years later, it remains a good decision. Heritage has continued its growth at a steady 40% year over year – and they haven’t expanded out of the region yet!
“We’ve branched out a little bit, [but we] still consider ourselves a greater Des Moines business, and still the business is coming in. We don’t see a reason at this point to expand beyond the Greater Des Moines area.”
Heritage has adapted to its growth with the agility of a small business with giant leadership driving it and a business model that is one of the most successful in entrepreneurial history.
The Power of the Small Business
You’ve read here about Birthing of Giants Fellow, Toni Jacaruso, founder of Jacaruso Enterprises, utilizing this model to create an $8 million business. You’ve also read about Board of Experts member, Jere Simpson, who used this model to grow his business, KITEWIRE, from $4 to $55 million. Now you can add Greg Theroux to that prestigious list. I call it spot-a-problem-solve-the-problem, where a small company solves a problem that big companies have.
That model has proved so successful for Greg, that his company enjoyed even greater growth than he originally anticipated, though he’s quick to point out the challenges of handling that kind of fast growth.
“It’s extremely challenging for those of us that have been in high fast growth businesses. You’ve got to make decisions and [..] be very intentional about what you do.”
The ability to be intentional and pivotal in his decision making is part of what sets Greg apart as an entrepreneurial success. He responded to Heritage’s phenomenal growth by changing not just his systems and staffing (He made numerous strategic hires across departments), but also by changing how he helms his company. As part of building a strong administrative team, he removed himself from the day to day operations, liberating his time to better locate scalable talent, find ways to keep his team engaged, and communicate his vision for the future.
A Plan for the Future
While Greg chose to take the time to secure the growth his legacy division experienced, he never took his eyes off of the prize: a scalable company that could grow well beyond its Midwestern borders. That prize comes in the form of their newest division, Heritage Microbial Control.
Heritage’s microbial program is a service that takes cleaning the workplace to a whole new level by reducing pathogens – something that traditional cleaning companies generally don’t focus on. It’s a science heavy, cutting edge service that works to make the places we work in actually healthier to be in. Greg and his team came up with the idea by asking their clients a fundamental question: Why?
“We want to know why they need [a particular] service. And from there we’re figuring out how to help them. We’re in the cleaning business, but, really, our job is to make their workplace healthier. And that’s really the key.”
By keeping eyes and ears open, Greg landed on an unexplored market niche that large companies sorely need – before they even knew they needed it. With their microbial program Heritage is light years ahead of their industry, and they intend to stay that way.
“We love to make the changes before they’re required. So we’re constantly talking to people to research and find out what’s next. When we come to market, we’re so far ahead of where everyone is even thinking at this point that it’s just an absolute blast to work on.”
With the kind of maneuverability that small businesses are known for, and a brilliant leader at the wheel, Greg and The Heritage Group are well on their way to being GIANTS.
Check out my extended interview with Greg Theroux on Forbes.com.
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