Turning aspiration into growth
Here’s how That’s Clean used nextAdvisory’s innovative approach and strategic know-how to turn itself around.
As one of Auckland’s fastest growing cleaning companies with a large team of staff and an impressive client base, That’s Clean offers tailored cleaning solutions, window cleaning and property maintenance to businesses and homes across the region.
When co-owners Tony Witana and Kevin Everitt took over the company in 2006 they had big aspirations for growth. And they grew all right, from just over 50 staff to 160 and saw a substantial increase in annual turnover.
Things seemed to be moving along nicely.
Yet, despite what felt like a natural growth cycle, with neither coming from a business background, they realised they needed a stronger strategic plan.
There’d been a financial blowout somewhere along the way and it became clear they needed to focus on some serious learning and growth planning to understand why it happened, to ensure it didn’t happen again and to ultimately turn their business around.
Plus, Tony had been handling the financial overview and day-to-day running of the financial processes. He wanted to spend more time working on the business rather than in it. But for that to happen, they needed clear checks and balances in place and a business that wasn’t reliant on the owners to function.
Although they’d worked with many accountants in the past, they hadn’t received the strategic help and oversight they needed. So, in 2016 they brought nextAdvisory on board and have been working with director, Phil, ever since.
We needed someone who really understood and cared about our business - someone who would take an active involvement rather turn up for the end-of-year wash-up then disappear again. That’s what drew us to nextAdvisory, says Tony.
After getting a clear picture of the history and growth ambitions, Phil started with a full review of the accounts. Then together they began to focus on some key areas that needed immediate attention, including payroll costs and specific expenses, and profit margins.
They increased charge-out rates, put additional layers of checks and balances in place to avoid surprises, planned ahead for cashflow and looked at the impact of certain decisions. They also improved overall business satisfaction so things would run smoothly no matter who was at the wheel.
Having financial - but just as importantly - strategic business advice and support on tap has been a big part of the company’s progress.
Phil came in and had a very strategic look at the financial situation, leading us to where we needed to make changes.
Phil has become an extension of our team. He’s part of our monthly management meetings so has that strategic overview of how things are tracking and can provide guidance on an ongoing basis.
While turnover was high, profit wasn’t. In fact, they were in the red at one point due to several ‘perfect storm’ events – staring down the barrel of a significant loss.
After working through the process with Phil, they managed to turn the business around to meet their new forecasts and are now on track to head back into the green, and future growth is looking up.
They’ve also introduced more checks and balances, have end-to-end visibility of accounts and increased growth margins as well as extra time to work on other areas of the business.
From here, Tony and Kevin will move into the next stage of business growth and continue to build on their progress with Phil by their side.
We now have the security of knowing there’ll be no surprises. It’s comforting knowing we’ll never have that ‘Oh my God, where did that come from’ moment again.
Because lots of the hard work has now been done, it’s more about cementing our practices while continuing to plan for future growth.
- Increased gross profit by 7%.
- Saved 15 hours (owner time) per week.
- Successfully increased charge-out rates.
- Turned loss into profit.
- Improved cashflow.
- Removed reliance on owners for business to function.
For Tony and Kevin, it was all about finding the right accountant and business development advisor. They wanted someone they clicked with, who was down-to-earth, approachable and who cared about the business as much as they did.
In the past they’d never completely understood their financials and even though other accountants did their best to explain things, they were still left wondering.
Run by two high-energy, Kiwi blokes with a passion for helping business owners thrive, nextAdvisory is a qualified chartered accountancy service in Auckland.
But they’re much more than that – they’re straight talking business development experts, business advisors, business coaches and business mentors who take the time to get to know you and your business and provide tailored services that meet your needs.
What’s more, you’ll deal directly with either Phil or Luke throughout the entire process (often over a cheeky beer).
I like the way they know how their clients want to be treated. It’s not just about ‘let’s get as many customers as we can’. It’s about taking the time to care and understand how we operate so they can help us grow.