Helen De Frenza | Cleaning up the competition with a focus on excellence

Helen De Frenza’s passion for starting her business, Finest Touch Cleaning, and her subsequent business journey may resonate strongly with other entrepreneurs.

Having experienced her parents’ financial struggles as new migrants to Australia, Helen was keen to secure her family’s future. In 2008, she set about building a successful commercial cleaning business that is going from strength to strength.

Helen established Finest Touch Cleaning just as her children started primary school. Her long held desire to lead, coupled with a steely determination, has seen Helen’s business grow from a startup to a successful industrial cleaning company that services hospitals and blue chip construction companies across Sydney.

Her decision to walk away from an office-based job and start a business was questioned by some who couldn’t understand why she wanted to “clean other people’s bathrooms”.

Yet, the clear vision in her mind was something she set about making a reality. “To start off, I went to Fair Trading, got the uniform, flyers and business cards, whacked them all on the table, and asked my husband whether he was going to congratulate me for starting a business,” Helen laughs.

Helen’s first client was sourced through one of her brother’s clients and involved cleaning a shop fit-out.  Even though she completed this mammoth task on her own, her reputation soon spread, which enabled her to secure regular clients and increase her team.

While she did initially offer domestic cleaning services, she was also determined to build her business focusing on commercial cleaning because of the consistency through regular contracts.

As her business grew, Helen recognised that while she knew to be the best cleaner, she needed assistance planning and implementing the growth of her business, noting, “I didn’t have the business knowledge to get to the level I wanted to be because gut instinct just isn’t enough.”

For the past year and a half, Helen has worked with business advisor, or in her words “a God-sent angel”, Katherine Blizard. She believes that Katherine’s genuine passion and excitement in sharing her challenges and wins is something that has given her the confidence to succeed.

“Katherine has never made me feel like I am asking a silly question, she has helped me sort out the legal side of the business, establish systems for better management and so much more. In the time I have been working with Katherine I have locked in two big contracts. I wish I had met her a long time ago,” Helen said.

Commercial cleaning is a competitive game but Helen’s attention to detail and high standards have seen her approached by other cleaning companies and clients. While larger companies may have been in the game a lot longer, she also believes that her focus on developing strong and trusted client relationships is also crucial, noting that “it doesn’t matter how big your company is, you have to make people feel special”.

With low staff turnover, Helen’s happy and motivated team of 13 also provide a consistent approach that is very appealing to clients. The business has subsequently grown through word of mouth and referrals.

Future growth strategies for the business include ISO accreditation (a global certification that demonstrates that a product or service meets the expectations of customers) and applying for Government tenders.

Helen’s top tips for business include:

  • You need to understand all areas of your business so that you can effectively manage it as it grows.
  • Don’t be afraid or ashamed about what other people think about your business dream, just get on with doing it.
  • Reach out to an advisor at Realise Business because they will help you put in place strategies for growth and support you through all stages of your business.
  • Develop procedure manuals, protocols and codes of conduct in written form to ensure that your clients get the best of care.
  • Train your staff to ensure consistency across your brand.
  • When your business grows and you outsource you still need to make sure you are across all aspects of your business.

Helen is focused on the future growth of the business and believes that her entrepreneurial spirit is already rubbing off on her family and young children who have had their eyes opened to what’s possible when you set about achieving your dreams.

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