Diane considers HEF to be a much-needed small business resource, in addition to a hidden gem that needs to be exposed to entrepreneurs for business assistance.
After being unemployed from IBM, former software engineer, Diane Moore, opened CleanWork Solutions in 2016 to venture into the billion-dollar commercial cleaning service industry. Determined to take ownership of her financial freedom, she strategically positioned her business for growth in the commercial cleaners’ industry during the Coronavirus pandemic. CleanWork Solutions LLC is a minority and woman-owned/certified business (MWBE) which provides office cleaning, floor treatment, carpet cleaning, and window cleaning services.
According to The Washington Post, “The number of working African American business owners in the United States plummeted more than 40 percent as the coronavirus shut down much of the economy” (Knowles 2020). However, Diane has been able to maintain her clients. She attributes her success to strategic business planning, and proactive customer service tactics. She assisted her clients with the creation of cleaning plans, which were necessary during NYC’s shut down phase. Additionally, she also offered her clients a reopening package after the city was removed from the quarantine.
While several household cleaning services lost significant revenue due to the pandemic, CleanWork Solutions client diversification strategy helped the company maintain resiliency and profitability. This is because most of its clients operate essential offices that include adoption agencies, medical offices, co-working spaces, and a medical bus company.
Diane stressed the importance of knowing what financial resources are available to persevere through major challenges. She stated, “Small business owners will find it extremely difficult to remain profitable during unprecedented times.”
After recognizing the need for financing to secure additional commercial contracts to expand her business, Diane visited Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF). HEF was the first Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provided her with the necessary funds to grow her business, which she used to purchase equipment and hire additional staff. As a result, her team increased from six to twenty employees. Diane considers HEF to be a much-needed small business resource, in addition to a hidden gem that needs to be exposed to entrepreneurs for business assistance.
Since inception, CleanWork Solutions has reached almost $1 million in revenue through Diane’s strategic business planning and financial investment in her staff. Diane and HEF truly believe the key to business success is a strong business community. Critical components needed to succeed during tumultuous times are financing and business resources. Many small business owners in underserved markets were unable to receive approval for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program due to a lack of previous relationships with banks and proper business documentation. HEF prides itself on its relationship with the small business community in Harlem as we seek to stimulate our local economy and help Diane’s story become the universal story of Harlem’s small businesses.