Brian McCann: Mission Maids Is a Home Cleaning Service Based in Calgary, Alberta

August 7, 2022

Mission Maids is a home cleaning service based in Calgary, Alberta.

Our primary values as a company are:

Honesty/Trust – We believe that trust is a fundamental building block to all human relationships, whether business or personal. To build trust we must be honest, forthright and transparent in all our dealings. This is a 360-degree value, in that, Mission Maids customers, colleagues, and management must be able to trust one another for our business to continue to exist and thrive. A 360-degree value is a value we expect all of our stakeholders to uphold.

Respect – Respect is another one of our 360-degree values. For us, respect is displaying deliberate and earnest regard or consideration for one’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs and work. Respect is another one of those things that you absolutely need to have in relationships if they are to work out long-term.

Dignity – To be dignified is to feel that you’re honoured, valued, and respected. When people feel they can maintain their dignity when they show up to work and be valued for their contributions, they are much more likely to put out a strong effort.

Fairness – Fairness is the ability to provide due consideration for people based on their unique circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses and to make thoughtful decisions based on that knowledge. We always aim to treat our customers and employees fairly. I believe that if you deal with others in good faith and with fairness, they are far more likely to extend you the same courtesy.

Excellence – Excellence is the habit of setting goals, trying to achieve them and putting in the effort to perform at the peak of your abilities. What’s most important to us is the constant and perpetual desire to improve – even just a little bit – each day. If we are constantly focused on improving just a little bit each day, over a long enough time horizon, we can improve so much and achieve truly incredible things.

Professionalism – Professionalism is the ability to show up to work every day and to perform your roles and responsibilities competently with very little performance variation, regardless of how you feel that day. Professionalism dovetails nicely with maturity because both require emotional intelligence and the willingness to take responsibility for ourselves and our work. It’s always a pleasure to deal with a professional but dealing with an unprofessional worker as a customer can maddening.

These values are something we expect all of our people to exhibit and are something that we now screen for in all of our job candidates. We believe if we carry these values with us in our work, we are far more likely to have people that enjoy working for us and customers that enjoy working with us.

Our primary mission is to help busy homeowners get clean homes so they can spend less time cleaning and spend more time doing the things they like with the people they love.

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Brian McCann. I am the proud co-owner of Mission Maids with my business partner Samie Ambroise. Samie and I both went to university together and eventually worked for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) together.

In contrast to the established structure, battle-tested processes, and time-honoured traditions of the military, both Samie and I wanted to try something that would allow us to build something of our own without the guardrails of a large, established institution.

From the very beginning, it was clear to both Samie and I that we wanted to build something that would benefit our customers, our workers, and of course ourselves.

We really wanted our business to be a force for good in the lives of our people and their families. It just so happens that a cleaning company is the vehicle we chose to deliver it with.

That desire still guides our trajectory and the policies we create for our business.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Don’t panic, haha. I’m being a little bit facetious here. Two years ago the Coronavirus pandemic had just begun and we really had no idea what we were in for. Like many businesses at that time, our market did contract quite a bit.

The anxiety and fear we had of the unknown at that time were palpable for both Samie and I. But, we survived.

It’s appropriate advice for business and life as there will always be unexpected challenges to deal with. You just have to focus on what you can control and do your best to make the best of a bad situation.

If we’re not considering that once-in-a-generation type event, I would tell myself to trust in myself more and that it’s ok not to have it all figured out.

I was always the wantrepreneur instead of the entrepreneur because I felt like I needed to know everything about what I was going to face before I tried it. But that’s practically impossible. And that’s why I sat on the sidelines for so long.

I lacked the confidence to start and felt that I needed to be much further ahead in terms of knowledge and skills to start a business. But, that’s just simply not true. You just need to know enough to get started.

You need to know what the next step is. Then the next. And the next again. Most small businesses, especially local small businesses, don’t need to overthink the early stages. Just do it, as one of my favourite brands would say.

What problem does your business solve?

Most of our customers are super busy. They are raising families, they have commitments to their partners, and many of the households we serve have two working adults with children and pets in the home.

Between going to work, taking the kids to basketball practice, and making food for the family, many of our customers just don’t have a lot of time left in the day. But the housework still piles up and it’s very easy for busy households to get behind.

And when they do fall behind, one or more of the adults in the home often feel like they’re failing their families, which often causes feelings of stress, guilt, or shame. But it’s not their fault. It’s incredibly hard to stay on top of all our responsibilities in life if we don’t have some outside help.

Anyway, that’s often when customers come to us for help. We give our customers reliably-clean homes so that they can drop the stress, guilt, and shame feelings and just enjoy more of life. We make booking a cleaner online a quick and easy process.

We provide a consistent, reliable service that our customers can trust. We offer our customers phone, email, and chat support so that our customers always have the help they need when they need it.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The major inspiration for us starting a business was that we wanted to build something ourselves that could serve others beyond just ourselves.

When it comes to a cleaning company specifically, Samie’s grandmother was a cleaner in her home country of Haiti and worked as a cleaner after immigrating to Canada.

I think Samie saw all the hard cleaning work that her grandmother did cleaning for her family and admired her for it. As her grandmother got older, she couldn’t clean like she used to because it became too physically exhausting.

So Samie would help her grandmother clean as much as possible but eventually, Samie just didn’t have the time to help out. So they turned to some cleaning companies but had several bad experiences.

Samie and I felt that together we could offer a really great experience for homeowners like Samie’s grandmother and other busy families. This was part of the inspiration for us starting a cleaning company.

What is your magic sauce?

Hmmm. Well, gravy is the closest thing to a magic sauce that I can think of. But I know this is about my business, not my favourite condiment.

I’m interpreting magic sauce as something special that makes a business work really well. In that sense, the magic sauce will continue to develop as we grow as a company.

But, based on where we are today, I would say our magic sauce is simply people and processes. We try to find good people with great character and give them the tools, resources, and procedures to be at their best.

If we do this consistently, I believe we can build upon our foundations, grow something special, and make magic where there was none.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We’ll continue to add more great people to our growing business, both customers and employees. We’ll probably add more to our service repertoire. And besides striving for strong financials and service quality metrics, I think we want to get involved with other businesses in our community and develop some community projects when the time is right.

As I mentioned before, when we started this business, we wanted to build something that would benefit people. Although we are just a cleaning company, our vision was always broader than just helping people with clean homes and offering our workers good compensation and a nice place to work.

Those things are great and will remain of fundamental importance to our business. But we also want to make an impact – even a small one – on our broader community. Getting involved with other local businesses and community projects will be an important part of that.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest specific challenge we’ve faced and overcome so far was the Coronavirus pandemic. The cleaning market shrunk and with fewer customers in the market and fewer workers willing to work in those conditions, we had legitimate concerns about what to do.

But we came up with a strategy to serve a new market still in need of cleaning services over the pandemic. We weren’t perfectly set up for the new approach but it held us over until the market bounced back.

The biggest challenge overall, though, is people. People can be a serious challenge. But people are also going to be the source of your biggest wins.

Business is a team sport, and you need other people to win. Business, as with team sports, comes with the challenge of trying to get everyone to pull in the same direction for the benefit of the team. As long as you have a business that relies on people, then those people you rely on will, at one time or another, present you with challenges.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

I think before we try to get people to buy into our vision we first try to understand their vision, so to speak. For example, we try to learn what they want for their life. Once we understand their needs we can offer them a vision of how they can possibly achieve their goals with us.

After we’ve listened to their needs and shown how we can help them, we try to get them to buy into us as leaders. We want them to know that we care about their personal and professional success, as well as their quality of life.

If they know we care about them, it will be much easier for them to trust us to do right by them and trust us – if we perform well as leaders – to take the company where it needs to go.

Once someone feels that you listen to them, care about their well-being, and they believe in your ability as a manager or leader, I think they are far more likely to buy into your vision. At that point, if you present your vision with some genuine enthusiasm and conviction, I believe people will be much more willing to follow you.

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