Sudsies Blog

Personify Your Business Through You

Jason with client Robin talking a sudiesIn my career as a small businessman, one of the things I’m most proud of is the brand Sudsies and Rugsies have come to represent. While clean clothes and carpets are valued, at the end of the day, our customers identify most with our can-do attitude and friendly smiles. Our team enlivens those happy faces that swirl around our logos. We truly live like the organization we present.

Think about your favorite brands. Each represents a unique personality, but all have the following in common when connecting with their audiences.

They’re Clear:

It’s important to be both clear and transparent. Be open and honest. Know who you are and keep it concise.

They’re Consistent:

If you exhibit one behavior one day and another the next, people will be left scratching their heads. Yes, change in the form of evolution is important to continue growth and relevancy, but at the core, know who you are. Don’t deviate from your foundational beliefs. That goes for your team too. Fill your team with members who share in your passion – it makes for much more authentic culture. Consistency also applies to the level of service… clients need to feel they can count on you EVERY TIME.

They’re Compelling:

A business provides a product or service… a brand represents the personality that transforms the product or service into an experience. Honor the spirit and spark within you every day; in every connection you make. Think about what drives you and use that to find new ways to reach both loyal and new clients.

Whether you own your own business or are employed by one, YOU ultimately convey what the brand is about. So, live like you are that brand. Remember you inject life into an otherwise inanimate entity. If you apply this approach, I think you’ll find an even greater joy in both your professional and personal lives.

Here’s to a brand new you!


Meet Me at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization

Jason Loeb in a dark suit.Anyone who knows me also knows my two passions: Business and People. That’s why I’m excited to announce my latest role as the incoming President-Elect of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) South Florida Chapter. This global network of influential entrepreneurs has made incredible contributions to both its industries and individuals.

Locally, the chapter membership of 203 personally convenes to share with and thrive from each’s leadership across South Florida. This mutual influence spans to the other 186 chapters within 58 countries, representing a holistic approach to developing an impactful business. EO represents unique vantages and approaches, though is anchored within a foundation of shared core values that enables our continuous connection to one another.

I look forward to sharing my leadership vision for this elite group of South Florida business people with you shortly. You can be assured; however, that it will promote fostering business with the utmost sense of community. In the meantime, my fellow South Florida business owners can find out more information about EO at https://www.eonetwork.org.


Field (trip) of Dreams

How company trips can enhance your business.

Image of street in New York City with 2 taxi cabs waiting for a light to change. Background shows buildings, including a McDonald's sign visible in the distance.

 

I take my business very seriously, but I’m also like a big kid (just ask my wife and two daughters). Having fun is the secret to keeping your energy up. Among the many things I remember fondly growing up was school field trips. They were anchored in education, but the camaraderie of being with classmates made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Why not apply this to work life?

Recently, I assembled seven team members from my dry cleaning and laundry company, Sudsies, and took them on a trip to New York City. The group ranged, spanning all titles and departments. I arranged tours with other dry cleaners to visit their facilities. These tours provided us insight as to how these other top cleaners embody the business, including physical layouts and operational procedures. What was most impactful however, were the pow-wows between our teams, where we garnered best practices by sharing and contrasting experiences. I’ve always said we are in the people business versus the cleaning business, so expanded these meetings with other sectors in the hospitality realm as well.

Speaking of which… in addition to the collaborations with our Big Apple sister cleaners, we secret shopped others in the area to see and understand the process directly from the customer perspective. This not only made us more attuned to our clients’ needs, but in many ways, it reaffirmed that we already have a great (and innate) customer service approach. Nonetheless, the exercise initiated an internal conversation on how we can improve upon our commitment even more.

Up next, we visited our suppliers based in the area. We deal with these contacts on a regular basis, but meeting face-to-face allowed us to deepen the relationship. Both sides were able to first-hand experience the other’s perspective and demands, which in turn enabled us all to better serve one another.

These “field trips” revealed to be an excellent opportunity and can be applied to ANY industry. I’ve always been proud of the strong company culture that each of our businesses keep, and this outside-the-box excursion enhanced it even further. Our team had time to debrief and discuss expectations. It encouraged each member to see the business beyond their own role, with the big picture always in mind. We returned home motivated, with an even stronger appreciation for each other and a renewed self-awareness that together we truly do make a great team… and we’re really proud of what we do.

Safe and productive travels!


It Gets Better

The key to continued improvement.

Ever feel like you’ve plateaued? Anyone whose taken on an exercise regimen most certainly has experienced that frustration at one point or another. It’s inevitable in almost anything we do, and business is no exception. The more we do something, the more adept we become. Sounds great, but here’s the rub: that adeptness leads to increased ease in which we perform that task. And when something is easy, it’s difficult to push ourselves back out to the challenge course.

consistency, persistence, and passion

Then there are those who thrive on the unchartered. These business base jumpers attempt to cover as much ground as they can, though their footprint at each point may be brief and light. There are merits to both, but neither in pure form works in developing a first-rate, sustainable business. So, this fine line needs to be balanced with consistency.

Over the years, I’ve been presented with numerous opportunities. As tempting as each may be, I usually decline. Until I’ve mastered one aspect, I don’t move onto the next. The Sudsies fleet wasn’t sent out overnight… in fact, it was technically five years from the date I opened my first dry cleaning location that I implemented the complementary pick up and deliver service. Why? Because no matter how convenient the service might be, our customers ultimately want their clothes to come back to them pristine and in a timely manner. We had to master our craft in garment care before extending our offerings with added convenience.

With our cleaning knowledge, customer service, and operational logistics down, Rugsies then came to fruition several years later. It wasn’t because I didn’t think about or desire to expand my businesses – it was a calculated decision. In fact, these “rest” periods were actually quite active, as we strived to improve our existing services so that we could effectively pursue and implement the “what’s next.”

Growing your business is a marathon, not a sprint. The training formula: consistency, persistence, and passion. It’s great to think outside the box, but sharpen your saw before sinking your teeth into a new avenue.

I’m proud of all the services Sudsies and Rugsies now has to offer, and I’m excited to announce yet another future venture with you soon. When the right opportunity presents itself, take them, but never forget your core business. More so, keep it a continued focus because that is what attracted your clients to you in the first place and anchored their loyalty. They expect you to continue doing it well, if not better, no matter how many additional services and perks there may be.

In our case, that’s helping you look and feel good via clean clothes and a caring smile.


Kick Butt in Business

Hey, I never condone violence, but there is something to be said about the term metaphorically.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, one needs to be bigger and better. That doesn’t mean you puff your chest out or one-up everyone in conversation… there are quieter ways to show your value.

It’s actually quite simple. If there are two business people with everything else equal,  it’s time and passion that are going to separate the good from the great. Knowledge can be learned, skills can be practiced, foresight comes from experience (sounds counterintuitive, I know). But how is anyone going to acquire the latter three without putting in the time? Furthermore, how can anyone maximize their time without passion? On the flip side, when you have passion for your job, it doesn’t feel like work, therefore you are willing to put in the extra time because it’s actually enjoyable.

When I set out to create a business, dry cleaning was not top of mind… dealing with people was. I wanted to build a career, and a life (hey, work becomes life after awhile), where I could come in everyday and connect with customers and employees. Dry cleaning just happened to be that avenue. Back then, the industry wasn’t known for people-centric demeanor – we can just look at old Seinfeld episodes or comic strips to remind us of that – which is why I saw the opportunity in it. I knew I could offer something different.

More than 25 years later, I hope that when Sudsies and Rugsies come to mind, it’s not clean garments and rugs, but our smiling, caring team…we just happen to be great at cleaning your stuff too. I aim to be the best in the business, not just the dry cleaning business, but any small business, and am willing to put in the time and passion to make that happen.

Kicking butt is more warm and fuzzy than you originally thought, huh?

If you ever have any dry-cleaning questions or have any garments that need special attention or restoration, please do not hesitate to contact me.

At your service,
Jason.


What’s More Positive than a Smile?

When I started Sudsies more than two decades ago, I thought really hard about what type of organization it should be. If my team and I were going to immerse ourselves in the business, it might as well be an environment that we enjoy coming into everyday. Furthermore, in an industry filled with negative connotations, I knew I had to stand out from the rest of the South Florida dry cleaners out there.

Then I thought, what’s more positive than a smile? Bingo, that was my brand.

Image-wise, our focus is pretty evident. We are a luxury dry cleaner, but slick, high-end graphics take a back seat to smiley face themes, bubbly trucks, and playful language.  But it wasn’t just enough to incorporate smiling into our business, we had to make it our business. I’ve discovered that people really don’t really care what you know; it’s how you make them feel. I had faith that we had the finest technology and skilled technicians, but what separates a good business from a great business is going above your core competencies. Thus, along with clean clothes, our mission includes providing our customers and fellow staff free smiles. Some small, but smile-inducing added services we provide include carrying clothes out to our customers’ cars, aiming to complete orders earlier than promised date, and recognizing customers on their birthdays and anniversaries.

Of course, none of this is sustainable without a strong team. One of the things I’m most proud of for Sudsies is the culture we’ve created. We are a family unit. When we hire, we select for attitude over experience. In fact, many of my greatest team members and managers joined Sudsies without any dry cleaning or laundering experience what-so-ever. Yet, I saw their innate enthusiasm, energy, and positivity – I can’t teach that, but I can always train them for skills. Ongoing education and professional development courses not only provide them the skills they need, but also help them discover what aspects of the business they truly enjoy, thus can thrive in. For me, there is no better way to put a smile on someone’s face than giving him/her the opportunity to succeed.

So when you see a Sudsies smile, know what it’s genuinely real. It’s truly our pleasure to serve you..


Letter from Jason Loeb: Sudsies’ Community Commitment

Community CommittedRaised in Miami Beach, I have great affection for this city. It is here where I have my childhood memories, where I met my wife, where our family expanded, and where we are now creating new memories for our own children. This city is also where I decided to plant my professional roots.

What always struck a chord with me in the business world was how a corporation is recognized as a “person.” This definition was founded for a range of legal purposes, but why not expand upon this notion to perform other acts of citizenship? Whether a corporation, S-corp, partnership, etc., all types of companies should consider themselves “people” when considering their contribution to their communities.

It begins with providing the community with what it needs. For it to be independent and flourish, every role needs to be fulfilled. Naturally this demand translates into better business, but continually think of new ways to better and even expand your business. The easiest way to do this?… Talk to your customers. Initiate conversations during the transaction process, provide feedback channels, and develop a relationship where you can understand their point of view. What started as a coin-laundry mat for me nearly three decades ago has evolved into a full-service dry cleaning and laundry operation with an array of specialty services (couture cleaning, restoration, bridal gown preservation, vintage garments to name a few… and I’m seeking to add more). Sudsies most recently appealed to its snow bird clients with cleaning via express mail across the country, so they never had to be without our services.

Beyond providing clients with what they need, focus on doing it well. I want my customers to feel good about their experiences, not only personally, but also business-wise in feeling that the transaction was well-worth their own hard-earned dollars. Smiles are contagious…. quality products and service equates to happy customers – and happy customers equate to a happy community.

Social responsibility is now viewed as standard in defining good companies, so consider expanding your reach beyond your direct clientele. Tying your business capabilities to a cause is an organic way to make a positive impact for those in need. For example, Sudsies accepts clothing donations as part of its pick-up and delivery service, giving the items to the Camillus House for distribution among its families.

As with any family, involvement is crucial. This means putting in the time to learn about the members’ needs, interests, and visions and providing the support to make that happen. I view Miami Beach as my extended family and my experience with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce perhaps taught me the most about the importance of community focus. As businesses, we joined forces and used our individual talents and connections to make things happen for one another, as well as execute massive improvement projects within the city.

My passion for philanthropy and being involved most recently lead to my pursuit and appointment as President of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation. For me, there is no better way to put my business/leadership skills learned over the years to help make a positive impact for others. It’s an honor to help realize state-of-the-art initiatives aimed at caring, healing, and ultimately curing our fellow Miamians.  I urge you to join groups like these that make up the members of the community and use your company platform to make a difference.

With all the qualities above, I’m starting to think a corporation could be a really swell person. Today, we emphasize thinking global when it comes to our companies, as we should, especially if we hope to expand. However, don’t forget the specialness of your own backyard either, for it is these roots that if well maintained will really help you thrive..