By Ahren von Schnell | Photos by Jessica McCafferty
For the modern young professional, personal success is often a balancing act. Most observers recognize that a commitment to one’s craft, and the knowledge and skill to practice it, are critical elements needed to achieve in one’s discipline. Beyond that, and less conspicuous, other factors conspire to make the difference between success and failure. These often encompass the ability to network with members of the community, cultivating, strengthening and applying strong interpersonal skills and a dedication to lifelong learning and personal growth. And, far less glamorous, but no less essential, are the daily, mundane demands that are attendant with operating a business or organization.
Spar-Kil-Kleen, operated by husband and wife team Zach and Katie Hoyt, set the paradigm when it comes to the decisive way in which partnerships can help to fuel the success of an enterprise by leveraging the unique strengths each person brings to the table. The company, which serves the greater North Country region, provides a variety of cleaning services for businesses, organizations and private residences. Founded by Zach Hoyt in 2010, the business began as a detailing service that initially was a side operation. It soon capitalized on its success by expanding its services to include exterior cleanings and residential planning.
As Spar-Kil-Kleen grew, it became clear to the Hoyts that despite the meticulous approach they brought to their projects, there were simply some things that were beyond the scope of a mere cleaning. That insight allowed them to identify opportunity from a need and inspired them to pursue a holistic approach by offering more intensive solutions for facilities management. As part of a new business they founded, Unified Facility Management, their services are meant to address a broader spectrum of maintenance issues that arise, generally through long-term wear and tear. Solutions provided might include painting, tile replacement or carpet upgrades.
With seventeen employees, most of whom have been with the business for quite some time, Spar-Kil-Kleen has a team with a broad reach and an abundance of experience. Many of their most successful staff members have been shaped by the core values that define the company. Zach summarized this as, “Does someone have the integrity to do it right when no one’s looking? That’s the biggest thing. You can’t cut corners – you have to clean them!” He added that the ability to be receptive to constructive criticism, have flexibility, learn new skills, and have fun are all qualities which will get an employee far in the cleaning sector.
This dedication to excellence has helped Spar-Kil-Kleen keep marketing costs down, as their reputation precedes them. Much of their new business comes from the referrals of satisfied clients.
The Hoyts also recognize the prime importance of networking when developing a thriving business. They are active members of the Noon Rotary Club, as well as Adirondack Young Professionals. Both have served on the board of the latter at one time. They also recognize that social networking can augment more traditional methods, and hope to expand their digital exposure in the future. As their business has become increasingly successful, and greater demands are made on their schedules, a social media presence becomes more appealing.
But commitment to one’s craft isn’t all roses. Every business will eventually encounter challenges, and the Hoyts are no exception. They note that, although they prefer to view challenges as opportunities, occasions often demand a certain measure of finesse. It’s important to make sure they are providing their clients with the most accurate and helpful guidance possible, while simultaneously being committed to the client being the ultimate decision maker for the project. Another crucial element to their success is the ability and willingness to navigate the communication channels of client organizations, which can at times be Byzantine.
On balance the Hoyts have found great fulfillment through the work they do. Katie observed that she particularly enjoys the networking aspects of operating a business and the opportunities to engage with a variety of people daily. “All of the networking groups that we are part of and the people that we have met through those groups, I would have never met if I wasn’t in the position that I’m in now.”
Zach added that giving back to the community is another rewarding aspect of managing a successful business. Since becoming an entrepreneur, he’s gained a deep appreciation for the importance of local job creation. He notes that the sense of responsibility he has for his employees’ livelihoods is a powerful motivator to succeed.
The Hoyts have developed an effective model for future entrepreneurs. When asked to identify the most important personal qualities or practices that have brought them this far, they were quick to emphasize several. “I would have to say honesty and communication. I would say communication is key to our customers. We can’t fix something if we don’t know about it. Also, accountability and respect go hand in hand for me,” remarked Katie.
Zach added that he finds their success has been fueled by “Hungry. Humble. Smart.” He views necessity as the mother of motivation, humility as a teacher that helps one to be receptive to new ideas and methods and acquisition and novel application of new skills to be foundational to personal achievement.
With dedication and insights like those, it’s not hard to see how Katie and Zach Hoyt have made Spar-Kil-Kleen a stellar success and why they are rising stars among the constellation of businesses in the North Country.