Industry recognition has proved a huge boon to Adelaide Green Clean (AGC), the sustainable cleaning and waste management company named the 2016 Telstra South Australian Business of the Year. AGC founder and CEO Jordan Walsh credits the win with fast-tracking a merger negotiation, which in turn “brought business growth forward by at least five years”.
Walsh founded AGC in June 2013, after identifying a gap in the market for sustainable cleaning and waste management services in the events and the hospitality industry. Drawing on his education in environmental law, his passion for business and his experience cleaning offices throughout high school and university, Walsh said AGC gained the traction required to attract business from large commercial venues including stadiums.
He spoke to Dynamic Business about the benefits AGC derived simply by entering the Telstra Business Awards and the negotiating muscle the business gained by taking home the major award in his state.
Dynamic Business: What factors resulted in AGC being named SA Business of the Year in 2016?
Walsh: A number of factors led to AGC winning the 2016 Telstra South Australian Business of the Year. As it was judged by an independent panel, the best way for me to answer this is to quote previous Awards ambassador, Andy Ellis, who said AGC demonstrated strong financial management and performance:
“They have good depth and breadth of systems and processes and leverage technology for productivity gains. Also, importantly, they’ve demonstrated an outstanding culture and leadership of the business.”
Dynamic Business: Did the rigorous awards entry process produce valuable insights about AGC?
Walsh: It sure did! It presented me with a chance to step away from the business, analyse how far we’d come, where we were and where we were going – and then prepare a plan of action. Some of the most valuable insights were revealed through the Business Health Check, which saw industry experts provided us with comprehensive feedback about AGC based on information we provided in our entry form.
A lot of other valuable insights were gained during the judging process, where I entrants had to answer questions they probably haven’t thought about before. Having someone ask you these questions gives you no choice but to think through how you did something or where you are going.
Dynamic Business: How did winning the award help fast-track a merger negotiation for AGC?
Walsh: The biggest reason was that the other parties to the merger, Jon Gilbert and Tony Aykroyd, directors of Adams Cleaning and Maintenance Services, suddenly found themselves negotiating with the Telstra SA Business of the Year. The deal was close to being completed but this immediately alleviated any concerns they may have had with doing a big deal with a relatively new business to the industry and proved to them that we were an ethical, innovative and proactive business. It also proved that what we had said about the business was true as it had been validated by an independent third party. In addition to this, the publicity did help as well as all of sudden they were merging with a business that was in the spotlight. Both of these factors helped but it was the validation of the business model that really put the negotiation further forward.
In terms of the actual merger, AGC merged with Adams Cleaning and Maintenance Services. We continue to operate the businesses under separate brands but have merged the back-end and I am now Group Managing Director. Both businesses are in completely different markets – Adams CMS is a 30-year-old business that operates in the large commercial cleaning sector (Government, Corporate, Education etc) and AGC is a new business that provides cleaning and waste management to events, stadiums and venues. The merger has been very successful for both companies and we have a lot of exciting growth opportunity for both businesses over the next 24 months
Dynamic Business: What did you hope to get out of the Telstra Business Awards when you entered?
Walsh: When we first entered the Awards we wanted to go through the experience and the process that everyone talks about. We have gotten so much more from the Awards than I thought possible. The Awards have been instrumental in our success as a business and I urge anyone who is thinking about entering to just do it!
[Entries are now open for the 25th annual Telstra Business Awards. For more information, visit: https://www.telstrabusinessawards.com/nominate/ ]