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In 2001, Steven Harper made the decision to leave the corporate world after working for several fortune 500 companies. He chose to start his own commercial cleaning company, Spectrum Building Services of America. His goal was to build a company where he could leave his mark, instill his core values, and achieve personal and professional balance. While working in the corporate world, he endured 60 to 70-hour work weeks and did not take a vacation for 10 years. He realized that to achieve his goals, he needed to grow not only as a leader but also by acquiring new customers and providing career opportunities for employees. Recognizing that flexibility was crucial, he understood that he had to spend his time working on the business, not just in the business. 

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Episode Summary

Steven credits his employees, continual growth as a leader, and flexibility for the company’s continual growth. In 2023, he realized they needed to spend time focusing on their branding effort. The epiphany he had was understanding his company’s “why.” His realization was that companies don’t buy from customers because they do a good job, they buy from them because they buy into why they’re doing what they’re doing. They bought into their “why.” From this, his company was able to create their mission. One of the biggest takeaways was being able to attract the right customers through digital marketing and account-based marketing. But most importantly, they want to align themselves with companies that share their values. The mission they came up with is “to be caretakers and stewards, restoring and enriching spaces so businesses can thrive.” 

In this episode, steven also emphasizes that organizations need to understand their worth in contracts, and you don’t have to take on every contract that comes your way. He suggests looking at how important it is to align contracts with company values. Steven says, “It’s funny; customers actually tell you the red flags.” 

About Our Guest(s):

Steven Harper

Steven Harper

President/CEO of Spectrum Building Services of America

For the past 22 years, Steven Harper has served as the President/CEO of Spectrum Building Services of America, a company he founded after leaving corporate America in 2001. Prior to establishing Spectrum, he had an extensive corporate background, holding several executive-level positions in Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, FedEx, Capital One, Boeing, and Gateway Computers. His areas of expertise and leadership include Strategic Planning, Operational Planning, Finance, and Managing Operations.  

His formal education includes an MBA in Finance from UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from California State University at Long Beach.  

He created Spectrum because he aimed to build a company that could leverage the best of what he learned while working at some of the world’s leading companies. His goal was to apply that knowledge and experience in an entrepreneurial environment, making a difference in the lives of his employees by creating a great workplace. Simultaneously, he aimed to deliver superior, reliable, and trusted service to customers who valued that difference.

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