Q. Briefly share with us an overview of all products and services offered by The Office Team Cleaning and Support Services?
A: The Office Team Cleaning and Support Services is a woman led 100 percent citizen cleaning company that was registered in 2018 and focuses on both commercial and household cleaning services, landscaping and gardening, upholstery cleaning as well as disinfection services, to name a few. The Office Team has offices based in Gaborone and Selebi-Phikwe.
Q: What makes The Office Team Cleaning and Support Services different from other cleaning companies?
A. What makes us different from other cleaning companies is strategy and passion. I believe in colour-coded cleaning, having a feel-at-home relationship with my customers and providing my services to the maximum satisfaction of customers.
Q: Can you briefly tell us about what motivated you to start your own company?
A: I saw a need to have my own business after retrenchment but I did not know what to do, more so that I had a B. Com Banking and Finance degree. My aunt, who has been in the cleaning industry for 10 years, then gave me the idea and I worked on it right away.
Q: Share with us a brief story about your entrepreneurial journey?
A: I’d like to believe I was born an entrepreneur and business leader because when I was younger, I used to play as a career woman with businesses such as salons and having my own thing at mantlwaneng. I sold burnt CDs to my peers at junior secondary school. Right after completing my IGCSE, I sold carrots and tuna sandwiches in front of Spar at the Main Mall. It was for the church and I did it with enthusiasm.
My desire for entrepreneurship became stronger when I joined the corporate world but my salary was not enough. I then joined network marketing to sell and recruit and sold virgin hair to women. I eventually registered my cleaning company and my construction company.
Q: What have been some of the challenges that you have encountered since inception of your company?
A: Penetrating new industries in the presence of already dominating market players is a challenge. You need to prove yourself by building a reputable brand to get customers. And being a woman in business is both a blessing and a curse in the sense that when some people see a woman running a construction company, they tend to belittle her ability to deliver a good service and products or they think there is a man behind her.
Another challenge of being a petite woman like myself in business of customers wanting to take advantage of you by always negotiating for lower prices or making payments late. Employees also take your disciplinary approach lightly. On the positive side, it is a blessing because my government works day and night to empower women in business by giving us opportunities in tendering.
Q: I see that you also have a construction company. Please tell us about it.
A: My construction company, Built Contracting and Associates, came about after reading in the Financial Times about a woman in the United States of renovating JFK International Airport. I was inspired and immediately registered mine. Because I had no experience or knowledge in construction whatsoever, I approached construction companies, one of which gave me a job as a subcontractor to do brickwork at Tlou Safari Lodge in Kasane in 2020.
Q: How do you cope with being a female in a mostly male dominated business environment?
A: How I cope is I told myself there are challenges everywhere – in business, work, relationships and just being alive and there is no running away from them.
Q: How was as your business affected by the COVID -19 pandemic?
A: As for COVID-19, business has been a struggle, especially in construction. The constant lockdowns and looming lockdowns led me to slowing down in construction. As for cleaning, due to a rise in the need for disinfection and hygiene services, a lot of cleaning companies got registered and they brought about stiff competition in terms of providing relatively lower prices to customers, hence dragging the industry down.
Q: How is the future looking like for Cindy Matlapeng and The Office Team Cleaning Services?
A: In the next few years, Cindy Matlapeng will be a seasoned serial entrepreneur who runs The Office Team Cleaning at different locations.