How a Verizon Grant Helped This Small Business Find New Clients
What does it take to grow a company from one client to 100? For Joe Alvarez and Erick Casillas, founders of iCareClean in Montebello, CA, the answer was a lot of hard work—and a little help from free Verizon courses.
When Alvarez and Casillas launched their commercial cleaning service in 2016, the two friends—who’ve known each other since high school—made a wish into a reality. “It was always a dream of ours to start our own company,” says Casillas.
The entrepreneurs were accustomed to old-fashioned marketing techniques that worked for them at first. They knocked on doors and relied on word-of-mouth referrals to build up their client base. But when the pandemic hit, their marketing plan floundered. “We had to change our way of thinking,” Alvarez says.
By taking free online courses with Verizon Small Business Digital Ready, Alvarez learned new ways to market the business digitally, with targeted, location-based strategies for online ads. “I started doing things outside of my comfort zone,” he says. Alvarez used tools such as virtual business addresses, setting up accounts that helped the business grow throughout Los Angeles. He also changed the social media strategy to promote the duo’s work in the film and TV industry, which kept jobs flowing in.
The entrepreneurs made use of a $10,000 Verizon Small Business grant to further those marketing goals, as well as to fund new equipment and employee payroll.
Six years after launching with a single customer, iCareClean is billing over $3 million a year. And on a personal note, Alvarez recently purchased his first home.
“There’s no blueprint or map that tells you how to run your business,” says Alvarez, who is proud to see his business thrive.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is a free online curriculum designed to help small businesses succeed in today’s digital world—moving the world forward for all. To sign up, visit verizon.com/smallbusinessdigitalready