Diana Rodriguez-Zaba has been with ServiceMaster Restore® for 16 years and has built a successful family business with two locations in the Chicago area and one in the suburbs. For Diana, building up a strong team and seeing them be happy and thriving is the key to her business’s success.
Aside from being a leader in the restoration industry, Diana is very involved in helping women build their businesses and helping provide them with the tools or the mentoring that they need.
“I feel that, as a woman who has been successful, I have to pay it forward. We are still the least paid and the least acknowledged but there are a lot of women out there who are fearless and they’re making their moves. I feel like it’s our responsibility to help them. Out of 50 women that you talk to, you might impact one, but it’s going to be a big impact in their lives. It’s important to just find the time, to maybe have a conversation or go out to lunch – you don’t have to join every board or committee out there. Helping other women is what unites us and what’s going to make us stronger for the future.”
For Women’s History Month, we asked Diana for her perspective on being an entrepreneur, a leader and what’s next for her as a ServiceMaster Restore® #EverydayHero.
What’s the best career advice you’ve been given?
One piece of advice that really has made a difference is to know the worth of your services and price it accordingly. Don’t follow the crowd and give out discounts just because everyone else is doing it. Know the worth of your services and make sure that you charge accordingly because time is money. When I started standing up for my business and didn’t worry about what the competition charged, I started seeing a difference in our bottom-line. Another piece of advice is not to worry about things so much. Everything will fall into place one way or another – things figure themselves out.
What advice do you have for women looking to grow their own business?
As a woman we tend to get so involved in our businesses that we leave ourselves for later and our health suffers. So, my advice is to make sure that you’re always mentally prepared for anything and always put your health first.
Then, build a team and start delegating. You need a good team to run more efficiently. By delegating, you can focus on a different side of the business that will allow you to grow more. In my experience, building a team of women has been the key to our success. Our team has incredibly valuable skills: they’re patient; they’re able to multitask & prioritize; and they are great at managing our field team.
What do you wish more people knew about being a woman in business?
I wish more people knew the power of our determination, loyalty, and passion. We are very determined to get things done and we’re perfectionists, so we want to make sure things get done efficiently and near perfection even if we know things are never going to be perfect. We also bring different perspectives and attributes to situations. Whether it’s a negotiation, dealing with customers or operations, our different perspectives can bring balance and alternate ideas of handling the situation. The passion that we have for our job is evident in remembering the small details, balancing family and work, and having a good line of communication. These characteristics are great for building a team.
What’s an accomplishment that makes you especially proud?
I’m really proud of the team that I have built. Having your own business is not easy and achieving the goals we’ve set out is hard to accomplish without a good team. The only way we’re able to succeed is having a team that shares the same vision as you. My husband and I work together, and it’s hard not to butt heads, so our team is really the key in helping us work together smoothly.
As an owner you don’t always have the answers, and sometimes you’re just winging it and you don’t know if you’re making the right choice or not. For example, two weeks after the pandemic hit, we purchased a 30,000 square foot facility. This was a scary moment for our business. We didn’t know how we were going pull off the move. However, our team members worked hard, collaborated and got along so well that we were able to successfully move into our new home. This moment made me feel so accomplished.
There are a lot of other factors, but the main thing that keeps us going, helps us grow and generates revenue is our team.
What is your big goal for your business?
We want to open at least two more satellite offices, hire more staff, and ultimately, I want to retire. But the biggest goal my husband and I have is to leave a footprint. So it’s not just hiring people and growing the business, but it’s making a difference in people’s lives.
We have an act of kindness policy in the office. We encourage our team members to do nice things for our customers. We want the people that leave our office, to say, “Hey, thanks to you, I was able to buy my house.” We make it a point that if we help our customers, we have to help our team members reach their career and personal goals too. Whether it’s buying a car, a house, putting your kids through school or sports – whatever it is – let’s figure out those plans together.