Mark Ward would be lost without his day planner.
Deprived of the familiar binder carried by business professionals everywhere, Ward might forget a meeting with a client of his New Look Services, a janitorial service. Or he might not remember that he interns at the Joe Cannon for Senate office each afternoon. Without marking his calendar, he might stand up a date for the prom. He might forget to go to school.Ward isn't forgetful. He just has a lot of things going for an 18-year-old.
One of his endeavors, the janitorial business, recently earned Ward a four-year $20,000 tuition scholarship at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I. He was the first runner-up in the Entrepreneur of the Year contest sponsored by the private university.
Ward, a senior at Timpview High School, started New Look Services about 18 months ago because he thought he could provide cheaper and better cleaning service than existing companies.
While working at Preferred Family Clinic in Provo, Ward received an assignment to find a janitorial service for the expanding clinic. He collected several bids and the variation in price surprised him. All of them were higher than he'd expected.
"My curiosity was aroused, and I decided to find out how much it would really cost to provide janitorial services and still be profitable," Ward said.
After running his own cost analysis, Ward figured he could run his own successful business. Preferred Family Clinic was his first client.
At first, Ward did the janitorial work himself. Then he read "The E Myth" by Michael E. Gerber and learned that for a business to grow, the owner must work on it rather than in it. He immediately hired his younger brother, Travis. Ward now employs five high school students.
People don't think janitorial companies are very profitable, but Ward said he knows otherwise. He nets about $350 a month from four cleaning contracts.
The money, however, isn't Ward's only benefit.
"The main thing I learned was to discipline myself. To be successful, you have to gain experience and discipline yourself," he said.
Ward says he has missed out on some high school events and even gave up baseball to concentrate on his business. He constantly has to balance his social life with his work. Sometimes Ward finds himself cleaning an office after a Friday night date.
Even so, Ward says it's worth it. The experience will pay off in the future, he said.