Avoid the Winter Blues

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It’s that time of the year again; the days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and the winter blues start kicking in.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in 15 people in the UK experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the sunlight-scarce days of winter. SAD, which is a form of depression that occurs at the same time each year, can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy levels, taking a toll on all aspects of your life including work. And for small business owners, anything affecting your mood can have a knock-on effect on your performance and your business.

Here at Cleanhome, we think it’s important to keep conversations about well-being in the spotlight. Regardless of whether you’re diagnosed with SAD or experience certain symptoms of it, it’s important to put measures into place to keep your good mood topped up during the winter months.

Set small goals

Setting small goals for each day can help you manage stress and boost your productivity. Working towards small achievable goals can help you feel that you’ve accomplished more which will give you a much-needed boost, warding off feelings of stress and worthlessness.

Let there be light

Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows. When sunlight enters the eye, messages are passed to the part of the brain that controls our mood, appetite, temperature and sleep. Light triggers the production of mood-boosting hormones which can help with your SAD symptoms.

Get out of the house

This is particularly important if you’re running your business from home. With the colder temperatures, you may be avoiding going outside which could affect your mood negatively. Try to take a few little breaks in the day to be outside. Soaking up some sunlight and fresh air can help the brain focus, bring a new perspective to your day, and clear the mind so wrap up warm and get out there!

Get social

Participating in social activities is vital in reducing isolation and helping you manage SAD symptoms. During the colder months it may feel more comfortable to retreat into yourself but try to be around other people even if you don’t feel like it as it can help boost your mood. Meet your friends or family more often or perhaps take up a new hobby where you can meet new people.

Eat well

Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, will help you keep your energy up and minimise mood swings.

Staying motivated while running a business during the colder, darker winter months may seem more difficult which is why it’s important to look after yourself and make changes to your lifestyle to help you stay focused and happy.

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Changing your career later on in life

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According to last year’s report from the Women and Equalities Committee more than a million people over 50 are unemployed but want to work. In a recent article in The Telegraph, Professor Heather McGregor, executive dean of Edinburgh Business School, mentioned that despite obstacles such as technology advancements or lack of relevant experience, it is perfectly possible to change career in your fifties. She went on to explain the strengths of the older workforce and how skills can be transferable across industries.

This is something that we are really passionate about as we strongly believe that changing career later on in life can be a great way forward. As you may know, Karen started Cleanhome shortly after turning 50 when she was keen to achieve a better work/life balance. She used the skills she developed over the years by working across various industries to build a business and following the success of the first Cleanhome branch she franchised the business model so others could benefit from it.

If you feel that you’re ready for a change and want to take on a new challenge, there are a few things you should consider. Firstly, it’s really important to keep learning new things and developing new skills. Whether that’s through training or independent learning, you need to keep improving. There is an abundance of resources you can access out there from evening classes to online courses so explore all the different options available to you.

This also the time to make the most of your personal and professional network. One of your biggest advantages is building connections over the years so it’s time to make the most of them. Reach out to people who may be able to help you through introductions or can give you career tips. Even if their industry is not relevant to what you’re aiming for, it might provide you with someone who can act as a sounding board to bounce ideas off. If you are thinking of setting up your own business, talking to other business owners can be particularly helpful.

Starting over in your 50s may seem daunting but it can be a great opportunity to develop yourself and open up an exciting new career path ahead of you. So if you’re open to change, fuel your next move with your passion for knowledge and the rest will follow!

Franchisees Getting Together

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As a franchisor that plays an active role in the network, we’re always available to answer any questions and support our franchisees on a day to day basis, however we think that it’s equally important for franchisees to talk to each other.

You may wonder why franchisees talking to each other is so important when the franchisor is readily available to resolve any issues and answer any questions. After all, franchisees are independent from each other running their own businesses. Why would they need to talk to other franchise owners? We strongly believe the strength of the franchise network can have a major impact on franchisees’ success and the more they are able to chat to each other the better. That’s because on top of the support offered by the franchisor, sometimes franchisees want to talk to someone doing the same thing as them.

Even though most franchisees are at a completely different stage of the franchise life cycle, they can support each other in a different way. They understand what it’s like to run the business on a day to day basis, the go through the same motions and experience the same frustrations. They can relate to each other on an emotional level and sometimes that’s the most important kind of support.

We recently held a franchisee meeting which brought the network together and gave our franchisees the opportunity to get together and share their thoughts and experiences. When planning our network meetings, we always build socialising time into them to ensure franchisees have time to talk to each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Likewise, we also facilitate online communication through an online forum. We encourage any franchisees who join our network to talk to each other, share any thoughts or just use other franchisees as a sounding board.

If you’re looking for a franchise opportunity, look for a franchisor who fosters good relationships among franchisees. While healthy completion is great, steer clear of any franchisor that creates unnecessary rivalry between franchised outlets. Focus on opportunities that will give you the chance to make the most of the network by promoting camaraderie.

Follow and You’ll Succeed

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Franchising is all about investing into a tried and tested business model, a model which will help you see a return on your investment as soon as possible. Sometimes in our industry we see people investing their hard-earned money in a franchise but soon after launching they start to develop their own processes, and move away from the tried and tested methods put in place by the franchisor.

As a franchisee you’re the boss, and you’re responsible for your own turnover and profit. You’re also responsible for hiring and managing any employees you need, and growing your business by finding new customers or clients which, with hard work and enthusiasm will allow you to reap the benefits.

On the other hand, when it comes to selling and marketing the business it’s important to trust the tried and tested systems that your franchisor has put into place.

One of the things we do when we’re talking to potential Cleanhome franchisees is to demonstrate that our business model is a successful one and that franchisees can make a profit if they follow the system. We want to show prospective franchisees that they can save valuable time by using the existing framework. This doesn’t mean that we are resistant to our franchisees’ feedback though. We actively encourage them to share their thoughts with us and we often apply them to the business plan but having an existing marketing strategy just means that we do all the hard work and let them focus on growing their businesses.

So, here are a few things to consider before you join a franchise network:

Remember your ‘why’s’

The key is to remember why you chose your franchisor. What was it that made you invest your money into this specific franchise network and what were you hoping to achieve? Remembering why you trusted the franchisor and their system in the very beginning will help you to remember that you had enough belief in their business proposition to invest money into it.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Running a franchise will challenge you in many ways. You may find yourself outside of your comfort zone which may make you question the systems in place if you don’t see instant results. It may be hard to start with but sticking with it will help you achieve your long term goals.

Get over your fear

One of the biggest challenges is the fear of making mistakes. New franchisees often worry about messing up which can sometimes backfire when it comes to trusting the process.  If you are worried about making mistakes or have any questions, reach out to your franchisor and ask for help. It’s their role to support you and guide you through any problems you may encounter.

Supporting your network

Any business has structure and systems in place and a franchise organisation is no different. You are responsible for the success of your own business, but as part of a franchise you’re also part of a bigger team and everyone in that team plays their part in the success of the business as a whole. By adhering to plans that are already in place you’re helping your fellow franchises and the franchise as a whole to be successful by maintaining the high standards that have been laid out by the franchisor.

Franchising is a great opportunity to make money while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Take advantage of the work that’s already gone into implementing the strategy and rest assured that it’s designed to make your life easier and your business more successful.

Technology and team collaboration go hand in hand

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Collaboration is often the key to success for businesses particularly in the franchise world. Working together can boost innovation and productivity as people work together and combine their individual expertise.

However, the use of technology can get in the way of human interaction.

Technology is essential to any business empowering business networks to get more done in less time. Using technology in the franchise sector to free up time for more collaboration seems like a no-brainer, however, it has to be done right for it to work well. 

A great use of technology in business is reducing the amount spent on admin. We all know about that dark paperwork place full of forms, invoices and contracts. Nobody enjoys doing paperwork and it can actually prove to be a hindrance when it comes to team interaction and collaboration. We spend hours every week on isolating manual processes like spreadsheets and emails and sometimes fail to remember that humans excel making emotional connections and thrive in a collaborative environment where they feel listened to and supported. Although admin is an essential and productive part of our working, the time we spend on it isn’t.

One of the biggest positives of franchising is that you’re part of a bigger network and you can exchange ideas and solve problems by sharing best practise. Adopting tech to help with team collaboration is a really valuable investment for franchise businesses and even though many franchise businesses have been slow to adapt, we are seeing huge benefits from cloud computing. The operational streamlining provided by cloud-based tools as well as efficiencies in training and back-end operations like customer retention and billing, are enhancing collaboration within the network as our franchisees spend less time worrying about invoicing and more time growing the business and sharing best practise within the network.

Technology can also help maintain consistency across the franchise network and inspire innovation. As franchises continue to multiply, knowledge sharing becomes even more vital and technology can provide a sharing platform where users can find documentation, post comments, and ask questions. Setting up a sharing platform can be a vehicle for people to put forward their opinions and allow others to comment and discuss the merits of someone’s ideas.

Finding the right digital systems can empower the network and lead to happier, more productive franchise business owners. It’s about making the most of the technology to benefit the human resources.

 

A warm welcome to our newest franchisee!

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Lisa and Martin Johnstone have just joined the Cleanhome family and will soon be launching the Cheshire South branch. We caught up with Lisa to find out more about their background and why they decided to start their own domestic cleaning business. 

1) What’s your business background? 

My husband Martin worked in the gas and oil industry so we have lived abroad for a number of years, first in Malaysia then in Singapore.

Prior to moving abroad I worked in forensics for West Yorkshire police so neither of us comes from an entrepreneurial background.

2) What made you want to start your own business?

When we returned from Singapore we decided that it was time for a new start and a new adventure so starting our own business from scratch seemed like the perfect option for us.

We researched various franchises but Cleanhome impressed us with their systems and the support they offer their franchisees and Karen’s enthusiasm was infectious.

3) How has your Cleanhome experience been so far?

We are just starting our Cleanhome journey so we’ve been focusing on pre-planning and getting everything ready for kick off but we feel we’ve been really supported in the process and we’re really excited about getting started.

4) What are you looking forward to the most about running your own business?

We’re looking forward to the freedom of growing a business from the very start. It’s a completely new experience for us and an opportunity for us to take on something fresh. With our return to the UK after living abroad for such a long time, it feels like the right time to take on a new challenge.

5) Do you feel that running your own Cleanhome franchise will help you improve your work/life balance?

Absolutely. The past few years have involved a lot of travel for work which has definitely had a significant impact on our work/life balance so we’re really excited that we’re going to be able to work on our own terms and enjoy travelling for fun!

Common Franchise Myths Busted

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Lots of people want to be their own boss, but not everyone wants to create and build a business idea from the ground up. For these individuals, investing in a franchise can be a great route into business ownership.

If you find the right opportunity and go into it with the right mindset, you can very quickly reap the benefits of your work and see a return on your investment. However, given the amount of options out there and the overload of information available both online and offline, aspiring franchisees can become jaded.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about franchising:

Investing into a franchise is really expensive

Although some franchise opportunities can cost a lot to buy and set up, the price of entry can be significantly lower depending on the industry, the business model, the equipment required and the training available. Financial requirements will also vary depending upon whether the franchise is home based or requires you to rent premises.

Think about the long-term investment and explore the financing options available. Most banks will consider lending to a franchise as they consider it a safer route to entrepreneurship.

You have to have experience in running a business

Franchisees come from all walks of life and while some have a level of business experience others have none at all. We’re pleased to say that some of our most successful franchisees haven’t run a business in the past which shows that if you have the right attitude and training you can build a profitable business. The very concept of running a franchise is about following proven systems and processes and being trained to execute them. You just need to embrace the franchisor’s ways of operating and put in the work required.

Franchisors just want your money

You may think that franchisors will take on anyone who wants to join their network but just like you, they want to find the right fit. A good franchisor will be selective and will ensure that any potential franchise owners share their values Franchising means entering into a long-term relationship which is a two-way process.

Invest in a sector you’re passionate about

Passion for the sector will not automatically lead to success. You need to focus on investing in a business that will allow you to earn a living and you will enjoy doing. Think of the bigger picture. Our franchisees are in the domestic cleaning industry but they are not responsible for the cleaning, they are in charge of meeting clients and matching them to the right cleaner. They are passionate about helping people and delivering a high quality service. Investing into a franchise is a major life decision so it’s important to be honest with yourself about whether you will enjoy running both the back-end and the front-end of the business.

Are you really your own boss?

Franchisors provide you with the business model and the systems you need to set up your business but you are the one who is running and growing the business. You will need to follow systems designed by the franchisor but day-to-day decisions lay with you and ultimately, so does the success of your business.