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.

 

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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.

 

Making the Most of Your Network

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Make the most of your network

Apart from inheriting a tried and tested business model, one of the great things about joining a franchise is becoming part of a network that consists of like-minded entrepreneurs who want to succeed. Therefore, it’s important to make the most of your network and the support it offers.

Keep an open mind

Usually, a franchise network consists of people with diverse backgrounds who share different experiences. Being part of a team which boasts different personalities and has different pools of knowledge can help you grow both personally and professionally. Taking part in conversations both online and offline with other business owners in your franchise network can help you learn more and helps you to remain open-minded about new ideas and ways of working.

Share your vision

Franchising is all about collaboration so do share your vision for your business with your franchise network. Communicating where you want your business to be in the next few years not only means that you will receive encouragement from other like-minded individuals, it will also provide you with invaluable insights as some of them may have already been in your position. It’s also helpful to have people to hold you accountable. If you share your vision with others they’ll be interested in your progress and discussing how you’re getting on, making you more likely to achieve your aims.

Share tips of best practise

When it comes to recruiting, steering the business and making management and personnel decisions, your franchisor will provide guidance and support along the way. However, being surrounded by other business owners who are on the same page as you or have already made those decisions can provide an alternative insight into best practice.

Emotional support

Running a business can sometimes be a roller-coaster of emotions, so good and regular communication with your fellow franchisees can prove invaluable. Everyone has days when they feel like giving up, it’s perfectly normal. Having a support network at hand with people who understand the emotions you are going through can be really helpful.

Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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January is the month of New Year’s resolutions which can range from eating more healthily to changing career or having a better work/life balance.

Regardless of whether your goal is personal or professional, creating new habits that will help you achieve it will take time and energy. It’s hardly surprising that come Spring most people have abandoned their resolutions and have reverted to their old ways. If you want 2019 to be your year, these tips will make your New Year’s resolutions stick.

Know your ‘why’

The ‘why’s’ are the reasons for making your resolutions in the first place so they are what should help you keep going even when the road gets bumpy. When you’re considering a change, take time to think it through and think about why you want to commit to it and how it will change your day to day life for the better. Make this the foundation of your new behaviour and always refer back to it when you’re feeling overwhelmed or toying with the idea of giving up.

Keep a checklist

Make yourself accountable by breaking down the steps you need to take to achieve your goal and keeping a list of them. When it comes to the steps acknowledge that even the smallest step forward is bringing you closer to what you set out to do. Don’t think that the easy steps are a waste of time, instead see them as contributing to the bigger picture so they are just as worthwhile as the more challenging tasks.

Share your journey

Boost your confidence and motivation by sharing your small successes along the way with other people. You don’t have to wait until you have achieved your goal to give yourself a medal and shout about it from the roof tops. Encourage yourself to keep at it by pausing to acknowledge success as you tick off small and big steps en route to a goal and celebrate those milestones with those who care about you.

Use incentives

People who use incentives and reward themselves along the way are more likely to enjoy the process of working towards their goals than those who don’t. If for example your resolution is to be more active during your workday instead of being sat on your desk all day long then set a goal of how many times a day you want to get up for a short walk or some light stretching. Find a reward system that works for you, whether it’s putting a set amount of money away for a treat at the end of the month or booking a relaxing massage. Whatever works for you.

Use failure to your advantage

You may think failing along the way is a major setback but if you approach it and deal with negative emotions with the right mindset, you will be more likely to learn from your mistakes and bounce back. Examine why you failed and what could you have done to avoid it, this will teach you a lesson about the future and will help you steer clear of making the same mistake twice. Use your frustration to give yourself a second chance and use it as fuel for your persistence.

In the words of Winston Churchill, Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

 

 

Highlights from 2018!

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We’re delighted to announce that this year we had the highest turnover in the history of the company. We couldn’t have done this without the hard work of our franchisees who continue to thrive and run successful businesses which allow them to work flexibly from anywhere and, at the same time, have more quality time for themselves.

Excellent customer service

Over the past year our client base grew to 3,500 across our nationwide franchised outlets. 7,000 hours of cleaning were delivered every week which amounts to £5m worth of cleaning among our franchisees.

As we continue to grow, we will maintain our high standards and personal customer service which is what has been such an important factor in our success. We know that letting a stranger into your home is a leap of faith so our franchisees spend time finding the right cleaner for each client who understands their needs.

Meetings with our franchisees

Ongoing support and training are just two of the reasons that people choose to become franchisees instead of setting out on their own so we invest time into meeting face to face with our franchisees regularly.

These meetings allow us to interact with our franchisees on a personal level and drive collaboration within the network, both of which are a vital part of running a successful operation.

Franchisees going from strength to strength

Massive congratulations to our franchisees Laurie and Nicola Ryan (Cleanhome East Cambridge) who were presented with the 300 Club Award for successfully signing up 300 clients and to Rebecca Greenall (Cleanhome Norwich) and Gemma Raj (Cleanhome Sittingbourne) who won the 100 Club Award for smashing through their hundredth client target and who are still growing rapidly.

Philip and Sharon Bradley from Cleanhome York were also awarded the 200 Club Award for successfully signing up 200 clients and are continuing to grow their business.

Here’s to an even more successful 2019 for all our franchisees.

Tech savvy

With technology advancing at a rate of knots, we’re always looking to stay ahead of the competition which is why this year we have increased our investment into improving our operational system GENESYS. The system runs the back-end of the business taking care of all the compliance and admin aspects allowing our franchisees to work flexibly from anywhere while freeing up time for them.

 

Make every work day smooth sailing

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Running your own franchise business comes with many advantages such as creating a better work life balance, increasing your earning potential and having ongoing network support.

As your business is growing, however, it’s inevitable that you will make some mistakes along the way which can sometimes distract you from your long-term goals and cause you a headache. From our experience many of these mistakes can be avoided or can be easily managed as long as you are prepared for them. Here’s how you can treat some of the most common business challenges.

Get your paperwork sorted

Everything may be pretty straightforward when it comes to your relationship with clients, business partners and employees but you need to put it on paper. Contacts regulate relationships and outline what is expected of each side. Neglecting to put down a written agreement or waiting until you need it, could cause unnecessary hold ups later on or result in broken down relationships. Get all your legal agreements in place early on and you can then focus on building and maintaining your business relationships.

Speak up

An important part of every relationship, whether it’s personal or business, is to trust one another. Regardless of your industry you will be dealing with people every day so ensure that you build transparent relationships with them. If there’s anything bothering you then address it there and then instead of letting any negative feelings build up. Talking through any issues will help you create meaningful relationships with your business stakeholders and will help avoid any dramas in the future as your relationship is built on solid foundations.

Manage your cashflow

You’ve definitely heard the saying that cash is king. The reason why it’s become almost a cliché phase in the business world is because there’s truth behind it. Be realistic about your budgets and monitor your cashflow on an ongoing basis to ensure you have the money to cover all outgoing expenses on time and that your clients are also up to date with payments to you. It’s also important that you take your own salary into consideration and be reasonable about the amount you pay yourself. Money makes the world go round so always keep on top of it.

Keep up to date

The last thing you need is to fall behind on the latest developments and regulatory changes in your industry because you’ll find yourself constantly trying to catch up. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a great example as being sloppy with the management of important documents can lead to legal issues which you then need to spend time and money trying to resolve. Getting up to speed with the latest in your industry is not seen as an organisational priority when you’re busy running your own business, however if you allocate some time for it each week then you will always be on top of things.