Is summertime the best time to rethink your career?

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Traditionally, December is the point in the year when we begin to reflect and re-imagine our goals for the year ahead however the pressure of the ‘New Year, New You’ can add unnecessary pressure to your decision making when it comes to your career. With summer season in full swing, now is a good time to look back at the last six months and think about how things have gone so far this year and weigh up whether it’s time to move in a new direction.

Here are four signs it may be time to rethink your future and some practical tips for how to go about making a change.

Don’t make a habit of it

You do your job because that is what you do every day but you don’t necessarily take steps to progress or make changes that will improve your working life. Take some time, go for a walk, get away from all distractions, and reflect on the goals and dreams you had when you started out in your job. Can you see them taking shape? Do these aspirations still hold the same meaning for you? If they do and you think you can make them happens in your current career path, plan your next step to change things. If not, maybe it’s time to take a step back. This may sound daunting but people change roles and career direction all the time. Consider what you want your life to look like in the future and work towards that.

Your energy levels are low

Everyone has the occasional off day, but if you’re finding work draining and it no longer energises and excites you then you need to have a think how you can change it. Sure you can be tired from being busy, but when you’re enjoying what you do you also feel a buzz of satisfaction for accomplishing your tasks. What takes the fun out of your day-to-day routine? It could be politics, the nature of your tasks or just a personal change. If you have tried to change this in the past and haven’t managed to, it might time to think about moving on and focusing on finding a job that gives you a buzz even during super busy times.

You’re not progressing

Progress means different things to different people; it can include a pay rise, a better role, flexible working hours and many other things. However, if you look back and realise that you have been going around in circles without any sense of real development in an area that is important to you then you need to consider what the rest of the year could look like and whether a change in career would help you move forward.

You are craving to become your own boss

Once you have started thinking of being responsible for your career path by becoming your own boss, it’s difficult to re-imagine yourself as someone’s employee. First, define what kind of business ownership would work for you. Many of our franchisees invested in our network as they wanted to become their bosses while having ongoing support and a tried and tested business model. Would you be comfortable launching a business without any previous experience and without guaranteed support from a network that can share best practice? You then need to decide on the industry you see yourself in and how would it support your aspirations.

And always remember, no matter which avenue you choose, be intentional and proactive about building your future career.

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FRANCHISE FAME: PHIL AND SHARON BRADLEY – CLEANHOME YORK

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Phil and Sharon Bradley from Cleanhome York have been going from strength to strength  and recently celebrated signing up their 200th client. We caught up with Phil to find out more about their success and how they feel about being part of the Cleanhome family two years on. 

What did you do before joining Cleanhome? 

Sharon and I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years followed by seven years in Spain, where I worked in the Oil and Gas industry. When we returned to the UK just over two years ago we decided the time was right to start our own business so we researched different sectors and decided that domestic cleaning was right for us as Sharon had some experience in the hospitality industry and it’s a growing market. After going through several franchise opportunities we chose Cleanhome for its robust business model, the ongoing training and support by the franchisor and its custom-built operational system GENESYS, which is exclusive to Cleanhome and handles all the back-end administration of the business freeing up valuable time, letting you focus on growth.

How do you manage your work/life balance? 

When we first started we had to go out to meet clients and cleaners five days a week but as we have grown, we’ve let Cleanhome’s operating system GENESYS do most of the hard work as it takes care of all the admin for us so we only need to have external meetings twice a week now.  I have also focused on raising awareness of the business locally through online ad campaigns and attend networking events which I enjoy.

What’s the best thing about running your own business? 

I would say it’s being able to reap the rewards of our hard work. We put in a lot of hours getting the business off the ground to begin with and we are now enjoying our success while maintaining a happy clientele. Being able to add value to both our cleaners’ and clients’ lives by creating the perfect working relationship is also very rewarding.

What are your plans for the future? 

We are working towards growing the business and eventually passing it on to our daughter who is currently a nursery teacher. It’d be great to see her setting out as a business owner with our help.

What advice would you give to anyone looking at starting their own franchise?

I’d definitely recommend the domestic cleaning industry and Cleanhome as it offers a robust business model and can help you build a successful business while maintaining a good work/life balance.

Don’t let the sunny weather get the best of you

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Spring is finally here and as winter seems to have lasted forever this year you may be breathing a sigh of relief, while sunshine is a welcome change from snow, the good weather may have a negative impact on your productivity.

A vision of sunny skies outside your window brings to mind everything you could be doing outside instead of getting down to work. So if you’re having trouble focusing on your to-do list, here are some tips on increasing your concentration and getting the things off your list done faster in order to enjoy more free time, which is, after all, one of the reasons you started your own business in the first place!

Stop daydreaming about sunny beaches

It’s not just the weather that affects you. Even just thinking about nice weather can bring your productivity down. Studies show that evocative images of far flung destinations can reduce your focus so make sure you steer clear of anything that can make you think of picture perfect holiday spots. Get rid of your beach screen saver and stop looking for deals for your next holiday while taking a break from work.

Plan your working days around the weather forecast 

Take a look at the weather forecast for the week and if possible plan your workload around it. Given that you’ll probably be more productive, rainy days can be a great opportunity to log a few more minutes at work so take advantage of it. If you knuckle down on cold, wet, rainy days, you’re much more likely to have free rein to pop out early when that sunny afternoon calls you to take some time off!

Give yourself some encouragement 

Encourage yourself along the way. Use positive self-talk to help you recognise your achievements. Positive self-talk is helpful when it’s simple and direct, such as ‘I can do this.’

Tune it out 

One of the best ways to tune everything out is to listen to music. When the weather outside is distracting you, put your headphones on and find something that can serve as background music rather than music that energises you. Music can help you concentrate, and the headphones signal to others that you’re not available to chat.

The early bird catches the worm

The sun rises earlier so make the most of it. Start your workday an hour earlier and use this hour to organise the day ahead and complete any admin tasks you’ve been putting off. Similarly, skip the long lunches and instead give yourself a short break to take a walk or clear your head, with something light and nutritious to boost your energy. This means your working day will finish earlier and you can make the most of the early evening sun!

Spring Clean Your Business

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National Spring Cleaning Week is coming up which is normally associated with getting your home in order but it’s also a good time to give your business an annual Spring Clean. It may sound daunting but it’s all a matter of perception. Instead of looking at this as a laborious task, think of it as a reward for getting through the winter. This is your chance to fine-tune the day-to-day running of your business in order to improve the quality of your working life. Doing the tasks you’ve been putting off will make it easier to focus on the bigger picture help your business to prosper.

Give your email a good scrub

You probably keep saying that you’ll get on top of your inbox but it never quite happens. Now’s the time to do it. Set aside a whole afternoon and go for it! Finding an email filing system that works for you will make it easier to keep on top of them in the long term. It may seem like a minor system to improve but it will make you feel less overwhelmed and will improve your entire communication methods.

Do your filing

Earlier this year, we went paper free when it comes to business agreements and payment systems in order to allow our franchisees to run their businesses more efficiently and provide a better service to their customers. Cloud-based systems are great for improving the efficiency of a business when it comes to filing important documents. If you still need to keep paper-copies of documents, ensure your filing cabinet is tidy and everything is where it should be. This will help you spend less time looking for files you need in the future and will make you feel in control of everything.

Review your suppliers

Take a look at your suppliers and identify any that are not performing as well as they should be. For example, does your broadband provider fail to provide you with adequate coverage or service speeds? Does your bank keep introducing new service charges or other fees? Once you’ve identified the issues, contact your supplier and ask them to resolve them and ask if there are any better deals they can offer you. Have a look at different suppliers as well as they might be more suitable for your business’ needs.

Dust off your business plan

One of the great things about franchising is that you have access to ongoing support when it comes to evaluating your business and improving your business plan. Spring is the perfect time to revisit your plan and update it to keep pace with your goals and your long-term plans for the business. Go back to why you set up the business and evaluate what you want to achieve moving forward.

Clean your office

Trust us on this one! When was the last time you vacuumed behind the printer? A clean office will help lift your mood, and improve and reinvigorate your workspace. A disorderly and dirty office can cause unnecessary stress so turning your office into an inviting place to work means that you will have a more positive mindset and be more eager to work.

Schedule your next Spring Clean

In order to keep up the good work, you don’t have to wait until the following year to review any changes you introduce during your Spring Clean. Set aside a time every three months to evaluate your key accomplishments and identify areas of improvement. Look into what you’re doing and whether it’s feeding into your goals.

Set Goals for the New Year!

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Every single business owner, whatever the size of the business or however well-established, needs goals to keep moving forward, get them motivated to do more and maintain the success of their business. Goal setting might sound daunting but in reality, goals are just targets that you’ve determined you want to hit within a specific time frame and ultimately, goal setting can help you to be more ambitious and more motivated.

As franchisors we encourage our franchisees to set goals to help them take their business to the next level and here’s why… 

Goal setting improves the business model

One of the biggest advantages of franchising is that people buy into a tried and tested business model but each franchisee needs to set their own goals. Think about it this way, if you haven’t got a target to hit, you won’t be able to measure your success as you move closer to the goal.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that each franchise area is different so techniques that have worked well in one area may need adapting to work the same way in another area. If you haven’t got targets in place, you won’t know what needs changing in order to allow you to reach your goal.

Ultimately, as a franchisor, we’re here to help you get the most out of your business. By measuring your progress you can clearly see whether your approach is working and if it’s not, you can access our knowledge and experience to help adapt your techniques to help you on your way.

Successful franchise operations are those that are able to react and adapt to their environment and targets are an essential part of understanding how the model works at both a franchisee and franchisor level.

Motivation

Setting targets can have a positive effect across the network as the more motivated the individual franchise owners are, the more they are likely to encourage each other to achieve their goals.

This mindset can easily flow down into the culture and ethos of the franchise business and improve overall performance.

Work/life balance 

A clearly defined goal means franchisees have their eyes on the prize which in turn can help them get rid of any processes which don’t contribute to their success. Having this kind of focus teaches them how to work smarter, not necessarily harder.

2017 Year in Review: a Journey through the Cleanhome Family

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It’s been another great year at Cleanhome and we’re pleased to announce that in 2017 we increased our turnover by 50%. As part of our plans for growth we’ve also been busy implementing changes to benefit our franchisees and their clients, from switching to the paperless office to launching our online client signup. Here are just some of our favourite moments from 2017.

Meetings with our franchisees

Ongoing support and training are just two of the reasons that people choose to invest into a franchise operation which we why we started our year with a UK wide franchisee meeting to share network developments with our franchisees.

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

Paperless office

At the beginning of the year we began the process of going paper free so we can enable our franchisees to be more efficient when it comes to business agreements and payment systems with clients. Our paperless office system is now fully implemented and it’s been transforming the back-end administration of the franchised outlets.

Going paperless has enhanced the flexibility of the business and has made it fully mobile.

That, combined with our cloud-based system Genesys, means our franchisees are able to keep track of their business from wherever they are.

Online client sign up

With technology advancing at a rate of knots, we’re always looking to stay ahead of the competition which is why at the start of the year we launched our online booking engine which allows our franchisees’ clients to find and book a cleaner online within minutes and be assured that they will still receive the highest level of service.

This helps our franchisees to enhance their offering and target consumers who are time pressured and expect to be able to buy goods and book services online.

Our first Scottish franchise

This year we welcomed Mark Bishop to the Cleanhome family, who’s set up the first Cleanhome franchise outlet in Scotland.

Mark set up his Cleanhome franchise in the Autumn after he decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship and we’ve been pleased to have the opportunity to support him on his journey to running a successful business.

Thames Valley winning that award

Our clients’ satisfaction is our top priority so we were delighted that our Cleanhome Thames Valley branch won ‘Best Domestic Cleaning Service’ at the Local Trade Awards.

This award is a testament to our ethos as a company striving to find the right cleaner for our clients and their needs. We go above and beyond to ensure we find the right person and we only operate locally with vetted cleaners to ensure our clients receive top notch service every single time.

New Year, New You!

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A new year is a fresh start, a new beginning and the perfect opportunity to take stock and make changes. These can be simple resolutions such as eating more healthily, exercising more or de-cluttering. Other resolutions are bigger with the decision to make a career change being one of the most popular. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, more than one in five workers (22 percent) were planning to change jobs in 2017.

There are many different reasons you could be looking to make a career change in 2018. Maybe you prefer being outdoors but you’re office-based or maybe you’re after more flexibility. Perhaps you’re looking to future-proof your career or want to have more control over your day-to-day routine. No matter what your reason for moving on perhaps it’s worth stepping outside your comfort zone and considering starting your own business.

Taking the step to launch your own business may seem daunting, however franchising can offer you the opportunity to become your own boss without many of the risks often associated with entrepreneurship.

We have previously talked about the benefits of franchising and this month seems like the perfect time to revisit them.

Job satisfaction

If starting your own business has been one of your dreams but you feel that you don’t have an original idea to contribute to the market, joining an established brand can allow you to fulfil your ambition and create your own job satisfaction. And to paraphrase a famous quote, if you enjoy what you do then you never have to work a day in your life.

Be part of a family

Running your own independent business can be lonely and sometimes you may need some feedback or someone to brainstorm with. Joining a franchise operation will provide you with head office support and give you access to a network of like-minded people from different backgrounds. Any franchisor worth their salt will provide their franchisees with communication platforms which will allow them to connect and discuss any day to day issues they may face.

Join a growing industry

The franchise industry currently contributes £15.1 billion to the UK economy and many customers choose to purchase from franchised outlets as they believe they are more likely to receive quality services or products. This increases the business’s likelihood of success and subsequently reduces the risk factor.

Rapid Return on investment

Investing into a franchise means that you’re buying into a tried and tested business model which has been streamlined by the franchisor in order to give you the opportunity to see a return on your investment much more quickly than is you were to start your own business from scratch and have to learn from your own mistakes.

Also, the advantage of franchising is that when you advertise a known brand name in your market, customers are more likely to recognise the brand name which can get the cash flowing faster.

Have more ‘me’ time

Aside from running a profitable business, as a business owner of franchise, you have the opportunity to achieve the work/life balance you want. You’ll still need to put in the hard work to build your client base and get your business off the ground and offer quality services or products on an ongoing basis, however being your own boss means you can be flexible about some of the hours you choose to work, which could allow you to have more ‘me’ time or to arrange your work around your family.

Whatever career route you decide to take next year, we want to wish you the best of luck with your New Year’s resolutions. Make 2018 one to remember!