A Strong Push

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Having a strong and efficient marketing strategy when you first launch your business is an essential part of your success. Regardless of your previous business experience, your franchisor should be working with you on your marketing strategy and ensure that you are able to access marketing tools and insight as part of your initial investment.

The benefit of becoming a franchisee is being able to use an established brand and this includes marketing tools which the franchisor will make readily available to you from the very beginning. For example, as part of our package we offer new franchisees a Royal Mail leaflet delivery drop worth £3,000 which will help them get their business in front of their target audience. This sets them on their journey to start growing their business in their local area.

The most successful franchisors assign the appropriate resources to support the marketing strategies of franchisees to help them get an income rolling in and see a return on their investment as soon as possible. The amount and type of support will vary from franchisor to franchisor, however the franchise you choose should know what sort of marketing works best and help you prepare a marketing plan to promote your business.

This could include a range of channels such as Google Adwords, social media guidance and direct mail resources. They should have already done the legwork and have a clear idea of what will yield results and guide you through the different options.

Planning and working with your franchisor on your marketing strategy can be an enjoyable process, so when researching for the ideal franchisor make sure you choose one who recognises the value of marketing.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and crafting a killer marketing plan takes time and effort, however if your franchisor is on your side it can make a world of difference!

Forget about Work Life Balance

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Yes, you read that right! One of the things we have always been hot on is establishing a good work life balance, however we have seen that the term has started to lose its meaning. The pressure to strike the perfect balance between work and personal life, trying to fit everything in, from exercise to achieving business growth, has become an overwhelming quest many of us fail to achieve.

Finding the ‘Goldilocks zone’ of work-life balance doesn’t come naturally, it’s always a work in progress. So our advice is to forget about what work-balance looks like on paper and find your own way of doing things. Following these suggestions will hopefully help you become a happier and healthier you in 2020.

Everything is subjective

There are plenty of articles and experts out there explaining what the perfect middle way is and how to achieve it but in reality you won’t always relate to what others’ perceptions of the perfect work-life balance. This is because it is different for everyone as it depends on their background, belief system and cultural references. Some things that are negotiable to you may not be to others and the other way around. You need create your own version of balance and happiness.

Pick up the phone or not…

Let’s face it, most of us are hooked on our phones and we’re constantly connected to work emails to make sure that nothing gets missed. Many experts will tell you that it’s best to switch off all devices when having time off work. If you’re one of those people who can put their devices aside and not think about them that’s great, however if doing that means that you are constantly stressed about missing something important then consider staying connected but only responding to emails that need an immediate response.

It’s OK to daydream

Daydreaming is often seen as the antithesis of productivity but that’s not always the case. Research shows that more parts of the brain are active when we let our mind wander than when we’re focused on a single task. Embracing daydreaming can help you think more creatively which in return can enhance your problem-solving skills so don’t feel guilty next time you find your attention wandering.

Set simple boundaries

When it comes to setting boundaries, focus on the simple things. What keeps you going every week and makes you feel balanced? Is it going for a long walk twice a week? Attending your children’s swimming lessons? Once you decide what matters most, you can make time for those activities and work out the rest on a day to day basis.

Our Year in Review

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We’re delighted to announce that our network turnover has exceeded £5m in cleaning services and is still growing at over 20% a year. As the domestic cleaning market continues to grow in the UK and more and more people need help to keep on top of the housework. Our franchisees help them find cleaners who understand their needs and deliver a quality service.

We’re also really proud that we have helped our franchisees achieve their dream of becoming their own bosses by helping them build successful businesses and achieving a good work/life balance! We are looking forward seeing what the New Year will bring!

New Prospectus

This year we revealed our brand-new prospectus which reflects the values at the heart of our network: innovation, best practice and work/life balance.

You can have a look here and learn more about Cleanhome, how we started and find out if you have what it takes to become your own boss and join our growing network.

You can also find more information about earning potential and read our franchisees’ success stories.

 
Franchisees going from strength to strength

Seeing our franchisees grow and prosper is one of the most important things for us so we want to congratulate them for achieving – and surpassing – their targets.

In the past year Patricia and Garry Burchett, owners of Cleanhome Shrewsbury were awarded the 100 Club Award for smashing through their hundredth client and are still growing rapidly.

Jane Clement, owner of Cleanhome Stafford and David Lowe, owner of Cleanhome Sutton Coldfield signed up their hundredth client and the business continues to grow.

Also, congratulations to our franchisees Philippa James, owner of Cleanhome Sevenoaks & Beckenham and to Rebecca Greenall, owner of Cleanhome Norwich who successfully reached 200 clients.

And last but not least, well done to Phil and Sharon Bradley, owners of Cleanhome York for smashing through their 300th client target!

They are all really passionate about running their own business and building a career that fits around their personal life!

New Cleanhome Family member

This year we welcomed Lisa and Martin Johnstone to the Cleanhome family. Lisa and Martin returned to the UK from Singapore, where Martin worked for the oil and gas industry, and were keen to make a new start so they decided to become their own bosses by launching Cleanhome Cheshire South.

This was a completely new experience for them as neither of them had run a business before so we made sure they acquired all the knowledge and tools they needed to make a success of their business. Welcome on board!

Our App is Going Live!

Over the past year, we have been tirelessly working on our app which we’ll be launching in 2020. The app allows cleaners to arrange cover for their clients in their absence thereby reducing the administrative burden on the franchisee. The cleaners will be able to post their cover clean requests on the app and other cleaners within the network can pick them up directly. While the process does not involve the franchisee, they still have full visibility of the process and can still get involved if needed. We understand how much of a burden admin can be for a small business owner so our goal is to reduce time spent on it to allow our franchisees to focus on growing their business.

It’s Time to Reflect

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In our experience the last few weeks of the year are a great time to reflect on the past 12 months, take stock of everything that’s happened and plan for the year ahead. Below are some tips on how to make the most of the quieter pre-holiday time.

What went well?

This is a very simple question that we often forget to ask ourselves but it’s important to recognise and celebrate all the good things that happened over the past year. We get caught up in all the things we want to change and ignore what we have already achieved. Remembering and celebrating all the great things that have happened over the course of the year can help you feel motivated and positive about the future.
What did we learn?

Every experience you’ve had over the past year – regardless of the outcome – will have taught you something. This stretches beyond the technical skills you may have developed e.g. learning how to use a new project management system. Did you encounter a situation that required you to use your resourcefulness or did you have to build a trusting relationship while working with someone? All those are integral and transferable skills which can help you grow in your professional and personal lives.

What can we do better?

When it comes to self-reflection, more than often we feel pressured to leave all our self-limiting behaviours and bad habits behind without a second thought. For many of us, the start of a new year symbolises a fresh beginning where we will be rid of all the behaviours that have been holding us back. However, it’s easier to think of it as work in progress. We don’t need to discard ways of doing things in one go, we can take time to think how to do it better and at a rhythm that suits us best.

Avoid unpleasant surprises

Sometimes things hit us out of the blue but often, when looking back, you can recognise that there may have been signs you ignored because you were focusing on other things. Take a step back and think about a situation where the outcome would have been completely different if you had been paying attention to the warning signs. Keeping an open mind and being more attuned to your environment can help you be prepared for things that are just around the corner.

The end of the calendar year is a great time to set goals for the new year but you cannot move forward unless you understand how you got to where you are so spending some time reflecting on the past can help you prepare for all the great things that lie ahead!

Catching up with Cleanhome’s Longest Standing Franchisee, Richard Mathers, from Cleanhome Gatwick

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How long have you been running your Cleanhome franchise?

My partner and I were the first Cleanhome pilot franchisee and have been running the business for over eight years.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I can’t say it was something we had planned or spent much time thinking about, it pretty much happened. I knew Karen and watched her build the first Cleanhome branch in Thames Valley into a successful business. My partner and I both worked in the aviation industry as cabin crew and when Karen offered us the opportunity to become Cleanhome’s pilot franchisee (excuse the pun!), we decided to give it a shot. We knew the business model had worked well for Karen and we had the determination and transferrable skills to replicate her success.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

I was fully aware of the work that becoming my own boss would entail. The great thing about setting up as a franchisee is that someone has been there before you. Of course, every geographical area is unique and comes with its idiosyncrasies, but the nature of the work is the same. Even though we were first franchisee, we knew that the business model was going to be successful.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you would give to someone looking to buy a franchise?

Firstly, do your research and take time to speak to existing franchisees. That way you can get a better idea of the network’s culture and understand what it will be like running the business on a day to day basis. Secondly, look for a franchisor which charges a set franchisee fee which will not increase as your business grows. You need to be the one profiting from all your hard work, not the franchisor. And last but not least, trust the process. Someone has already tried and tested everything so take their word for it!

In your opinion what makes a successful franchisee?

Being organised, not afraid of hard work and being determined to make it work for you!

What’s the most important lesson you have learnt?

Never leave a problem to fester. If something isn’t quite right, tackle it head on. It’s much easier to resolve a problem when it arises instead of ignoring it and having to deal with it later.

Have you seen any changes to your industry over the recent years and how have you adapted to them?

The way we get business has changed over the years. We now use social media and technology alongside more traditional channels including leafletting and face to face meetings.

Is there something that you think will always play an important role in the industry?

Despite today’s technology driven society, people skills are still important. Nothing beats face to face interaction and developing a personal relationship with your clients can go a long way.

What’s your biggest achievement so far as a Cleanhome franchisee?

We are extremely proud that we have the highest client retention within the network. I put this down to the fact that for us, our clients always come first.

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.

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!