The King Street Office – Startup Serial #15

The King Street Office

I started this business in my bedroom and after a few months moved down to a dining table.

From here I had started renting a single desk space at www.meanwhilecreative.co.uk where I met some lovely people.

I utilised the University of Bristol for interns and needed more space, which I fortunately found in the same business. The business felt like it was becoming something: it wasn’t just me now and we had our own space!

The space we had was fine- it was rough around the edges in terms of its finishings, but it served its purpose, providing us with a private space we could use. We were here for four months when I found a great space that was up for rent.

It was on King Street, next to the historic landmark; the Old Vic. It was also finished really well and was available to be moved into immediately.

The rent was higher and it was too much space, but it was something that we could grow into, so I took it.

A prime location!
A prime location!

The extra space and resulting extra cost could be offset by hiring out desks, which would have the added benefit of introducing a diverse range of people to the office. In short, the newfound space had no drawbacks!

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Cleaning Granite Tops – Cleaning Hacks (Part 1)

Cleaning Granite Tops

Granite worktops: a stylish but often sticky choice!
Granite is a popular choice for kitchen surfaces; it’s cool appearance compliments everything from the most minimalist to the most eclectic of kitchens. However, in our experience it’s also notoriously good at attracting grease and grime, with sticky surfaces ruining an otherwise pristine kitchen. Many specialist cleaning products have been developed to combat the streakiness, but these are more often than not extremely expensive. By our reckoning, these are simply not necessary, as the products hanging around in your kitchen cupboard are more than up to the job, saving you valuable pounds.

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Recruiting As A Startup – Startup Serial #14

Recruiting: Getting it wrong

Gleem was growing and it was feeling good.

I’d been in business for about 6 months and it felt like the right time to step it up a level: I was going to hire someone to work full time.

I had interns working part time, but this was a big commitment to the business.

I didn’t really know how to recruit, so I started reading online about it.

I posted some job adverts on free resources like www.indeed.co.uk and received a few applicants.

Then I got contacted by a recruiter. I listened to the perfected sales patter dismissively, but then they hooked me with one line: if you let the new employee go before their probationary period, I would receive a full refund.

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I interviewed a few applicants, and can’t say I was particularly impressed by the quality, which got me second guessing this recruiter. I gave him one last chance and he sent someone who I thought would work well in the business: A young London girl who seemed ambitious.

I decided to hire her and she started working whilst my interns finished up their work at Gleem.

Month 1 seemed to go quite well, I allowed her to find her feet, whilst offering up responsibility and she seemed to react well.

Then things started to take a turn. She had booked a holiday in Germany and for the fortnight before this holiday she acted as if she wasn’t working. She was lethargic and uninterested. I had to really motivate her to work, and generated a mediocre list of tasks to perform before leaving for her holiday.

I had sought someone who would be dedicated to the business and who would be viewing it as a great opportunity for growth, but when I discovered that half of this list of tasks had not even been attempted.

I realised I had made a bad hiring decision. I decided that even though she was only holiday, because of the level of commitment I told her that I expected that it would be ok to call her to clarify what had gone wrong.

I was greeted with an aggressive and dismissive person on the other end of the line, who may as well have sworn at me for interrupting her trip abroad.

I decided that I no longer wanted someone like that working at Gleem as it was not ‘on brand’, and so let her go.

When it became time to receive a refund for the placement fee from the recruiter, I discovered that this ‘full refund’ was actually a lie from a recruiter who was about to leave his post, and was looking to make a quick placement (and the subsequent commission).I had to fight with the company but eventually received my full refund.

It was great to have a try-before-you-buy opportunity due to the cheeky recruiter, however in hindsight I can see that I hired badly.

I let emotion play too large a factor in why I hired someone: I liked her, she was straight talking and I based my decision upon that alone. I didn’t reference check her or anything.

So that was my first hire. It went badly, but again there were some great lessons to take from the experience.

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Cleaning The Oven – Dinner Party Woes (Part 12)

Cleaning The Oven – Dinner Party Woes

Cleaning the oven (part 3)

oven

So, the inside of the oven, possibly one of the most feared tasks in the household rota. Yet, we at Gleem know from experience this is not the case, as with the assistance of valiant vinegar, the grime is extremely easy to remove!

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5 Reasons For Hiring A Professional Cleaning Service

 5 Reasons For Hiring A professional Cleaning Service Like Gleem

Cleaning can be a tough job, there is no doubt that people need to clean their homes almost every second day due to the amount of food, dust and dirt which can accumulate in places which are frequently used in houses. If you have kids, there is an even greater need to keep your surroundings clean.

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Managing Finances – Startup Serial #13

Managing Finances In Gleem

When I started Gleem, I did it with a very small budget. I also opted to not pay myself, because I’d prefer to hire someone and grow the business further. I do however pay myself a salary, but this takes the form of a director’s loan that increases in size each month.

This was the stance I decided to take. My outlook was that some sacrifice now would pay off in the long run with a larger business.

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This has been going on for about 18 months now. I have been resourceful in keeping my living costs low, however have struggled at times. Going out and doing things can be really tough if you are living in an overdraft…so I began to transfer small amounts to myself to fund my out-of-work lifestyle, not to the value of my salary, but enough to keep me hovering around the £0 mark.

However the first time I did this it was like turning on a tap: I had the ability to go out again!

I had taken a long term loan from my family and was now spending a portion of this, on the company card.

Initially I didn’t see the issue with this, as when I put beers with potential and current customers through on our books as 100% business it felt fine, but over a few months I realised how it could be deemed inappropriate.

Nowadays I transfer a small salary to myself, enabling me to enjoy my time with my girlfriend and friends, but avoiding taking money out of the company account.

This is the best way for me, as although I own 100% of the business, it felt like it broke a weird line between what is a work cost and what isn’t, and the sooner I made a distinction between the two, I felt much more at ease.

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Dinner Party Woes – Cleaning The Oven (Part 11)

Dinner Party Woes – Cleaning The Oven

Cleaning the oven (part 2
The oven is one of the most essential products to our day, yet cleaning the oven is one of the most dreaded tasks for every home owner. From boiling the kettle to baking a cake, this appliance truly goes through the wringer and ironically, as it’s such an often used device, it’s easy to forget that it needs to be cleaned. Images of cleaning the oven probably conjure up fears of hours spent scrubbing with rubber gloves, but products can cut through the grease so you don’t have to! Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue to look at how to deal with the various oven features which take a hammering.

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Starting Social Media – Startup Serial #12

Starting social media and finding our feet

Social media is a powerful tool: free access to a HUGE number of potential customers. But how do you use it correctly?

The circle of social media
The circle of social media

I did research into other local cleaning companies and found that they all seem to post, tweet, comment links to their websites…and that’s it…not particularly inspiring.

I opted instead to ‘become the expert’: I bought a Readers Digest encyclopaedia of ‘Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things’, and set searching through it, identifying tips and tricks that could be distilled down to the 140 character twitter limit.

I invested 3 full days into the process, but at the end had 6 months of tweets scheduled into Hootsuite, waiting to go out, one per day, and differing times. The campaign had limited success: I did gather some new followers, but no bookings.

I decided to start speaking to some contacts I had: in particular Wriggle. Wriggle is an app that offers last minute offers to great independent bars and restaurants across Bristol and their social media interaction was awesome.

We realised that tips of the day, although useful, was actually pretty bland and so set out establishing a strategy and schedule to our social media, integrating a variety of them, including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

We wanted to become ‘popular’.

The aim for Gleem isn’t to promote our deals, our offers and to directly aim for sales. We instead want to be an educational, interesting presence. If people like what we read, relate to it, and appreciate it, then hopefully, if they do ever need a clean, instead of searching Google (the modern equivalent to flicking through the yellow pages), they’ll think of Gleem and search for our website instead!

So, we have hired a new Head of Marketing to take care of everything that ‘marketing’ means.

We came up with a strategy, we push the right type of content (images, longer posts, short videos, etc) across the right mediums, and by maintain a variety to the content, we (hopefully) maximise our reach to relevant people.

 

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Oven Cleaning – Dinner Party Woes Part 10

Oven Cleaning

Oven order (part 1)

After one of Gleem’s staff mentioned their horror when she took out an oven rack to find her hands coated in grease, we realised the oven is another appliance which can take a hammering when cooking ambitious meals for numerous guests.

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Gleem Cleaning Featured On Bristol Post

Gleem Featured On Bristol Post

Bristol cleaning business Gleem toasts 1,000th customer as it teams up with Frank Water charity

Gleem & Frank Waters

A cleaning company which started up a year ago has celebrated with a giveaway to its 1,000th customer and a new relationship with a Bristol-based charity.

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