Benefits of paying for directory listings – Startup Serial #10

Benefits of paying for directory listings

Advertising the old fashioned way: much more worthwhile in my opinion
Advertising the old fashioned way: much more worthwhile in my opinion

As I’m sure anybody who works in a small business will agree with: online directories are extremely annoying.

Take up a free listing on their sites and they will hound you, trying to sell premium listings, web design, SEO, even the kitchen sink.

At this point of the business, I had managed to avoid the majority of these, as I couldn’t justify the extortionate cost of a listing on a website I had never heard of, but then I got called by the big boys: Yell and Yelp.

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I got sucked into the sales pitches and ended up taking up their offers for paid advertising. What did I discover from paying for Yell and Yelp advertising? In my opinion, it totally isn’t worth it.

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It was early days, and we were trying to be as frugal as possible with our spending: focussing on advertising like Google Adwords that has an immediate ROI that is extremely measureable.

I had made bad decisions and was tied into two 12 month contracts, and was receiving nothing in return. I let this frustrate me, and researched whether paid Yelp or Yell advertising was supposedly any good for small businesses: and I discovered the answer to be a resounding No.

We still focussed on trying to build an identity on these sites, and invested decent time into optimising our pages, but in Bristol UK, where no directory has a large portion of market share (in the USA Yelp is a powerhouse of a directory).

This is by far the most negative blog post I’ve written, but paying for this advertising did teach us one lesson: 

Some things do require a punt, as they may pay huge dividends, but if research proves that it’s unlikely to be a profitable venture, it’s probably worth avoiding.

We learnt a valuable lesson from paying for this advertising, and won’t be doing it again so spontaneously.

 

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Weekend Dinner Party Woes (Part 8)

Dishwasher clean (part 2)

After last week’s great Bicarb bomb solution, we’ve been hard pushed to find any crafty fixes but we have discovered probably the most satisfying way to clean a dishwasher: an old toothbrush and some hard graft!

Our weapon against caked on grime...
Our weapon against caked on grime…

1. Fill the sink with hot water, washing up liquid and a cup of vinegar. Dip an old toothbrush into the water and scrub along the dishwasher door and into any crevices.

2. Use a sponge dipped in hot, soapy water to remove any of the grime loosened by the toothbrush. Wipe down the sides and door of the dishwasher too.

3. Put the machine on a rinse cycle to remove any remaining grime

Plus, for a citrus aroma, why not place a cup of lemon juice at the bottom of the washer and switch on the rinse cycle? This will leave your appliance smelling lemon-fresh!

Happy Gleeming!

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Dinner Party Woes (Part 7)

DIY dishwasher clean (1)

The dishwasher, saving our bacon since around 1950. Yep, this truly is a miraculous, time-saving piece of machinery. But, many of us forget that it needs some TLC too if we want to be sure our dishes are really getting scrubbed.

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If anyone has a dog, they’ll know this sight very well!

 

Many of us are flummoxed by this as considering its function, we automatically assume the dishwasher to be self-cleaning. Yet shockingly, a 2011 study found that 62% of dishwashers across 6 continents tested positive for fungi –  lovely news!

Gleem will be looking at a number of solutions as to how to deal with this problem over the next few weeks. Our first fix being…

The Baking Soda Bomb:

By far the most fun option, with the crafting involved we are massive fans of this approach. The recipe involves 2 cups baking soda, 3 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide and 20 drops of lavender oil.

Mix all together and shape into balls, rest overnight to set and leave in the bottom rack. Combine 2 cups vinegar and 1 tablespoon detergent and place on bottom rack. Put your dishwasher on and wait and see/hear!

Keep an eye out over the next week, when we’ll be continuing our focus on dishwasher cleans.

Happy Gleeming!

 

 

Breakages – Startup Serial #9

Breakages

All my time was spent looking into business, cleaning, and into cleaning businesses.

I’ve joined a number of forums and trawled through them, posting on occasion, then I located the holy grail: ‘Entrepreneur Ride Along’: a community that was part of the well known website www.reddit.com.

Entrepreneur Ride Along was started by Washington D.C based Rohan Gilkes: founder of Lawn Tribe and Maids in Black. He started it to document how he began his lawn care website, the processes he went through and what he focussed on.

He later transferred this across to Maids in Black, a cleaning company.

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I had located an amazing resource, and off the back of his foundations, many other people in the USA had followed suit and started their own companies.

This meant there was a community of active, ambitious entrepreneurs talking about cleaning that I could join: what a result!

A few days later I received a phone call from an irate customer: we’d broken their hob and they were moving out of their home in 2 days.

My cleaner sent me photo of the clean and I couldn’t see and breakage, but the customer was keep saying that they did it.

I jumped onto Entrepreneur Ride Along and asked what I should do: almost everyone told me the same thing: replace the hob and take the cost hit.

At this early stage in the business even one piece of bad feedback could limit the potential of the business from the outset.

Fortunately my dad is an electrician and helped me out: we bought a new hob, went to the property and replaced the hob.

I’m still not convinced that the cleaners broke it, but at least we avoided a raging criticism online! 

This is what was in my head. A well-satisfied customer will bring repeat sales.

That’s exactly what happened.

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Weekend Dinner Party Woes (Part 6)

Sticking with it?

We all know the situation: everyone gets a bit merry and vocal, with plenty of hand gestures and next thing you know, there’s a puddle of wine/G&T/fizzy drink dashed across your floor. You quickly mop up the spillage whilst an embarrassed guest apologises profusely and think nothing of it. But the next morning, you wander downstairs – feeling ever so slightly fragile – to find your gait is even slower than normal, as the floor remains intent on capturing your feet.

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Yep, sticky floors really are the worst in our opinion. Even after you’ve scrubbed them, they can remain clingy for weeks afterwards. Here’s our top tips to get rid of the icky feeling once and for all:

1. Vacuum the area thoroughly to remove any solid dirt

2. Fill a mop bucket with boiling water, add half a cup of vinegar, plus half a cup of lemon juice to freshen up the smell

3. Swish the mop across the offending area

4. Now the important bit: empty and then fill up the bucket with another gallon of hot water and then swab down the area again. This will remove the final resistant patches.

There you have it, a simple method to restore your floor to their former glory and avoid the longlasting sticky feeling underfoot.

Happy Gleeming!

 

 

Business Picks Up – Startup Serial #8

Business Picks Up

I was 2 weeks into running the business and energised by growing my own company.

We had received a few one-off cleans, where Olga and Karolina were doing a good job. I was meeting them at every clean, greeting the new customers and then flyering in the area around the clean.

I gave Olga a bottle of wine to put in her bucket at each clean. When they finished the clean, they left the wine and a thank you note somewhere subtle, with the intention of the customer finding it later in the day, providing a nice little surprise…

Hiding in plain view: a bottle after very clean
Hiding in plain sight: a bottle after very clean

A surprise gift: I’ve decided this was a great way to operate differently to other companies.

When was the last time a cleaner left wine, chocolate or flowers once they’d finished? Not very often. I wanted to maintain the surprise element to the gifts we offer, as it seemed like a more genuine way of trying to elevate the service we provide, plus it stops customers from expecting something after every clean.

I soon wrote this gift into the plan for the business: it would be a way to say thank you to our customers spontaneously.

It worked, with all of our customers loving the wine. In fact, 2 of our first 10 customers ended up upgrading to a regular clean!

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Dinner Party Woes (Part 5)

Waxing lyrical…

Candles can make all the different to the atmosphere of a room. However, the ambience might not be so relaxing the next morning, as sticky residue remains impaled on the choicest surfaces. But no fear, for Gleem is here to advise you how to remove this seemingly stubborn material.

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The Iron:

Turn this on to a medium heat and it will cleverly soak up the wax as it melts!  Layer paper towels on top of the wax and cover with a tea towel. Move the iron over the cloth so the wax melts, to be absorbed by the layer of paper towels.

The Hairdryer:

Turn it on to its slowest, hottest setting and remove the softened wax with a paper towel. Then wipe it down with cloth which has been dipped in equal parts vinegar and water.

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A can of compressed air:

This cools rather than heats the wax. Blow the air on the wax to cool and make it more brittle, then scrape away using a plastic spatula. Do not use a metal object to scrape as could mark the surface

Use an all-purpose spray to remove the final layer of grease.

Needless to say, apply caution when using these solutions on a wooden surface!

Happy Gleeming!

Building Foundations – Startup Serial #7

Building Foundations For Gleem

Building a workforce foundation

So now we were a registered business, had a nice website, smooth booking process and an enthusiastic founder.

The next task was a workforce and finding cleaners in Bristol.

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Two Gleem cleaners, Agnieszka (L) and Paulina (R)

I posted adverts on Gumtree and received about 100 replies, which was really promising: people liked the idea of what we were offering around Bristol area.

I started reading through the applicants and quickly realised that the majority of these were not relevant: no CV, no name, no number.This quickly reduced the list down to about 30.

Next were the telephone interviews: these went ok, but a large number of the applicants had no real knowledge of cleaning.

Down to 6, and time for some face to face interviews. I spent the day sat in a coffee shop, waiting on cleaning teams to show up: 4 did, a 67% success rate (one which would never be achieved again). Out of the 4 teams, only 2 of them were good enough for the final stage, the TEST CLEAN!

Both teams came back to my house and had 15 minutes to work on a room before I inspected it. Olga and Karolina smashed it, Luis and his partner less so.

So 100 teams of cleaners had been whittled down to a solitary 1 team: but I knew they were the best presented cleaners around Bristol, doing the best quality cleaning, and they also liked the idea of the business.

Time to get them to work building the empire!

We’ve grown ten folds since then, if you’d like to have a chat with us regarding your cleaning requirements, give us a friendly call at 0800-808-5544  or visit www.gleem.co.uk

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Weekend Dinner Party Woes (Part 4)

Disastrously dirty cutlery: how to escape embarrassment at the dinner table

Inviting your mates around for a couple of drinks and some food sounds simple doesn’t it? Wrong! If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to impress to the max with the poshest plates and shiniest silverware. However, locating your cutlery might prove a shock as this stuff truly does attract dirt and water marks are a hazard with high-quality.

Case in point
Case in point

We’ve got the solution to brighten the cutlery so much you’re guests will be able to see their visage in its shiny surface. Once again, we call on our friend, Bicarbonate of Soda to solve this issue.

The Fail Safe:

  1. Line a shallow tray with a sheet of tin foil and fill with warm water 5 cm deep. Add teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and mix 
  2. Place the dirty cutlery in the tray and leave for 10 minutes
  3. Remove the cutlery and rinse to remove last traces of dirt
  4. Leave to dry naturally but use a soft cloth to buff up and remove last traces of dirt.

Alternatively, if you don’t have miraculous Bicarb to hand, then simply use a little olive oil/vinegar/lemon juice on a cloth and rub the cutlery gently to remove those annoying and unsightly streaks.

Happy Gleeming!

Gleem’s First Clean Startup Serial #6

Gleem’s First Clean

The First Clean

So I’d handed out some flyers over a 2 week period and was extremely eager to start receiving booking… but none came in.

I kept researching ways to provide the best clean in the world and how to generate sales, but from behind my desk I wasn’t generating anything.

So I got back up and started delivering flyers again. 8 hours a day walking up and down the roads of Bristol that I thought could have my best potential clients.

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A Gleem Flyer

One day, out of the blue, in an area nowhere near where I’d been flyering, I received a booking. Then I made the realisation that I hadn’t found any cleaners: I’d been so swept up in planning the business, getting the branding looking nice, the website working and the quality correct that I’d neglected the most important asset I needed…cleaners! So I roped a friend in, and we excitedly ventures across to the house where the clean was happening.

We worked hard; working our way through the checklist, making sure everything was completed. After a tiring 4 hour clean, we approached the customers with the checklist and asked them to inspect the property. Our lack of experience meant they were able to spot a number of items that we had not completed sufficiently, so we set back off to work and completed the cleaning of the areas we had missed. After all of this the customer was happy, so we gave them a leaving gift, picked up our bin bags and went on our merry way, happy that Gleem had completed their first clean!

Please visit us at www.gleem.co.uk or call us at 0800-808-5544 to have a friendly chat and see how we can help you.

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