Thursday, October 25, 2007

Growing your business - Part 3

Just to quickly re-cap on the first two parts of the series, we learned in part one about the importance of firmly establishing the motivating reasons for growing your business. in part two, we took a closer look at the window cleaning industry and found that although at present the greatest majority of the UKs window cleaners are owner operators, the window cleaning industry is an established service and the industry is growing rapidly.
We also touched on the fact that until pure water systems, growth of a window cleaning business was limited because of staff retention issues.

In this section I think it necessary to examine how pure water technology can and indeed for many has, affected the window cleaning industry.

For many years, the world of business has some hidden diamonds, businesses that are more likely to work than others, pay a better return on investment than most and are scaleable, meaning that the business can be systemised (more on that in a later article ) and then replicated. Window cleaning with pure water is one of those businesses. The reason is simple, many people think that for a business to work and be successful, the business idea has to be new, exiting and never been done before, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
With a new business idea, the inventor has to explain his idea and then persuade the general public that it is necessary to use the new invention. Very few brand new inventions succeed in breaking the market.

The best business ideas take an established market and then improve on the service or product. Take for example James Dyson’s vacuum cleaner. He did not invent the vacuum cleaner, but he did think of an innovative way to better the existing models.

Michael Dell followed the same route, he did not invent the PC but he did understand that as that technological industry moved so fast that it was better to sell his PCs online rather than the vast sums of money and the huge amount of time and effort that establishing and stocking a huge distribution network would take. He took an established idea, selling PCs and then offered a better service – mail order = up to date PCs.

Window cleaning with pure water is so exiting because it ticks all the right business strategy boxes. In the UK window cleaners have been around since glass was first invented, a truly established service. The industry is growing rapidly, and more importantly, the window cleaning business is a profitable one, but the industry required a little more to truly flourish.

This is how pure water has found the window cleaning industry; desperate to modernise, it has been the same essentially since its inception and the people who are in the industry want to be viewed as professional trade’s persons but the accessibility to all sorts of people have prevented this.
Scalability has also been an issue has we have seen, growth has always been limited to the number of staff that can be persuaded to stay.
Finally, as every business requires a unique selling point, something to help stand your business apart from others, window cleaning with traditional methods left price as the only real bargaining tool when attracting custom, and price wars have always been self defeating.

Pure water systems directly addresses these issues, firstly pure water technology removes the skill level from traditional window cleaning and replaces it with a capital investment. The investment serves to discourage window cleaning staff from leaving your business and starting out on their own. It also means that as the skill level required is lower, staff can be trained faster.

Secondly, the use of pure water systems means that the time that it takes to clean glazing is substantially cut down, on average, a third faster than quick traditional work and 50% more efficient on commercial work.

The third benefit is that the use of a pure water system provides a better service to your clients and it accomplishes this in many ways, from the ability to access previously inaccessible windows to the framework being included in the clean, privacy factors and many further advantages.

Individuals inside the industry desperate to grow their businesses have welcomed the use of pure water systems with open arms. Window cleaners who do not necessarily want to grow their businesses have had a more difficult time in accepting the technology, but both sides would have to agree that pure water systems have become an established tool in many hundreds of businesses in the UK, and there is little wonder when you consider the benefits for the window cleaner, the clients of the window cleaner and the business growth opportunities.

So now that we have established a little on the background of the window cleaning industry, some of the issues and the benefits of window cleaning and how pure water addresses these. Let’s take a look at growing a business using pure water technology.
As the vast numbers of properties in the UK are residential, it follows that there are more residential window cleaners than commercial, for this reason, I am going to concentrate on the residential window cleaning business.

As always, feel free to leave a comment.

Best regards,

Carl Phillips
Clear View Plus Ltd

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Growing your business - Part 2

Well after reading part 1 I hope you have been able to identify some of the motivating factors for you when you are growing your business. The importance of these motivating factors cannot be over-stressed, identify them and you will be able to fall back on them time and time again, they will serve you well. If you’re unclear on your personal motivating factor/s, then please spend more time thinking on the subject, you will not be disappointed, I can promise you that.

Lets move on now to the window cleaning industry itself and why you should consider it worthy of your time, energy and investment.
Now when the general public think of window cleaning, what do you think springs to mind? Unfortunately for most of the public, the image of George Formby plucking a banjo singing that rather irritating song is the default image, followed by the ‘adventures of a window cleaner’ film of questionable repute.
For those of the general public who have never seen a television, the very mention of cleaning windows brings to mind unhealthy images of Joe flatcap with a set of ladders, old jeans and a holly t-shirt.

None of the above stereo-types are what you really want as a business owner as you can imagine, if your motivating factor is pride in your business you should justifiably be feeling a little uncomfortable at this point because the general public’s perception of the window cleaning industry at present is not that far from the truth.
In order to help us understand this issue and why things are the way they are we have to take a closer look at the industry.

Window cleaning falls into the category of home services. The home services industry at present is worth some 6 billion pounds annually and is one of the fastest growing industry sectors. Which is nice. A home service is categorised as a service carried out for the general public on their own properties.
As you can imagine, the sector is growing fast for two reasons. Firstly, the swing to ‘cash rich time poor nature’ of our society. People are working longer and harder than ever before and there is less time to do those laborious but necessary tasks around the home. Secondly, the population of the UK is growing at the fastest rate in many years, causing the home building industry to build far more new homes than ever, more good news then.

So why is the window cleaning industry viewed as negatively as it is then? Well firstly, using traditional methods, ladder bucket and a squeegee, window cleaning is a cheap to business to start. We have already provided some testimony as to the size and growth of the industry, so with plenty of work out there and cheap set up costs the industry is open to anyone. Even those of an unscrupulous nature unfortunately.

That is until they start to view it as a business. when a person decides to become a window cleaner, they find that gathering enough customers is not the issue. There is always work for a good window cleaner. The trouble is, is that window cleaning using traditional methods has a skill level, a skill which has to learned over time, even ladder work is suited to some individuals more than others.
This is fine if you just want to earn cash and work for yourself rather than for an employer and by far and away the greatest majority of the window cleaners in the UK at present fall into this category of individuals working on their own rounds.

As we said before the problem arises when that same individual decides that he or she has been cleaning windows for a long time and wants to grow their business by employing staff of their own. After all, there are only so many windows one person can clean in the day.
Now the same individual runs into all sorts of problems. They can always find someone to help out, but the training process is a long one and staff are never as fastidious with your clients as you are. Window cleaning with traditional methods is hard work and there is always the temptation to cut the odd corner or two.
Besides the training times and trust issues, the problem is further compounded by the fact that once trained, there is nothing stopping your new staff member from purchasing his own ladder and equipment and starting out on his own. From personal experience this can be very frustrating to say the least and the employment process has to start all over again.

Since the introduction of water fed pole technology some ten years or so ago, this was just the way it was and this state of affairs may account for the fact there are still no national domestic window cleaning companies in the UK.

Pure water systems have changed the status quo beyond recognition. They clean windows faster in a safer manner and provide substantial extra benefits for their clients.

In part three, I want to focus on how pure water technology affects the traditional window cleaner in a little more detail, in the meantime, as always, feel free to leave me a comment.

Best regards,

Carl Phillips
Clear View Plus Ltd

Monday, October 8, 2007

Grow Your Business - Part 1

Growing your Business - Part 1: Introduction

Now I would like to start this series by chatting to you a little about why you would want to grow your business in the first place. This is important because as you will already be aware, growing your business takes a lot of motivation, hard work, and patience.

If business growth was easy, then everyone would be doing it and we would all be as successful as Richard Branson, James Dyson and every other top entrepreneur's appear.
It may seem strange then, that many, very hard working business owners never seem to make it off the starting blocks so to speak, struggling on year after year as frustrated owner operators.

During our conversations with business owners both small and large, I have come to notice a pattern with those who are succeeding and those who’s businesses are not heading where their owners desire. The reason for this is that when a person decides to grow their business, they don’t have a clear goal or target in mind, but more importantly, they are confused about their motives for wanting to grow their business.

A large part of a successful growth campaign is having your motivation crystal clear to begin with. This forms a solid foundation for your business growth and so when the going gets tough, these individuals have a seemingly endless supply of motivation to call upon. As a wise man one said its always too early to quit, and these business owners are the ones that make it to the top of their fields, simply because they refuse to give up when they suffer setbacks.

These guys are not super human, they simply have the reasons and the motivation clear in their minds, then they just get out there and make things happen.

During our conversations with our clients, we come across all sorts of reasons why individuals decide they need to grow their business, and contrary to popular belief, its not all about wanting to be stinking, filthy rich!
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting reserves of cash in today’s society; it is the wealthy that get the best of things. Just take the NHS for example. It seems every day there is something in the news about the NHS facing a new crisis with either waiting times, withholding treatments, the MRSA virus Ect… Private health care on the other hand, suffers far less issues. You or your loved ones can be seen straight away, in clean hospitals, and you can have any treatment you want - provided you have the cash that is!

The vast array of reasons why our clients want their businesses to grow always astounds me. Many don’t want more money at all. Most business owners just want more time. With the financial pressures faced by us all, some employees and business owners find that they have to work such long hours, they never seem to be able to spend much time with their families and even when they do, they are just too tired to make the best of it.

Other clients of ours just want to own a business that they can be proud of, getting up and actually being excited to go to work in the morning.

Whatever the reason why you want to grow your business, and im assuming you do as your reading this, the first step is a realisation that without this motivation, growing your business is going to be very hard indeed, if not impossible.

So before I focus on how to grow your business, I want you to think about the reasons why you want to grow your business, and please feel free to share them with us.

In Part 2 of growing your business we are going to take an overview of the window cleaning industry and highlight some of the opportunities window cleaning offers.

If you want to send me an e-mail directly you can do so from the contact us page on the site

Best regards,

Carl Phillips
Clear View Plus Ltd

A Warm Welcome

Hi, I'd like to welcome you to our very first blog ever!

As you can imagine, we have the opportunity to chat to many hundreds of window cleaners with varying sizes of business, from the owner operators to the large multi-vehicle operations.

We thought that it would be nice to share some of the experience we have gained through our interactions with these businesses and of course within our own sucessful window cleaning company.
Your can find out more on our window cleaning operations at:

The longer that I am in Business the more I realise there is to learn regarding Marketing, Customer Care, Finance and the list goes on and on. So using the analogy that a problem shared, is a problem halved, this is your opportunity to test us and find the answers to your business questions.

We are privileged to have a very strong management team with a broad skill set and all of the senior management here at clearview, have had vast window cleaning experience, so the likelihood is that we can help you with almost any window cleaning related questions you may have.