In this interview on The Logros Show – in association with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce – Lee Dinsdale talks to Karim Samani – owner or TechCleaners who provide specialised cleaning solutions to help improve workplace wellbeing. Find out why TechCleaners started up – and how they are helping businesses across the UK.
Interview with Karim Samani at Unity Radio – The Real Sound of the City
Lee: Good afternoon Karim, how are you doing? Karim is the owner of TechCleaners which is based in Urmston. They provide specialised cleaning solutions in the UK for wellbeing reasons. This is always my favourite part of chatting to guests, particularly those who have been employed or working for somebody for a while and they have a business idea, and think right what are the next steps? How do I leave this world behind me and move into the next one? So you set the scene before, you went down to London and using a computer desk, you swabbed it, took it to the lab. It came back, showed that it was full of bacteria and decided on the back of that you would set up your own company doing cleaning based on statistics of absenteeism. Can you tell us, what was running through your mind as to the steps that you needed to take to leave your job and set up your own company?
Karim: The first thing that I thought at the time was what is the cost of my wellbeing? How much is the cost to a company for me to have a week off work? Why are companies not thinking about workstation cleanliness, because that is important? People work on the workstations eight or nine hours a day. So because I didn’t get any realistic answers, I thought I need to do something about this. That’s where my passion came from. The first person I discussed that with was my wife, she’s my second boss! My first boss was my boss at work.
The first thing that I thought at the time was what is the cost of my wellbeing? How much is the cost to a company for me to have a week off work? Why are companies not thinking about workstation cleanliness, because that is important? People work on the workstations eight or nine hours a day.
Lee: How did you pitch it to your wife?
Karim: I pitched it to my wife with the evidence that I had from the lab report. I explained to her my full business idea of how we could turn it into a business venture.
Lee: What was the response?
Karim: She was very supportive. For myself coming from a financial background the first most important thing to start any business is to put your financial plan together. If you sit at home, do you have enough finances to support yourself before your business is doing well? I set up my two year resignation plan because I wanted to have enough money in my bank whilst trying to establish a business.
Lee: Okay tip number one for those seeking to leave their job, the resignation plan. I’ve never heard that term before – it’s great. By the way, I’m not telling everyone to leave their jobs.
Karim: No please don’t unless you have a good plan and good financial support as well.
Lee: So what else was in your plan?
Karim: Well it was also how will the whole model work operationally because, it’s not easy. How are you going to hire the staff, what kind of staff do you look for. So it’s the financial model and the operational model of the business.
Lee: So what do you mean by the operational model.
Karim: So how will the business operate? How far will you travel to provide services? How many people will we need in the business to go and clean a work-station? It’s mostly corporate and they will ask how long will it take to clean a workstation, how often you will do it and also what is the cost? From those three factors you can drive a cost.
Lee: What about your marketing? You were starting the business from scratch, so how did you go about that?
Karim: That’s the difficult part. Make sure you have enough money in the pot for marketing, because that’s where most of the money will go. I used a lot of networking groups. I went to seek advice from people who are very experienced and this is important. Linkedin is a fantastic platform actually to start with.
Make sure you have enough money in the pot for marketing, because that’s where most of the money will go. I used a lot of networking groups. I went to seek advice from people who are very experienced and this is important.
Lee: Okay a big shout out to The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Karim: Absolutely. They are amazing, they support you so well. From the time I became a member, they have provided so many opportunities. One of them is I am talking to Unity Radio and trying to inspire the young generation if they ever want to go into the business.
Lee: Okay, so top tips, we have got the financial plan. We have sought permission from another boss, if we have one. We’ve got marketing. What was the deciding factor, because creating change amongst people is difficult? A lot of significant job change can often come from redundancy, and I understand you just quit your job. What was the factor for you that, you thought, I can do this?
Karim: I think I had a very good belief in myself. Self-belief has always been my strongest point and I worked on that, and I was backed by the research that I had done into this area. I was very strongly backed with the numbers, the facts, the research and I strongly believed in my service.
Lee: Now tell us a bit more about the evidence that you built up and why you quit your job. We will talk about absenteeism and employer responsibilities around cleanliness in the workplace to maintain wellbeing.
Karim: I was looking at the figures released by the Nation Office of statistics. In 2018 UK businesses have lost 141.4 million days due to absenteeism. Out of that 38.5 million days were lost due to minor illnesses. People get sick with colds and flu. This costs UK businesses nine billion.
Lee: So what is the average on absenteeism? Are there any stats on that?
Karim: Let’s say if we are looking at the UK as a whole and the average salary is about 29k a year. If one employee goes off sick, this costs the business about £560 a week.
Lee: Okay, so Karim comes along with his amazing business idea, then what happens?
Karim: We go to the businesses and we work with them. We say if you have 2 hundred employees and your absenteeism is 10%, if you use our service you can reduce it by 30% of that. So technically they are saving money. Employers then feel positive, they have employee retention. Employees feel positive, active, and if the workstation around them, ln which they may spend 8 – 9 hours a day, is clean, that will bring a positive vibe.
We say if you have 2 hundred employees and your absenteeism is 10%, if you use our service you can reduce it by 30% of that. So technically they are saving money.
Lee: Do you notice that then?
Karim: Absolutely. We have people who have OCD. We have people working in very high positions in businesses who have OCD, asthma, and cleanliness is a passion for them, like myself. So what about them? How are businesses helping them as well? We take the messages to the business and say, cleanliness in general is important.
Achieving Excellence with Karim Samani
Lee: To wrap up, I want to finish off with achieving excellence. In your view how do you be the best version from a business perspective and yourself actually?
Karim: I would say it is very important how you present yourself to other people. Your presentation is what people buy and what people love. If you cannot present yourself, people will not buy into you. Secondly I would say network with the businesses, but network with open heart and arms, network with love. It is very important how you connect with people. Business is not about just going and doing the business, it’s about how you connect with people. If you value people, people will value you. You must like the people that you speak to. Understand that people have to like you, but before that you need to like them, that you have a need to connect with them. Also always smile. Put a massive smile on your face. I’m sitting here in front of you and I’m definitely smiling and you are smiling. People want to deal with people who have a great positive vibe about them.
Lee: Yes it’s a global language, smiling.
Karim: Yes and show dignity to people, respect them and listen to them. Try to understand what they do as a business. Understand their story and why they do what they do. That’s where you can connect with them, find a common ground. This is what I have learned, and what I breathe every day.
Try to understand what they do as a business. Understand their story and why they do what they do. That’s where you can connect with them, find a common ground.
Lee: Okay, network with love, I like that. Just to finish off, explain where people can find more about your business.
Karim: You can find me on my website www.techcleaners.co.uk . Also on Linkedin, just type in my name. I’m sure Lee will put some details on the socials, so please connect with me. If you would like to have any discussions with me I am more than happy to mentor you in the process.
Lee: Okay, thank you very much for coming in.
Karim: Thank you Lee and also thanks to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Lee: Thank you.
Article Transcription by Terry Capostagno
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