A moment of insanity

Welcome to the world of Oven Cleaning!

A few years ago it would have been unthinkable that we would be calling someone to clean one of the most used appliances in our home our oven or as it was more commonly known – a cooker!

The Sunday roast is still very much part of traditional British life and in days of yore poor Mother would be on her hands and knees spending Sunday afternoon cleaning the cooker of the grease and grime not only of the roast residues but of the rest of the week’s cooking – after all Monday was Cottage Pie day, Wednesday was something else etc. and not forgetting Apple Crumble, Rice Pudding, Pound Cake and more; if Mother was lucky Dad may offer or be conscripted to the task, I know my Dad never did. My earliest memories of life in the kitchen was this metal box in the corner the name ‘New World’ emblazoned on the front and with short curly cast iron legs!

Well, this is the new ‘New World’ of less time for common household chores – and oven cleaning seems to be the most hated chore in the household agenda.

About 20 years ago Oven Cleaning as a home service was born and a few enterprising people, remembering the old northern adage ‘Where’s there muck there’s money’ started business, franchising followed, then more independent local operators copying the success formula followed suit until today when the number of choices has grown to quite a few.

“So what made you get into this business?” is a question I am commonly asked – well for a start nobody made me!
It was a choice, but my favourite response is “Well is was a moment of insanity that has lasted 5 years” or however many years it has been – now approaching 12! I always get a laugh or a wry smile from my questioner.

I started with a franchise company in 2003 and moved from my native Sussex to the county of my Fathers ancestors – lovely Norfolk; my Grandad was true Norfolk as when leaving a visit to family in Hastings, Sussex, he would say “Well o’l be goin ome t England now” ( or something like that!). Family life and my exploits in Mum’s kitchen is another story as is my 25 years spent ‘down-under’ in wonderful Australia – missing some special friends!

Let’s fast track to approximately today and leave out all the other middle bits (more stories . . .!)

I set up Anglia Oven Care in June 2014 after appreciating that I needed a better exit plan from the Franchise so that I could retire at some time in my life and enjoy, amongst other things, some time with my daughter and family in Oz – and other family/friends also there. My life as present is shared with my two young sons – well the oldest approaching his teens so not so young so he thinks!

The first six months were busy for me simply rebranding and restructuring the business with enthusiasm and high motivation as an independent operator, and I carried on as I did before – all on my own, from ‘Wo to Go’ until I reached a sort of crisis point around November 2014 – where do I go from here?? Motivation and enthusiasm had died.

It took me three months to turn ‘down’ into ‘up’ with help from one specific book from my library of (mainly Aussie) self motivation books. I had had enough of doing this thing all on my own – that had to change!

I can’t remember when I joined Buy Local Norfolk – through the kind introduction of Glen Minter (Anglian Internet) but BLN has been instrumental in getting me on track and providing a small network of supporting business – Traded Network, Example Marketing, and Grow Your Business (East Anglia) and encouragement from board members and other businesses.

The other key to turning things round was in taking on another interest with enthusiasm – modern Jive dancing with ‘Ceroc’ – an absolutely fantastic way of meeting people in an enjoyable activity; one thing leads to another and that is where my Business Support, Vicky Bristow came from – a joy and pleasure to work with, I say ‘with’ because I may be the ‘boss’ but I can at last see in my working life actually creating a business that has long been a dream – one based on collaboration; I hope anyone who works ‘for’ me ‘owns their job’ – their future if they want to make it . . another ‘moment of insanity’ for someone else!

by Simon of Anglia Ovencare


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