As year 2012 approaches many Nigerians will definitely review their business activities for 2011. For those who are not satisfied with the return on investment of their current business they will want to veer off into more lucrative businesses.
One of the rules to starting a successful business is identifying challenges and everyday problems encountered by the people, or communities around you.
If you need to start a business that you can grow to become successful and profitable the Laundry and Dry Cleaning business can be a good option. However before you consider starting a dry cleaning business you have to put into serious considerations the following factors;
a) Location: Your area of coverage matters a lot. If you start a dry cleaning business in a poor neighbourhood where 90% of the population prefer to do their laundry themselves due to lack of funds you may be climbing a steep hill and success will be far tougher to achieve. You will have a better chance at success if you identify an area, neighbourhood or even a residential estate where the standard of living is average and above average. You can then be sure that if you do the right things you will achieve relative success.
b) Level of Competition: Dry cleaning and Laundry services may be lucrative but not when you are entering into a ground already occupied by several laundry services. You will have to do extra creative and ingenious work to turn your business into a success. So before you launch into any town or area do your business diligence and find out the level of competition if any.
c) Finance: The amount of capital at your disposal will determine things like if you start with two staff or only yourself, if you introduce mechanised laundry or make do with the manual process of laundry. Depending on the area you are and the level of competition available these things may matter.
These are some of the factors to consider. Now how exactly do you go about ensuring that you start and run a successful laundry business.
In writing thsi article we assume you have either registered your company/business or you should know the Steps involved in incorporating or registering your business. So we go straight into the framework of what you need to do to start a succesful laundry and dry cleaning business.
1. Define Your Scope: The laundry and dry cleaning business covers many aspects. There are cloth washing, rug and carpet cleaning, industrial cleaning and fumigation, office and home cleaning etc. You will have to determine what you start on and what your scope should cover. Later when you grow more successful you can always add extra services. What you decide to start with will be determined by the capital at your disposal and the ease of implementation. of course you know that starting an industrial cleaning service will involve more costs as equipment and chemicals will be needed.
2. Analyse Your Target Market: Determine the level of target audience you will be reaching out to. What can they afford. Will they have the time to bring clothes to you or will you have to implement a pick and delivery system? Get your priorities right so you know how to start.
3. Start Small and Grow Quick: One of the many mistakes made by intending business owners is that they wait to get all things in place before starting. After analysing your target
market start. Your aim should be to start and learn the lessons quickly and improve forward. If the area you cover is big hire a couple of sales guys to go round, inform potential customers of your service, pick up laundry items etc.
4. How To Get Enough Clients/Customers: Getting customers and then satisfying and surpassing their expectations is key to succeeding in this business. There is one sure way to get a handful of first time customers if you are starting out new. Get as many people as possible to send in a specific number of laundry each (maybe maximum of five per person) FREE. Work as hard as you can and deliver to them. You will have automically made them customers.
5. Retain Your Customers: In the 21st century business has gone more proactive. Get a computer if you have none and use any simple data managment program such as Microsoft Access to build and maintain contact list of your customers. Include each customers’ birthday if possible (You can get this by using a customer form to politely get useful data from every new customer such as Name, address, age, phone and email etc). Make the form simple and explain that you need the information to serve them better and inform
them of new offers or special promos.
6. Take Care of Bits and Ends: In addition to all we have stated there are always hundreds of other tiny bits of things you need to be care of. Some may come up when you begin to grow while some are challenges that may occur on daily basis.
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If you aren’t going to use mechanised laundry you will need space for drying laundry. That is an example of other challenges you will face.
When you grow a bit you may need to have a fool proof way of labelling customer laundry so there will be no mixups.
If you start home pick up and delivery You will need to come up with a stress free and as well risk free payment system. Do your agents or delivery guys collect the payments on your behalf? How do you deal with difficult customers?
These are all tidbits of challenges you may face but the good thing is that they can all be solved with a bit of creativity.