FSB Member Stories: Sarah Aoki, Perfect Cleaning Solutions

FSB Member Story 25 Jul 2022

We joined Sarah Aoki and her team on the job to hear more about how she started her own cleaning company, Perfect Cleaning Solutions. From finding a mentor at a networking session to accessing legal advice, Sarah shares how FSB has supported her in her business journey.  

Perfect Cleaning Solutions is a commercial cleaning company based in West Lothian, serving customers around Edinburgh. They provide regular cleaning services for offices, bars, shops and more.  

The business was originally started by Sarah Aoki’s husband, but she soon took an active role. “Cleaning seemed something that had a low barrier to entry and fairly an easy business to start. I was helping him from the beginning, and it provided us both with a sense of responsibility,” said Sarah. 

“When I graduated from university, I decided to take the role as a Managing Director and started growing the business steadily. I quickly realised that the business became something that was bigger than just cleaning. I did feel in the beginning that cleaners were not particularly treated well, especially when I was the one doing most of the cleaning. And I wanted to change that through our business so that we can provide people with a safe and fair workplace,” Sarah added. 

What's the best thing about working for yourself? 
The best thing about working for myself is that I can make decisions that have an impact. When I was working for someone else, I was often frustrated that I did not have a say about things. But with my own business, I always have the final word and can make the actual decision.  

Although this can be daunting sometimes, it is incredibly satisfying to see that your decisions lead to actions and actions to outcomes. The perfect way to put it is ‘with great power comes great responsibility'. 
What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business? 

I find it helpful when I make a mind map or one-page business plan so that I can see my business at a glance. Making budgets and managing finance becomes important so it would be a good idea to do some course on accounting or get someone on board who can manage this for you. I also try to model good practices from other established businesses to make our company better. 
The most important thing is to keep learning and keep evolving as a business. Don’t worry if you haven’t everything figured out or laid out on a beautiful business plan. Business is all about making mistakes, learning from them, and becoming better. Don’t overthink it, just start and improve as you go. 

Want support for your business like Sarah? Join the Federation of Small Businesses today

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Running your own business is rewarding, but you don’t have to face the challenges alone. As an FSB member, you’ll have all the support and expertise you need to start, run and grow your business.

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