Natasha started her business armed with little more than passion and determination. Her early career as a professional ballerina, taught her nothing about the commercial world, so it was a steep learning curve to overcome.
The next two years were spent learning about business in general – payroll, invoicing, networking, marketing and understanding what clients wanted from a cleaning service. Armed with this knowledge, she began building the foundations of the business she has now, UKG Cleaning being the first in the UKG Lifestyle group.
From the outset, the focus was on delivering the best possible cleaning service – which meant having the best staff. Natasha hired a small team and provided thorough, professional training in the skills and techniques required, plus teaching of the ‘science’ behind the products and chemicals. This investment in her staff resulted in motivated people who took pride and care in their work.
As the business grew, Natasha started getting enquiries from the families of cleaning clients, asking if she could provide care services, due to her reliable and caring cleaning staff. The frequency of enquiries led her to realise there was a genuine need for good-quality, reliable care for clients in their own homes, and she felt compelled to do something about it. She spent the next 12 months researching what she would need to do, then put in place the required policies and procedures, set up a branch office, hired a manager, then staff, put a training programme in place and in 2015, registered with the Care Quality Commission. UKG Care was inspected in 2017 and rated ‘good’ overall and ‘outstanding’ for caring. Initially business came from cleaning clients, then rapidly grew by word-of-mouth referrals. She developed relationships with the local authority and soon had a regular source of funded care packages.
As with cleaning, Natasha invested heavily in professional staff training so that her teams had the ability and the confidence to provide the best possible care for clients. Initially, she struggled to find training courses at the level she insisted upon but, undeterred, sought advice from industry experts and then perfected her own, far superior in-house programmes, setting a new industry benchmark. This was the beginning of UKG Lifeskills, now a fully-fledged training Academy, which offers accredited and recognised qualifications for her own staff as well as other external organisations.
Natasha’s passion for learning and her own life experiences have fuelled her desire to help others ‘be the best they can be’, through training, education and employment.
UKG Lifestyle now employs around 180 staff across all group companies and is on track for more branches for UKG Care, growth of commercial contracts for UKG Cleaning and a 400+ trainee intake for UKG Lifeskills.