Founded by former financial controller Karim Samani (pictured below), the business specialises in professional disinfection of IT devices using high-grade antibacterial products.
In three years, the company has built up a loyal customer base of firms looking to give their tech a new lease of life, while improving employee health and wellbeing and reducing staff absenteeism.
During 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic presented the fledgling firm with a series of challenges and opportunities.
Faced with office closures and the rise of home working, Karim turned to the GC Business Growth Hub to improve its digital marketing, communications, branding and customer retention strategy.
The hub’s innovation team has helped TechDisinfect to reboot its website, enhance its social media presence and implement a new Customer Relationship Management system.
The support has secured new business for the firm, helped it retain existing customers, and boosted sales and profits. It’s also safeguarded existing jobs and helped the company to recruit new staff.
TechDisinfect is now ready to go for growth as office staff return to the workplace after the pandemic.
Trafford firm looks to clean up as workers return to office
Urmston-based TechDisinfect is on a mission to make our workplaces cleaner, safer, healthier and more productive.
The company was founded by Karim Samani in 2019 and employs a specialist team who use high-grade antibacterial products to professionally clean and disinfect office IT equipment. Its own brand products are lab-tested (EN 14476) to effectively kill Coronavirus, MERS-CoV, Norovirus and other pathogens.
Covid-19 has raised awareness of the importance of workplace hygiene as part of infection prevention and control. But with more employees working from home, the pandemic also posed challenges for TechDisinfect’s business model.
Karim, a former financial controller for Blue Chip Companies including Ford and ITV, spoke to the Hub about the impact of unhygienic IT devices on his own health – and how this inspired him to set up the company.
He explains why he’s optimistic about the company’s post pandemic growth ambitions thanks to support from the Hub which has already helped the firm to boost sales and take on new staff…
‘Unhygienic IT equipment made me sick – I knew something had to change’
Before I set up TechDisinfect I travelled the world as a successful financial controller, often ‘hotdesking’ in different offices.
I began to notice how filthy the IT equipment often was. So much effort would go into cleaning office floors, carpets, kitchens and toilets yet the equipment we spend eight hours a day working on was forgotten about.
I would tip keyboards over and all sorts of nasties would pop out: hair, bits of food, dust. And of course, that’s just the stuff you can see. There’s also all kinds of hidden bacteria and pathogens lurking on our tech which can make us ill, harm our wellbeing and also damage workplace performance and productivity.
I was getting sick myself quite a lot and developed long-term allergy problems for which I still have to take antihistamines daily.
This was the lightbulb moment for me when I realised there was a need for a professional IT equipment disinfection company.
And so TechDisinfect was born…
The first year or so was about getting the business up and running and trying to take the concept to market. We were also successful in getting TechDisinfect registered as a Trademark.
We also commissioned lab research to get solid evidence of what substances and pathogens were lurking in our tech. The results confirmed our suspicions with everything from food crumbs, dust and hair to maggots and dead flies uncovered. At the microscopic level the list of bacteria was also eye watering including Norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria, Swine Flu and more.
We were beginning to see the business take off. Then Covid hit, and of course everything changed.
The Covid crisis: a challenge and an opportunity
Covid-19 has undoubtedly raised awareness of the importance of good workplace hygiene and infection control measures. However, lockdowns have also meant a massive reduction in the number of people physically working in offices.
We adapted at first, providing ‘pop up’ cleaning services to disinfect IT equipment properly before staff took them home. But some of our customers also went out of business, so there were real challenges.
Never one to let a crisis go to waste, I contacted the GC Business Growth hub to see if we could use the time to review where we were as a business, a year after start up. The priority was to improve our approach to branding and marketing, enhance our overall digital presence and put in place a better customer relationship management system.
The Hub has helped us transform all these aspects of our business and we were able to secure a £25,000 business loan from GC Business Finance to implement the changes.
Hub innovation team has transformed our digital strategy
The team at the Hub understood right away what needed doing and got to work helping us improve our entire digital strategy including marketing and branding.
Crucially, we’ve given the TechDisinfect website a much-needed overhaul. It’s now much more professional with a striking video on the home screen which shows the disinfecting process in action.
The new website is focused on ensuring a seamless customer journey – making sure we keep users engaged through all the key touch points, right through to the call to action. We’ve enhanced all the content including an impressive animation video which really showcases our product offering.
We’ve also upped our game on social media – with better content, a more visible presence and a growing and engaged audience. You should see all the comments and likes on my LinkedIn posts now!
New branding including staff uniforms and packaging has also helped customers to understand who we are and what our offer is.
A new and improved CRM system was the final piece in the jigsaw. This has been critical to winning new customers and keeping them.
Thanks to the innovation team we’re ready for the post Covid recovery
Despite the difficulties caused by Covid, our business has not only survived but thrived during the last 18 months since seeking help from the Hub.
While we did lose some business, overall, we are now in a much better position to capitalise on the reopening of the economy during the rest of 2021 and beyond. I think we will still see home working, but I am confident workers will begin to return to the office.
Now with our improved digital strategy in place I am sure this will lead to more new business opportunities for TechDisinfect.
During the pandemic we have diversified our business and launched WellbeingandErgonomics which is a part of TechDisinfect. The new business provides ergonomic, sustainable, agile and smart workstation solutions from an individual to a large corporate. Extending the notion of wellbeing beyond just I.T. Disinfection.
There’s a great deal of synergy between the two businesses and there should be opportunities for each to support the other. Hub played a vital role in digital innovation for the new business as well.
Hub support has delivered tangible business benefits
We’ve been able to attribute concrete benefits to the support we’ve received from the Hub such as an increase in new business enquiries of 13.8% over 12 months and an increase in website traffic (up 37% over a year)
Then there’s the two jobs we’ve safeguarded alongside the four we’ve created – and I am confident our workforce will be expanded in the coming months.
Despite the economic challenges of Covid-19 we have also seen sales and profits increase – up 45% and 15% respectively. In addition, we’ve secured 15 new corporate clients including schools, offices/call centres and manufacturing businesses.
Ambitious plans to make the most of market opportunities
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated how uncertain life can be. But as an entrepreneur you’ve got to be optimistic and I’m hopeful we have now turned the corner.
These are exciting times for TechDisinfect and WellbeingandErgonomics. We have ambitious plans to develop the business using a franchise model and to grow our own brand product offering.
There’s a market there for the products and services we offer – and thanks to help from Hub we are now in much better position to capitalise on those opportunities.
To book your risk assessment, health and safety consultation and services. You can contact TechDisinfect through their website https://techdisinfect.co.uk or contact them directly by phone 0161 726 5007.
If you’re an SME in Greater Manchester that has the ambition, capacity and drive to grow, the Hub’s specialist Digital Innovation Advisors are here for you. They’ll help you identify the key things needed to become digitally innovative and guide you on your digital transformation journey.