November 25, 2018 NSEA, Small business


Robert Neumann was 45 years old and on unemployment benefits when he decided to have a go at starting his own cleaning business, with help from the NEIS program at RMIT. He started his business in 2000 and is about to retire, having run his one-man cleaning service successfully for 18 years.

Robert recently wrote to his original NEIS teacher Anthony Phillips (now Coordinator of Business Advisory Services at Box Hill Institute), talking about the NEIS program and what it did for the business he ran for so long. With Robert’s permission, we are sharing the letter with you below. We wish you all the best in your retirement Robert!

Hi Tony

Just wanting to let you know that I consider the success of my business over the last 18 years is due to my participation in the NEIS program. I completed my studies in Certificate IV Small Business Management (NEIS) at RMIT Bundoora on 30 November 2000.

The tasks I learnt in the classroom gave me the confidence that I could start my own business and own it and manage it, and that if I was prepared to put in the hours it would be a long-term success.

I am a sole trader in the cleaning industry and my tasks are Domestic cleaning, Window cleaning and Gutter clearing.

I only completed year 10 at school and would not have been able to manage my bookkeeping, advertising to my target market, budgeting, diarising work 12 months in advance, etc. and putting money into Superannuation and budgeting for annual leave, without having learnt these skills through the NEIS program.

In the early years I had to advertise to generate work, and to establish my business; and since then I have relied on repeat clientele and word-of-mouth referrals.

I have had to be adaptable and move with the times. I used to advertise in 4 local newspapers, and did not own a computer or have an email address in the early years. The last few years my clients have been referring my business on social media, which I think is good as I am not using social media myself.

This small one-man business has provided me with a reasonably secure income and lifestyle freedom to take a month’s annual leave and all public holidays, whilst working a five day week.

The only reason I am closing my business is I am retiring at the end of 2018. As I have been working for 48 years, it’s time for my wife and I to enjoy more family time and travel, whilst we are still young enough.

I am hoping for the NEIS program to continue for many more decades, to turn out many more successful long term small business owners.

Robert Neumann
Career Cleaning

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