In today's world it's not always easy to find time to relax.

But local businesswoman Julie Apps has founded an innovative company that may offer a solution to a hectic lifestyle.

Ms Apps, who lives in Kings Heath, left her job at Cadbury's six months ago to establish the Smart Alternative - a company that offers cleaning, shopping and a variety of household tasks to busy customers.

"I've always wanted to run my own company so I went down to my local library and started to research UK lifestyle trends.

"What emerged was the increasing problem of people being cash rich and time poor, so I decided to fund Smart Alternative to take some of the jobs off busy people."

Although the majority of her clients are young professionals looking for cleaning and ironing services, Ms Apps said she has been surprised by the range of people who have contacted her.

"We have all sorts of customers," she said.

"From an 83-year-old widower who uses us to do his shopping and arrange for work to be done on his house, to a heart surgeon who wanted us to help him move into his new home."

The firm currently employs three people, but Ms Apps said her ultimate aim was to franchise the business.

"One day I would like to see a whole fleet of Smart Alternative SMART cars - but for now I am concentrating on growing the business without jeopardising our personal touch," she said.