You know you’re in demand and ‘busy’ is great, but it’s always good to remind yourself of the essentials, so you stand out from the crowd and your set-up is watertight.
Here we take a look at tips for starting a small business successfully. Can you check all the boxes below? I know, obvious, right!?
1. Make sure you stand out from the crowd
With tradie jobs and service businesses being so competitive, it’s important to establish your business’s’ point of difference. Some great ways to stand out from the crowd is to put systems and processes in place for all your employees to follow. For example, always calling or sending an SMS to a client if you are stuck in traffic, emailing through quotations on the spot, recording before and after photos of the job etc. If you’re looking for an easy way to do this you can do a free trial of Geo which is an app that replaces inefficient, paper-based systems with a simple way to accurately create, assign, cost, quote and invoice jobs while in the field as well. It also helps to communicate these to your clients in meetings, on your website and in any marketing material.
2. First impressions count
Do you return enquiry calls promptly, show up on time, have your staff in well-presented attire and conduct audits of your work? All of these contribute to whether the customer or prospect would like to give you the opportunity to win the job so getting that first impression right is vital.
3. Make sure you are licensed
These vary by country, state, by type and size of job and even by business structure. Make sure you have done your research and you have the right licences in place. Your states licensing body can help you with all the information you need. Also, make sure you keep up with changes to the requirements as well.
4. Get insured
Trades & services are exposed to more risks than almost any other occupation. Public liability, workers compensation, income protection, and tools protection are just a few of the insurances to consider. A good insurance broker that specialises in trade insurance packs can help you stay on guard with everything that you need.
5. Become the local “go-to”
Your market can never be “everyone, everywhere”. It is better to identify the points of difference you deliver, your ideal clients (size, industry and location if applicable) and focus on targeting those and any subsequent marketing efforts.
6. Do you have a website?
More than ever before, an online presence helps build credibility and is the most popular way for prospects and clients to find out more about you and qualify your work. A basic two to three-page website covering your background, project photos and solid references can be achieved on a tight budget and may be all that you need in order to secure more work. It’s also a great way to field more inquiries about your business too and means if someone is inquiring outside business hours you can have the request as soon as you are back in the office.
7. Know a good accountant
They can assist you with everything from your regular tax obligations like Employee Contributions and GST, as well as helping you establish the right business and tax structure for your operations. There are also some great cloud accounting solutions that you can use for your business letting you run your business and access your accounts from your home, business or on the run, anywhere. Using an accountant that is an expert in cloud accounting solutions also lets you ensure they are up to date with your accounts in real time and can also focus on advising you on the future direction and growth of your business. If you are looking at an app like Geo, we also integrate with cloud accounting solutions like Xero and Quickbooks allowing a seamless invoicing process from jobs.
8. Protection in the term and conditions
Having clearly written and formally accepted terms and conditions are just as important for you as they are for the customer. Along with a detailed quote these should cover payment terms and most importantly consequence of “non-payment” clauses. A good lawyer can help you establish this at a one-off cost.
9. Track and measure success
Your time is your most valuable asset, so it pays to know what is working for you and what is not. Set yourself a quote success rate; it may be 5 out of 10 jobs or even higher. And if you aren’t winning those jobs, ask for feedback and analyse why.
10. Referrals are rewarding
Of the many professions out there, it is the trades and services businesses that most home-owners actively seek the peace of mind of a qualified referral. Using these tips will help bring in new leads and talk of your outstanding service spread. Even better, you can incentivise your customers to refer you as well with a referral scheme.
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