Many tradies aspire to start their own business, but don’t know where to start. Here are 6 tips for running a successful trade business:
1. Standing Out
When you start a new business, attracting customers often comes down to standing out from from the crowd.
One way to do this is through branding. Make sure you’re putting a lot of thought into your business name and logo – you want a name and an image that sells. Run your ideas by other people, including those in your industry.
Making your business stand out can also mean offering your customers something that sets you apart from your competitors. Maybe you have a high turn-around for quotes, or make a courtesy call to customers 30 minutes before arrival. Give customers a reason to choose you over other businesses providing the same service.
2. Paperwork and Documents
Before you start accepting any jobs, make sure you have checked all of the legal boxes required to start a business in your industry.
Apply for an ABN, and register your business name through the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. You will also need to understand all of your taxation obligations, and ensure that you and any employees have obtained any necessary licenses and insurances required, including work vehicle insurance.
If you want exclusive rights to your business name, you will also need to apply for a trade mark.
3. Online Presence
Having a website and a social media presence is an effective way to give your business a sense of credibility, whilst drawing in new customers.
A professional website design with a mixture of text and images will give visitors a good first impression. Include your contact details and a list of products and services. One powerful way to establish your business as a reliable choice is to feature testimonials from previous customers.
An online presence also opens up the opportunity for cost-effective marketing, including social media, Google AdWords, and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Services– to rank better in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. This way users can find you easily online and you get more sales. Finally, check out online directories, such as yellow pages, True Local, White Pages, and Oneflare, where you can register your business and browse a list of available jobs.
4. Streamlining Day-To-Day Operations
There are so many sophisticated tools available for small business owners. Among these are applications used by tradies to assist with tasks such as project tracking, ruling, levelling, sketching, and turning your phone into an LED flashlight.
There are also cloud-based accounting platforms to help you stay on top of your book-keeping, and video chat applications that allow groups of people to hold meetings while in various different locations.
5. Measuring Your Progress
Reflect on the performance of your business on a regular basis and identify any areas you think need more attention.
For example, if you’re not winning as many jobs as you anticipated, analyse why that that might be and find out what your competitors are doing. Keep a record of how much revenue you’re making each month, the amount of time spent on non-billable tasks, and what feedback you’re receiving from customers.
Adjust your goals and always keep an eye out for ways you can improve.