Running a successful trade business isn’t easy. You need to manage your on-site tradies, keep a close eye on head office operations, ensure you’re delivering quality work, and generate new business while you’re at it. Here are five things you can do to set your tradie venture up for success.
1. Create a business plan
If you don’t have a business plan in place, make it a priority to create one. It helps you identify and understand your target market, unique selling point (USP), your competition, and the road blocks you’re likely to face along the way. Your business plan should detail the strategies you’ll implement to overcome those challenges and set your business up for success.
2. Protect your cash flow
Cash flow is like oxygen for your business. Too many debtors and mounting expenses will quickly push your finances to the edge. It’s important to set clear payment terms before accepting new work, and consider dividing long-running jobs into a series of milestone payments so you don’t have to wait until the end of the project to get paid. Accounting software like QuickBooks Online makes invoicing and identifying overdue accounts easy.
3. Don’t over-capitalise
When it comes to growing your business, it can be tempting to go all out on hiring new staff and spending up big on new tools and machinery. But be careful. Hiring sub-contractors may be a better short-term solution than recruiting full-time staff that you’ll still need to pay if your workload dries up. Also, renting non-essential equipment might make more financial sense than putting a big slice of your capital into purchasing occasionally used big-ticket items.
4. Keep your top talent
Good help can be hard to find, so when you do find talented workers – whether skilled tradespeople or valuable head office employees – you need to invest in retaining them. This can be as simple as being generous with the praise you offer or extend to a formal incentives program that rewards high-performing employees with modest gifts or bonuses. But perhaps most important is ensuring you run a supportive and inclusive workplace – no one likes to work in a toxic environment.
5. Master your marketing
Gone are the days when it was enough to place an ad in your local newspaper and wait for the work to come rolling in. Your customers have gone digital – and so should you. Invest in creating a good website and focus on search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure it ranks highly on Google. You can turn on and off paid Google campaigns as your workload dictates and will help you increase your business’s online exposure.