I have been working with people who have trade businesses for the past 15 years. From blocklayers, electrical contractors, plumbers, windows and doors professionals, civil works and building contractors. While each business is different in its own way, there are many similarities.

Here are some pieces of advice that apply to them all.

        1. Whatever stage your business is at, you should be generating more than 50% of your business from referral or repeat business. This reduces your advertising costs but it should also be a reflection of the fact that you deliver a good service and people are happy to recommend you.
        2. Most trades businesses rely on new business each week and month.If that’s the case with your business, then you need to get good at marketing and selling your business. In most cases all trades businesses are under pressure to win business based on the lowest tendered cost. This is fine if you are still making your target margins but very often trades businesses are working to keep people in jobs and keep the bills paid – this is not a good strategy. There is more to selling than just price.

3. All trades business rely heavily on the skills and abilities of the team. However, not every trades business owner has experience in hiring developing and retaining the right people. Equally, they are even less skilled at removing dead wood from their business. If your business relies on your team, you need to develop your leadership skills.

        4. Knowing your costs in your trades business is critical to your success. Running a lean business allows you to win business and make a margin. The key to running a business in a lean manner is systems and most have very few. Its just now how the business is run but you need them to grow. Implementing systems is easy but not always straightforward.
        5. Understand what business you are in. In most instances you are the problem solver. Your skills and abilities have a value. Most people sourcing your services do not understand what you do so they negotiate on price. Its your jobs to do some education.

Over the next few weeks, I will be issuing a series of documents on running your trade business.