You’ve done a few years in the trade. Now what?
Starting anything can feel overwhelming, especially when it is as life-changing as going out on your own. So where do you start? Well, it’s a bit like eating an elephant…one bite at a time. Read on for the first instalment of our Starting Your Own Trade Business in Australia blog series.
The First Bite – Get a Taste for Your Why
The first question to ask yourself is ‘why’. Why do you want to go out on your own at this point? You’ve finished trade school and might have a few years under your belt. Maybe you’re looking to take control of your life or start to build your own legacy. Maybe you’re just looking for more job satisfaction or a challenge. There is no wrong answer, but it’s important to identify your answer, your reason for wanting to strike out on your own. So that when things get tough – and they will at some point – that you remember why you wanted to do this in the first place.
The Downside – Getting Noticed
It’s not all going to be sunshine and Bunnings sausages, so let’s get real and meet some of those challenges now. You are going to struggle to be noticed and sometimes you may feel like the service you’re offering is invisible to customers. Yep, customers are going to completely overlook you at times. At other times, they are going to see you, but not choose you, and instead go with a competitor who has more experience. Because these more experienced people, who are offering the same service you’re offering, are going to be around you. Better the devil you know, right? So you’ll need to get comfortable with the fact that sometimes, you’ll be the devil your customers don’t know.
The Upside – Your Digital Advantage
So how do you become visible? How do you become the one that customers consistently choose? The answer is to lean into your strengths. If you’re young and have recently left trade school or have just a few years of experience, your strength is going to be in embracing digital solutions, making your business cost-effective and efficient from the very start.
You understand technology better than any other generation. You already know that digital marketing is going to give you a huge advantage in reaching a large number of customers. And you know that those essential processes which a business relies on to run, can often be done better with technology. Furthermore, you probably have your finger on the digital pulse of your customers. Which means that if (or rather, when) their expectations change, you can more easily change with it.
The Bottom Line is…Your Bottom Line Will be Better Off
From the day you start trading, you will have to go through a steep learning curve. With this, you’ll gain some invaluable knowledge, but your learning curve won’t be as steep as those who aren’t as comfortable with a digital environment.
With the assistance of a quotation software, you could be profitable from day 1. How? Simple! These digital tools (Xero, Myob, even basic Microsoft Excel templates) allow you to layout all of your costs upfront so you can calculate your margins to the cent, without having to get caught out by surprises later on. Understanding how to price accurately from the get-go will set you up for long term success. This is an incredible advantage you have over those who had to ‘learn the hard way!’
Good Customer Service – Get Those Repeat Customers & Referrals
It’s not all about digital technology. Some wise person (Maya Angelou) once said “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”. That’s the easiest way to stand out from your competition, even if they have more experience than you – people will remember great customer service.
So even if you’re flat out and you’re unable to respond to quotes – get on the phone, and give your ‘future customer to be’ the courtesy call to advise on your availability. In fact, if you’re too busy to take on the job, take things one step further and recommend someone you know who may be able to help. You’ll find those ethical actions (helping others) have a funny way of reciprocating!
Referrals and word of mouth are the best form of advertising for any business, particularly start-ups, so do take the extra care to ensure top notch customer service once you secure your clients. Building your business isn’t about spending large sums of cash upfront on glitzy and expensive marketing – but you will need to get the word out there to build up your client base – and the right digital marketing techniques can prove to be a low cost, high impact option.
In our next article, we walk you through some of the practical steps of where to start in setting up your own trade business.
If you would like to get more advice about how to best set up your trade business in Australia, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Consultya. We offer free, no obligation, 30 minute consultations.
Phone: 0428 20 40 50