Now is a great time to be running a trade business – even with the challenging economic climate, many tradespeople are now busier than ever. If you’re considering taking your business to the next level and scaling up in 2023, here are eight things you need to think about.
Prepare for growth
This is one of the first things to consider carefully if you’re thinking about scaling your business. Assess if you have the capacity to deliver more work and where the limit is before you’ll need to hire additional staff. It will save you stress in the long run if you are able to predict this rather than running into issues down the line where you cannot deliver work because you haven’t got sufficient staff. This can be tricky to navigate as you need to balance hiring at the right time when you can afford it, with ensuring you aren’t overbooking work before you have help. This is why preparation and knowing your capacity are key.
Consider diversifying your services
This is the time to get a little creative: what skills do you have, or closely relate to the skills you offer, that could broaden your business opportunities? Expanding your existing services may draw in another type of customer, which means more business, and brings you a step closer to affording more staff. Would you offer these complimentary services yourself? Or partner with / hire someone who can?
One of the best ways to grow your business is to make your work speak for itself. When looking for a tradesperson, most customers will ask people they know for recommendations and then check out online reviews, and they will trust those over any other information, so happy former customers means more future customers!
Producing quality work, being professional and building friendly relationships with your customers all go a long way to impressing your client. People are more likely to remember and recommend tradespeople who surprise them by being extra friendly, punctual and efficient. Looking the part is a major element of a good impression, so why not upgrade your van with one of our Get Stowed units to show off your organisation and professionalism!
Effective communication skills are another key way to impress clients. Communicating clearly, not only when arranging the job, but also explaining the work in layman’s terms helps people feel fully informed about the project. By taking this extra care you are more likely to generate future work without approaching people yourself. It will also increase the likelihood of people coming back to you for jobs they may have in the future.
Follow up with clients
This is another great way to increase the likelihood of a recommendation, following up with previous clients to make sure everything is as expected is a sure way to show clients you take pride in your work and care that they are satisfied. This will also keep you in their mind if any other work does arise, and you can take the opportunity to ask them for a review on whichever online platform you use the most. It would also be the perfect way to advertise any additional services you have developed!
Local business directories
Old school directories haven’t gone away, and many people still search local listings (print and online) when looking for local businesses, particularly older clients. Same goes for adverts in local newspapers and newsletters.
Then there are the online trade directories, like CheckATrade and TrustedTraders (and the many others). These big platforms have a lot of SEO power (search engine optimisation – that’s the ability to show up high in online search results to you and me) so their results are likely to come up way before any individual businesses. A lot of people will look here before anywhere else, so making sure you have a strong profile – with information about yourself, images of past work and plenty of good reviews – on these sites is vital.
Social media marketing
Then over in the 21st century, if you’re going to grow your business you really do need a strong social presence that is tailored to your target audience. If you don’t know your Twitter from your TikTok, you might want to outsource this to a freelancer who really knows their stuff within your niche. They will be able to identify which platforms will work most effectively for you, create content that attracts these people, and design ads that will bring customers to you.
Effective marketing needs to really understand the target audience. Showing that their needs are understood builds trust and confidence in your business, and if you can create content that speaks their language and appeals to them then you can get them to stop scrolling for cat videos and listen to you.
Applying for funding
Not everyone is aware of the help that is available for small businesses. Applying for funding could give you the leg up you need to advance to the next stage. Investigating funding opportunities could pay off as there are both loans and grants up for grabs. Local Chambers of Commerce, business hubs and networking platforms often share links to funding sources, and there are local funding programmes in most areas which you should be able to find by searching online and asking around.