The majority of small to medium trade businesses begin with a hands-on tradie, someone with terrific practical skills and know-how, looking at their current employer and thinking, “I could not only do this, I could do it better.”

But there are crucial differences between the tradie who succeeds in their own business and the one who struggles, not least in recognising that what happens on the job is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the water, lie the hidden implications, the financial, legal and logistic aspects that make the day-to-day operations possible and the business feasible.

So, here are some top tips to keep your trade business not merely surviving but thriving:

o The Plan. The hallmark of any successful business lies in shaping a plan which is viable, achievable and, most importantly, regularly reviewed. A well-developed, realistic and well-visited plan will not only remind you of your intent, help grow your business but will also ensure that you keep your hands firmly on the financial reins (financial naivety is so often the cause of failed businesses).

o Your Team. Surrounding yourself with trustworthy people will help you sleep at night. From your employees to your business advisor or mentor, align yourself with people you can communicate with. When things go wrong, you need to be able to speak openly to put things right. Remember too, that genuine accolades go a long way to making employees feel valued and part of a united team, so praise exceptional effort. Retaining valued employees creates stability and a sense of cohesion.

o Your Point of Difference. Why YOUR business? Identify what sets you apart from your competitors and be sure it’s obvious. Is it the standard of your service; the behaviour of your employees, the punctuality of your response to enquiries? Follow trade magazines and websites to stay abreast of developments in your industry. Anticipate the next big thing and keep your business at the cutting edge.

o Stay in the Spotlight. While so much trade business is generated by word-of mouth recommendations, be sure to maximise advertising opportunities. Networking is crucial in growing businesses and untold opportunities lie in connecting with Chamber of Commerce events, trade shows as well as online sites and events. Don’t underestimate the power of online advertising. Engaging professionals to design a website and maximise SEO opportunities can reap dividends by strongly positioning your business among the competitors.

o Finally, have an ongoing willingness to heed advice. Everyone has an opinion, but solid business acumen is acquired by building relationships with, and listening to the right people, people who recognise the pitfalls of business and know how to avoid falling into the void. Those people will have a vested interest in helping you thrive, not just at the business plan stage but beyond.

At Trade Advisory Group, we pride ourselves on building supportive relationships to ensure the success of your business. Contact us to find out how we can help you start or build your business with expert advice and tailor-made packages to suit your specific needs:
Phone 07 36076348