How might he expand his business?

(11 Posts)
blindinglight Mon 21-Jan-13 20:39:51

My husband is a multi-skilled tradesman. He's self employed and has quite a good customer base, his clients are always recommending him and his business is built on word of mouth. His not business minded at all and if it were up to him he would prefer to just do the work leave the admin paperwork to someone else. (Not me as I refuse to do it, for the simple fact that if I start doing it he will NEVER learn to get himself organised)

I digress, I want to inject a bit of motivation (in the business sense, he works very hard) to move his business forward and turn it into a money making empire sustainable business

Any ideas of ways we could start moving his business forward?

Does he do any advertising at all? Local or online?

ScalesAndMirrorsLie Mon 21-Jan-13 21:01:05

Does he advertise with recognised trade skills/qualifications?

Have a website with a bit of a background about your dh, services, prices, photos of work done and feedback from customers.

We advertised using leaflets, adverts in papers and shops, A boards, google, website. The best form of advertising was yell.com. By far. It literally brought in loads of work, daily. It's more expensive but definitely worth it.

Has he registered with companies like toptradesman.com and similar?

blindinglight Mon 21-Jan-13 21:08:13

No advertising! I have made a FB page for him and that has brought a few bits in (mainly from friends of friends of mine). I did wonder if Yell was worth it - that's good to know!

At the moment he has so much work that he can't/won't think about the business side of things and how to enable growth. I wonder if taking on someone would help but he keeps saying that he would never find anyone that he would trust enough to leave on their own!

blindinglight Mon 21-Jan-13 21:08:26

Oh and thank you for replying!

ScalesAndMirrorsLie Mon 21-Jan-13 21:24:41

Maybe offer 'rent' to another employee/worker? So at least he's not turning work down and can take on more work. As opposed to paying someone a wage.

Yes, it's risky in one way, but if he interviews some tradesmen and take it from there.??

MrAnchovy Mon 21-Jan-13 21:59:42

Trying to expand a one-man business by taking on someone else to do the things you are good at so that you can spend more time on the things you are bad at is not a good idea.

blindinglight Mon 21-Jan-13 23:39:57

MrAnchovy - that would be silly and very much not what we had in mind.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 22-Jan-13 19:00:57

Great that he is doing so well.

Is it worth sitting down and looking at what the "perfect" business would look like and then work out how to get there.

If he has more than enough work he can either a) start being picky about the jobs he takes on (ie the ones that he excels at, can charge more for) or b)find ways to increase his capacity.

If a) is the preferred plan then maybe he could look at targeting certain work and investing in his marketing (and I'd agree with Scales ideally that would include a website, flyers, yell entry, online directory listings esp those that have reviews) could reflect his focus. Could he/somebody also mystery shop some local competitors to check his prices are right? There might be room to raise them?

If b)then there are a variety of ways to increase capacity from referral fees from other tradesmen, to outsourcing to employing somebody.

Could he hire in some admin help (like a local VA) to help him ensure that any spare working time is either spent delivering or quoting for new work? They might also free up some time. Depending where you are and what you need doing VAs cost from c£15 - £25 an hour, but will only charge you by the minute. I have used somebody in Bristol even though I am in London.

Two easy things he could do straight away (if he doesn't already):

- is to keep a simple database (in excel) of clients including their email address, so he can promote his work to them to keep him top of mind. Mailchimp is a free email tool, so he could use that. The gentle prompt might help them recommend him to a friend if nothing else.

- ask for feedback/quotes after each job and make sure they are uploaded onto his website. Recommends are everything when it comes to tradespeople. Or he could ask them to comment on Yell, however, the benefit of commenting directly to him is that he can then decide which ones to use!

Most tradespeople I have dealt with rarely bother with marketing and I just think they are missing such a trick.

Not sure if that is any help!

Good luck.

blindinglight Wed 23-Jan-13 11:57:32

Mrs Margo, that was very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail. There is a lot that he could be doing in terms of asking for feedback and mailchimping. I have bought his domain - just need to get the website up and running, yell is in the process too I just need him to have a good think about where he would like to be in the future. I think this is the problem, he never thinks about the future - not more than a few months down the line. He is following in his fathers footsteps and if left to his own devices will still be doing what he's doing now when he's ready to retire.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 23-Jan-13 21:16:07

No worries!

It sounds like he has lots of support and help in you blindinglight, I am sure together you can move the business on.

Good luck.

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