Opening the doors of their own electrical contracting business is the dream of many electricians. For people who take the plunge and start their own business, the first couple of months will be an exciting time as the business starts to find its feet.
While it’s certainly a thrill, there are loads of challenges that come with this move. Even though the amount of companies starting is outweighing the amount shutting up shop, the nation is seeing more than a quarter of a million closures each year based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Electrical contracting can be one place where there’s plenty of competition – including many other small businesses. Standing out in this crowded market requires a lot of creative thinking, but it could also help to make sure your business lays down its foundations and moves beyond the start-up phase.
To help, we have assembled some of the best approaches to start your business on the right foot and accomplish your targets.
Draft a business plan
Drafting a business plan is not something you learn as an apprentice, but it is among the main measures for any new licensed electrician to undertake.
There are a few items that need to be addresses in one’s business strategy, including:
- A summary of the business – This should cover how the company is structured, qualifications and registrations, and any staff or electrical contractors that may be employed.
- Market information – How many prospective customers are there in the region? Are they increasing in quantity or diminishing? Who are the opponents? The answers to these questions and any others that relate to securing new jobs will go in this section.
- Future targets – This will cover how the company will grow along with any expansion plans. This may involve spotting new opportunities for growth and development.
- Finances – This part of the business plan will lay out the continuing expenses, forecasted earnings and details of any funding needed to for business start-up. This section may need to be updated as the business grows and cash flow improves.
These are simply a few of the points which will go into a brand new electrical contracting firm’s business strategy. It is equally important that this document reflects individual ambitions and the particulars of the business.
Develop a marketing presence
As soon as the doors have opened, there’s one crucial ingredient needed that needs to be secured – clients. Getting people in the door does not just happen either, it needs a marketing presence that tells people who you are, what you offer and why they need to choose you over a competitor.
Everything you do to entice clients – from setting up a Facebook page to posting a flyer in your area – falls under the umbrella of marketing. In reality, marketing is so imperative to your company that chances are you may have instinctively started some kind of promotion right from the start.
Just because marketing is important to your business performance does not mean that you should not put some serious thought into it. As a budding entrepreneur in the electric industry, you still should get a coordinated marketing campaign that helps your company grow.
Consider where your clients will be based and ways to get in touch with them. Local papers, for example, might be a wonderful place to begin advertising and there are tons of opportunities online to construct a buzz around your services.
If you’re mainly working on commercial projects, think of what these customers do on a daily basis, what they’re reading and how they may reach out to your company. Then, pursue those marketing efforts that may get you in front of those people.
Construct a loyal customer base
Attracting sales through your promotion efforts is a great start, but moving beyond the start-up stage also requires keeping clients with your company over the long term.
This can sometimes be difficult for an electrician – after most of the home owners are not likely to be rewiring electric driveway gates. However, that does not mean it is not possible to turn a one-off job into a constant supply of work for your organisation.
Consider starting an email database of customers who you may reach out to after you’ve finished working on a project to drum up new business. A simple follow-up call or message can ensure you get future work down the line such as an automatic gate repair if a client is experiencing faults.
Additionally, be certain you and your employees are keeping a look out for additional work that a customer needs doing around their property.
This shouldn’t involve any pushy sales techniques, simply concentrate on solving any problems you see that may be affecting your customers – like getting more energy efficient or updating out-of-date equipment.