It’s been a tough for year for everyone, not just trades businesses. But is there light at the end of the tunnel, dare we even say it? “Post” Covid?! Dare we open up to the idea of a little optimism? With multiple effective vaccines now in the works throughout the world and governments announcing mass vaccination plans, there is the very real chance that we may actually be looking at the end of the near year-long covid-19 pandemic that has changed everyone’s lives so greatly. With that, we should begin to think about how our lives will change again, and what we need to think about as we ready our businesses for the new normal. We thought we’d pull out some initial ideas to get the ball rolling. Basically, get ready to get ahead. Get ready for big opportunities and big challenges…
1. START THINKING AND PLANNING: ARE YOU AN AGILE BUSINESS?
This is one of those situations where it really pays to get ahead. In the ashes of destruction form new opportunities, and those that are ready to take opportunities will find themselves ahead of the game. How can you capitalise? You may find that business naturally grows over the coming, opening months, but having lots of trades business opportunities coming up doesn’t absolutely guarantee work. Your prospective customers need to be able to locate you, contact you and all importantly get a quick response. Whilst word-of-mouth is still vital to marketing your business and attracting customers, being visible online is a must. A simple website to convert enquiries into jobs and some simple social media updates can make a real difference. Along the way, consider some free tools like Google My Business, website builders like Wix or Squarespace or social media planning tools like Hootsuite.
Here’s the straightforward bit: if you get an enquiry, reply as soon as possible! A recent study showed that a massive 88% of customers fully expect to receive a response to their enquiry within 60 minutes. That may or may not be possible for you and your business right now, but it’s something that you should aim to achieve and is certain a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that you should try to track, over time. Check out our full article all about KPIs and how they can improve your trades business, right here. Like responding to enquiries promptly, issuing a quote quickly will also directly affect your work win rate. Lastly, follow on outstanding quotes and enquiries whenever you can. You might respond lightning fast but you customers may not! A friendly nudge can work wonders.
2. GET SYSTEMS IN PLACE THAT MAKE YOU AN EFFICIENT AND RESPONSIVE BUSINESS
This might seem straightforward but every business can often neglect it: reduce time spend on repetitive and daily admin tasks. Find ways to reduce paperwork and use technology to work smarter. Good old Job Management Software allows you to automate a lot of these tasks. The less time you spend on the nitty gritty, the more time you have for customers, strategies and responsive business. You could try:
- Better job scheduling: Find out how you can better organise your team’s day, tracking work progress, have easy access to job info and keep on top of the many moving parts at play, as well as keeping tabs on timesheets and expenses
- Better invoicing: How can you get invoices out quickly and accurately? Consider ways that you can record time, cost up every material and asset used on the job and all-importantly send out the invoice immediately, once the job is complete
- Better payments: Make it easy for your customers to pay you. Offer a safe and secure way for customers to pay invoices online and set automated payment reminders to reduce the likely-hood of late payments coming through. There are huge customer satisfaction gains to be made here!
- Better visibility of your businesses’ performance: Keep tracking and predicting cash flow can be a huge part of a small business. How can you easily keep track of income?
3. MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE FOR YOUR CUSTOMER
Running your trade business in a (hopefully) post-Covid world may mean you will be dealing with more anxious customers. How can you help ease those worries? You could try by being entirely open about how you’re keeping them safe. Keep them updated regularly as and when there are changes to their job or work schedule. Try to use contactless communication as much as possible!
On top of this, make sure that everyone in your business is on the same page. It’s vital to keep your staff clear and on you health and safety procedures and to stay on top of any necessary related task such as contact tracing. Surprise, surprise, once again, this is where job management software just like our’s can help you easily track your team’s movements in real time. This will make life in planning and scheduling much easier and may also make you feel like a war time general – especially if there are incidents or emergencies to respond to!
Cut down on admin, work smarter and come out the other side feeling stronger
You are already fully aware of the fact that admin and paperwork is slowing down your trades business. In the wake of Covid, this is only going to be exasperated. Make sure that you can be found easily online, respond quickly to enquiries and get quotes issued efficiently will all give you that much needed initial leg up and over the competition. Adding a job management system into the mix streamlines the whole rest of the process from quotes, to schedules and invoices, and makes it easy to take the necessary steps to keep your customers and your team safe.
Good luck and see you on the other side!