Home – New Forums Starting your journey Tradie needs business advice

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #967033
    Masroo
    Member
    • Total posts: 6
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi all
    I have been in a construction trade (roofing) for the past 18 years (father taught me). And for the past 10 years have been running my own business. Like the typical tradie I was not taught much about the business side of things. While I am good at what I do, business wise I am struggling. I have an idea of running day to day operations, but I feel I am lacking in a lot of areas and need more structure to fit all the pieces together.
    What is the best way of learning the business side of running a trade and possibly expanding?

    Bit of info:
    Only 4 employees currently. Mainly just casual, and can easily get more when needed. Feel like I don’t have the most streamlined system of paying them in place.

    Currently not advertising anywhere, people find me by word of mouth. Usually get rushed and snowed under when I do advertise. Have plenty of work to keep me happy. But will advertise more once I have better business systems in place.

    I would like to eventually move away from the labor side of things in the next 5 years.

    My drive for work has dwindled the last few years, but now feel I have an opportunity to knuckle down and get organized (mental kick up the bum to get me moving).

    Feel my focus of work is too broad. While I can pretty much do anything to do with roofing, I feel some jobs end up sucking up profit. Maybe target a certain area?

    There is a lot of competition moving into my home town.

    I do enjoy my work a lot and the constant learning keeps it interesting. Money has always been a bit of an after thought and that needs to change.

    #1022780
    Chris Bates
    Member
    • Total posts: 966
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hey Masroo,

    Have you heard the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule? 80% of the effects come from 20% of the cause.

    In English: 80% of your profit come from 20% of your sales.

    So – what’s the most profitable area of your business? Identify that and it will serve you two purposes

    1. Your NICHE! You are now THE go to guy for that thing
    2. Eliminate the time wasting/unprofitable jobs, thus saving time & money

    Now, I’m going to step out and let some of our accounting gurus step in to talk to you about your book keeping and payroll.

    But when you’re ready to grow your business, come and see me and I’ll help you out.

    Cheers

    #1022781
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Masroo

    Welcome to Flying Solo! You are obviously doing a lot of things right to still be thriving after ten years. I bet there’s many of us around here that could learn a few things from you.

    Sounds like you have a lot of stuff running through your head right now, but is there any issue in particular you’d like to address first? We tend to find that the more specific the question is, the more assistance we’re able to give you.

    On another note, forum regular Karen (Hi Karen!) is asking tradies to participate in a market research survey at the moment, if you’d like to help her out you’ll find a link to her survey on this thread: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/sales-marketing/5249-looking-tradies.html

    Looking forward to learning more about you and your business Masroo!
    Jayne

    #1022782
    Dom Santin
    Member
    • Total posts: 15
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Masroo and welcome to the forums.

    From what I can gather from your post it seems to me that you have a sense of direction as where you would like to take your roofing business. If you are looking to better understand your business more and how to perhaps better manage it, I would suggest doing your own business plan.

    Now why do this? Well by doing this exercise you will need to examine every facet of your business, such as but not limited to:

    • What are my operations? (Document everything and how mcuh of these operations makes up you business)
    • Who is my market? (Who are your customers – are they all local and are they domestic or commercial enterprises)
    • Who are my competitors? (How many, how long have they been in the area, what do you offer that distinguishes you from your rivals?)
    • Who do I need to do business? (Who are my main suppliers and how do I ensure I get the best price and service, who are my employees – what are their skills, their interests and how do you get the most out of them and how do I and how much do I pay them)
    • Analysis of Financial Information (budget for your profit, after all you probably have an idea of how much it costs and what returns you make for your likely workflow for a year, analyse what projects make you more money and which are far to costly, and importantly why).
    • Legislative Requirements and Risks (how do I ensure that my employees and I are safe onsite, how do I ensure we have the appropriate licences and qualifications etc. and what are the risks of not being able to meet my objectives in business)

    This exercise may take a little while but should provide you with the framework to identify areas of strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). From this information you can then work out what projects you should take on.

    Finally, make sure you keep the adequate records. I cannot stress how vital this is to any business. In respect of your question on employees and how to pay them – here is a link that should help you out [URL=”http://http://www.business.gov.au/BusinessTopics/employingpeople/pages/default.aspx”]http://http://www.business.gov.au/BusinessTopics/employingpeople/pages/default.aspx[/URL]. This site is great for finding information on any small business issues.

    Hope this helps Masroo.

    Cheers

    Dom

    #1022783
    MatthewKeath
    Member
    • Total posts: 3,184
    Up
    0
    ::

    Saying you get snowed under when advertising is a great thing!! Once you get your systems setup effectively, you will be able to handle the extra work.

    I think speaking to a small business expert would be a good the first step, as you mention you don’t have to much experience with the business side of things.Getting a few tips from the experts would help hugly. Or even a short course at a TAFE?

    To be successful in business you need to have good people around you, something you would know only to well regarding your staff. Creating a strong team with less casual workers would help to strengthen this in my opinion. If you want to spend less time on site, and more time is a managerial role, getting a good team together would be imperative.

    Good luck mate!

    #1022784
    Avatar Consulting
    Member
    • Total posts: 151
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Masroo

    It sounds like you have learnt more about running a business than you think with 10 years under you belt already and still in business.

    An interesting fact of business is that they need to refresh themselves every so often to make sure they are going in the right direction. This is known as business strategy- when you review your current business performance and look ahead to the next 5 years and see what targets you want to hit.

    Then, possibly with the help of a good strategic change consultant, you realign and change your business systems to achieve your new objectives.

    The fact that you are aware of outgrowing your business is a good sign that you are ready to take the next step in business ownership.

    Few TAFE courses will give you the answers you need- start talking and looking for business owners/consultants that have already steered a business into new territory.

    All the best
    Paul

    #1022785
    akagrp
    Member
    • Total posts: 315
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hello Masroo

    Reading your post I would say give your self credit for a job well done so far, 10 years in the building industry and still going having the last 18mths is doing well.

    Personally reading you post I do not feel you lack the “Business Knowledge” as match as possibly needing to reignite the drive for the next phase of operations. I can assure you we all go through this stage, the business becomes routine and we start to lose the focus.

    You seem to know what you want to achieve over the next 5 years, what you need is to find a mentor or consultant that will hold you accountable to achieve those goals.

    With regards to matters such as payroll and managing your financial records have a chat to your bookkeeper or accountant if they can assist with setting up a system for you that is wasy for you to manage if you are not ready to outsource.

    I know we offer our clients online workshops and sometimes face to face to walk them through what they need to know. But do not get trapped in doing this if you are not that good in it, what you need to be good at is been able to read and understand the data they provide you. If you lack this again I recommend doing a short course either via TAFE or another provider on managing the financial data in your business –

    If you would like more information on what course may be suitable for you please feel free to PM, and or happy to chat to you just give me a call. Happy to help as the building industry is an area I am very familiar as we look after a number of clients in the industry and have worked with a few to take them from “Technican” to “Business Owner” I also recommend my clients read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber.

    Good luck I am sure you will reach your Ultimate Goal.

    #1022786
    Karen Wardle
    Member
    • Total posts: 363
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Masroo

    Welcome to Flying Solo. As you can probably tell by the amount, and quality of the replies, there are plenty of people here who will be happy to help you and to share their knowledge.

    Speaking of knowledge and your perceived lack of business nouse. You are selling yourself way short. Eighteen years in the building game is a huge achievement!

    I have twenty years experience in small business. Having had my own small construction business for seven years (with six staff) I am very familiar with the issues faced by tradies in starting and also growing their businesses.

    I have experience in working with tradies and in helping them to streamline their business systems/processes to help them to start, grow and manage their business. Usually when you’re good on the tools you naturally attract more work. Then to cope with the additional work you hire more people and you need to buy more material. You have effectively tripled your paperwork.

    Then you need to process all of this additional paperwork. The additional supplier invoices and receipts etc, the paperwork associated with wages and workers comp etc you have more quotes to do, clients to visit and contracts to prepare. But because you have more work then you have ever had you now have less time left for the administration and management of it all.

    Then you begin to see that your business is growing. You have more jobs then you can comfortably handle so you look to put even more staff on. But you realise that you need to sort out your systems and processes first. There is no point getting more work and more staff if your paperwork is in a mess. You feel like you are spinning your wheels yet not really achieving as much as you know is possible. How do you get it all together and maximise the opportunities that are available to you?

    Masroo, I know where you are at. I have seen it time and time again. And I know that you are not alone. Tradies don’t start their own business because they love doing paperwork and dealing with staff and subbies. And in the majority of cases they were never taught how to do these tasks.

    But it is the business owners like yourself who can see that they need help, and who ask for it, that WILL turn their business around and expand it.

    As you can probably tell, this is a subject area that I am VERY passionate about.

    As Jayne mentioned (a BIG thank you Jayne) I have a survey survey on my site that I am asking tradies to complete. I would be grateful if you could have a look at it for me.

    I have been in a construction trade (roofing) for the past 18 years (father taught me). And for the past 10 years have been running my own business. Like the typical tradie I was not taught much about the business side of things. While I am good at what I do, business wise I am struggling. I have an idea of running day to day operations, but I feel I am lacking in a lot of areas and need more structure to fit all the pieces together.
    What is the best way of learning the business side of running a trade and possibly expanding?

    Masroo as you have pointed out, the strengths of the typical tradie do not lie in the areas of growth, finances or even administration and management.
    Yet it is these exact skills that a business requires if they are to achieve long term and consistent growth.

    I will address each of your concerns individually.

    Only 4 employees currently. Feel like I don’t have the most streamlined system of paying them in place.

    If you are interested you can email me and I can give you some suggestions that will help. also I have a lot of info on my site regarding recruiting and managing employees

    Currently not advertising anywhere, people find me by word of mouth. Usually get rushed and snowed under when I do advertise. Have plenty of work to keep me happy. But will advertise more once I have better business systems in place.

    You might be sitting on a pot of gold. You are sensible to wait until you do have better systems in place. But once you do you will see how much easier it is to manage larger volumes of work and staff. And then you can work towards your dream of getting off the tools and working on the business rather then in it.

    Sometimes motivation will dwindle. For me personally I find that I need to have a project or projects to focus on. I need to stretch myself somewhat otherwise it is just another day. And after 18 years, if you don’t feel that you are growing or working towards something that is well defined, then you are just coasting along. I think anyone would find it hard to stay motivated under those circumstances.

    Chris mentioned the 80/20 rule and that is where a business plan will help you immensely. I think that after 18 years at this, putting together a business plan will help you to paint a picture so to speak of where you are now and where you hope to take your business in the future. You will have the beauty of hindsight and also you will have the advantage of having actual figures and you won’t have to estimate like many do when writing their plan.

    Dom makes some excellent points in his post. As he mentions it will take some time but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the time involved.

    Please let us know how you get on with things. I am happy to answer any questions that you have so feel free to PM me if needed.

    And if you could complete the survey for me that would be great! Thanks

    I apologise for such a long post. I recieve weekly feedback from tradies about this exact issue and it is a topic that I am passionate about.

    #1022787
    Karen Wardle
    Member
    • Total posts: 363
    Up
    0
    ::

    if you’ve got a stable market here in the UK

    The first step you would take when looking into international trading would be examining your business here in the UK

    Did I miss something?

    #1022788
    JulieA
    Member
    • Total posts: 130
    Up
    0
    ::
    Karen Wardle, post: 27349 wrote:
    Did I miss something?
    lol…there’s 2 of them on here at present..making seemingly pointless posts or totally off topic. The spelling of the names seems slightly dodgy…especially when you take into account what they’re posting :-)
    #1022789
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi Julie and Karen,
    The spammers are gone now :)

    If you spot anything you think is even slightly dodgy or suspicious, please feel free to use the Report post button, and we’ll jump onto it ASAP.

    Cheers
    Jayne

    #1022790
    Masroo
    Member
    • Total posts: 6
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thank you all for the informative replies. Doms points seem a sensible place to start at, and should keep me busy for a bit. I will keep everyone updated as I progress along.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.