Starting up your own business can be a daunting task. Luckily, now you can be your best with these tips — they’ll help you avoid the common mistakes made by tradespeople when they first started out.
Failing to get the right kind of insurance cover
Now you’re in business, you need specific insurance in place. What you need depends on the type of business you’re running — give careful thought to every eventuality and make sure you have the right kind of cover in place.
For example, if your business involves regular driving — you might set up a courier service or a business based around delivery — you and your drivers should have comprehensive breakdown cover for your business in place. You won’t be able to prevent a breakdown but make sure you have the right amount of cover to help you get back up and running as quickly as possible. Your time is now money, after all.
Forgetting about marketing
Marketing can be the make or break of any business, especially one that relies solely on customer interaction. A great starting point is to create business cards and flyers. It may seem old-fashioned but business cards can be an easy way for happy customers to pass on details to friends and family. You may want to think about producing an advertisement for the local directory, be it online or in your local newspaper. Also, you don’t have to be a computer wiz to create a website. It just needs to look simple and professional, with a clear email address for onlooking customers to enquire about new business.
Thinking the customers will come to you
Many sole traders will think that as soon as they start-up the work will just start rolling in, but this rarely happens. You’re self employed — nobody said it was going to be easy. You’re going to have to get your name out there and one of the best ways to do this is to create a professional social media profile. Clearly display your skills and credentials with an easy to reach number or email address so potential customers can get in touch. Start joining local Facebook groups to get your name out there and encourage clients to share reviews.
Underestimating the market
Whether you’re a plumber, van delivery driver, electrician, builder, carpenter or plasterer, the tradesperson industry is fairly crowded. But, as you’re at the top of your game, skillswise, you shouldn’t sell yourself short. This doesn’t mean you should value your skillset above anyone else’s either. Have confidence and don’t under- or overvalue your service price as this can cut your profit margin and put off potential clients. Create a fair price and clearly outline what your customers will be paying for in order to stay trustworthy and competitive.
Not registering as a sole trader
If you’re working as a sole trader you need to register as one — there are more details about doing this here. You’ll be expected to keep records of your business sales, complete a self-assessment tax return and possibly register for VAT if your turnover is above a certain level. Get yourself properly registered and start your new business off on the right foot.
Now you know the common tradesperson faux pas and with the handy advice given you’ll be well on your way to start-up success.