It’s hard to run a successful business and even when you know how things should be run, it’s all too easy to let things slip. These tips are a reminder of some of the easiest mistakes to make and how correcting them can improve your business.
Mistake 1. The easiest mistake is to charge too little for your services. This might sound like a strange thing to say, and it may not apply when you are just starting out, but most customers want great service at a reasonable price. Few expect a great service at a knockdown price and you don’t want them as customers anyway. Even less people want a lousy service at a really low price. So make sure you do good work and get adequately rewarded for it. When you get repeat work, that means the customer likes and trusts you, so that is the time to charge a little bit more, without ripping them off.
Mistake 2. Not making sure unexpected items aren’t covered by your quote. It’s impossible to know exactly what you may find when you do a job. That is unless you do some form of expensive and probably intrusive survey which doesn’t make sense at the quotation stage. So if you ever quote a fixed price, make sure you explain both verbally and in writing that anything that couldn’t have reasonably been foreseen isn’t covered and nothing that isn’t explicitly mentioned is included. This will avoid a lot of misunderstandings and protect you against loss making jobs.
Mistake 3. Not using the latest computer technology. This may seem like a strange one but it’s worth thinking about. When mobile phones first came out, it took quite a while before everyone started using them. In fact, only 7% of the population were using them after 10 years. Think how many opportunities trades businesses that weren’t using mobile phones were missing. With new mobile technology, there is an opportunity to save a huge amount of time while presenting a more professional face to your customers. Yes, it takes some investment in learning, but learning how to use tools properly invariably means you are more productive. And if you don’t do the learning, your competitors surely will.
Mistake 4. Not following up quotes. This can often come from fear of rejection. Some of your customers are going to say yes to your quotes without a problem. Some are going to say no because they can’t afford it, or were just getting your quote to keep their favourite company honest. But between these two extremes, there are people that are wavering between doing the job or wondering which quote to go with. It’s for these people that you must follow up after a few days. After all, you have done the work, it’s only fair that they give a response. And that way you will win more work for sure.
Mistake 5. Not claiming everything you can and organising your finances in the best way. There are a number of ways that you can perfectly legally avoid VAT registration when you are close to the limit, get some income free of tax as well as paying less tax in the first place. This is where your accountant comes in. Not only should they do the books, they should help you to organise your finances in the most cost-effective way. Let me repeat, doing the books alone is not enough, you need a pro-active accountant.
Mistake 6. Missing out in invoicing the little extras. When the client clarifies what they want, it is probably fine to change things to accommodate them providing that it doesn’t cost you any more. But when they want something extra, it’s all too easy to never get around to charging them. When you have done the work but not invoiced them for it, this represents 100% profit lost and it’s surprisingly common. Without banging our drum too much, this is where a system like Powered Now comes in again. If you can raise an invoice in a few seconds, at the time and from site using your mobile, you are less likely to forget or not get around to it
So that’s our opinion of the six mistakes most commonly made. Hopefully there is some food for thought here. Good news if you don’t commit any of them, you are a better business person than me!