Tips on How to Grow Your Contractor Business
Running a small business is no easy task and if you’re wanting to grow you’re probably going to face many hurdles in doing so. While there is no one answer concerning how to increase your business, here are a few tips that might help your small business blossom into something to be proud of.
It has been said that a first impression is a lasting one. This phrase rings true especially when it comes to customer service. One very important lesson in customer service is this; if at all possible always have a live person answer your business phone. Being transferred to voicemail, automated messages, or “robots” during business hours could lose a potential customer. According to surveys, over half of prospective customers are more likely to hang up and contact another company if they are unable to reach an actual human being.
The caller isn’t going to care that the line wasn’t answered because the operator was off getting their lunch out of the fridge. This is why making your services readily available is key to creating a great, long lasting first impression that instills confidence in potential customers.
Also, be sure that you clearly state your company’s operating hours on places like: business cards, the company’s website, social media outlets, and your physical location. This will ensure that there is no confusion about availability when someone does try to contact your business. Of course your operating hours are meaningless if you are unable to consistently stick to them. Make certain that punctuality is a clearly defined goal for your phone operators.
When providing a service, being flexible with your clients is integral to creating a long lasting and professional relationship. If you receive an emergency after hours call, responding to it might just win you a loyal lifelong customer. Conversely, agreeing to a project or providing a service that is outside of your company’s comfort zone is another way of going the extra mile for your customers. This next piece of advice may seem somewhat counterproductive but if your company is unable to provide a solution to a particular client, you can direct them to an alternate source – even if that means losing their business! Those customers may recall how helpful you were and be appreciative enough to come back or future business. It may be at your own inconvenience but being flexible for your clients might just pay off in the end.
Creative advertising and Social media presence is another great way to bring crucial awareness to your business. Nowadays it’s almost a necessity to have some sort of social media presence for your business. Knowing your audience and how to reach out to them using advertising or social media is an extremely important aspect when drawing up a plan of attack.
When trying to determine how to advertise to your target audience, you can ask yourself some of the following questions:
- What value does your company offer?
- Who are your current clients?
- Where do your current clients go for information?
- What frustrations, challenges, and needs do they have?
- How can you best reach your target audience?
A creative approach to advertising your business can sometimes be a more memorable way of getting your name out there. For instance, if your company specializes in decks & patios you could go to the local library and place your business card in certain books that would be applicable to your field of work. If someone is at the library looking for some backyard ideas, then they might happen upon your business card and give your company a call. Taking the time to sit down and brainstorm about interesting and unique ways to advertise your business could give you the boost that your company needs.
Make certain that if you have a website it is easy to navigate and all of the important information is currently up to date. One of the worst possible things for a potential customer is to have them visit a page that contains an old number or address listed on the site. You want your business to be easy to find and easy to contact. You don’t want customers to have to dig around on the web to find out how to get ahold of you, or to see conflicting information regarding your business. Most potential customers will simply move on to the next option rather than spend time figuring out the best way to contact you. We live in a fast paced world and this sort of inconvenience could cause you to lose countless new customers.
If your business caters to a particular specialization then place a major focus on it. Many companies are able to grow by capitalizing on a specific product or service and are able to make that their “bread and butter”. If your company provides a unique service, then there’s a chance that there are customers looking for that exact niche and you could potentially be the number one go-to for it. On the other hand, sometimes you don’t want to solely shift all of your focus on one specialization and miss out on other important products or services. A healthy balance has to be met in order to be successful in all facets of your business.
Be Efficient and Accurate
Being as accurate and efficient as possible will set you apart from other companies. It’s something that your clients will automatically appreciate. Be constantly thinking about how making small or large changes could help your business run faster and more efficiently. It’s easy to get stuck thinking things can only be done one way, especially if you’ve been doing it the same way for years. Take some time to sit down and think through the daily processes of your business and try to visualize how things could be done differently. Although time is money, don’t let the struggle for efficiency make your business sloppy. If a process is shortened to make it more time efficient but the accuracy and/or quality is decreased, then the company is going backwards. What you need to do is find a balance between quality and efficiency.
Of course there’s no such thing as a secret formula for growing your business, but maybe some of these tips will help you get closer to achieving that goal.
-Written by Dane Gustafson