Are you a small electrical business owner? Learn how to help grow your business with our handy guide.
The energy sector has been stated to contribute £26 billion to Britain’s economy[i], meaning that energy is a buoyant sector on all fronts.
According to 2019 stats[ii] from Manpower Group, tradesmen and women are the hardest people to find out of all professions ‒ and homeowners are bound by the law to hire professionally trained and skilled electricians ‒ so there is a lot of scope for business owners to tap into that demand.
You may be looking to retrain and make a career change, or are already trained and are planning to set up on your own as a self-employed electrician. You may even have completed your training, registered your company, sorted your liability, indemnity and tool insurance as well as invested in your vehicle and kit already!
But the work has really only just begun. Starting and growing a business is an exciting journey, but a daunting one. Here at NICEIC Insurance, we know the challenges that small business owners face.
To grow your small electrical business, you need to create your brand, build it and nurture your customer base. This does, of course, require a little planning. First of all, you need to identify your brand ‒ your USP. What sets you apart from other local electricians? What message do you want to give? What have you called your business and have you created a logo that communicates all the above while being visually memorable? After all, you’re going to use it in your marketing, so it needs to stand out.
Once this has been done, you need to think about your audience. Who are your customers? Where do they live? When do they need you and how would they normally go about sourcing an electrician? This will need a little research and it’s fine to ask questions of your neighbours and friends. Once you have looked into this you will start to get a picture of who your audience is going to be, and the best way to reach them. Here are some approaches:
- Word of mouth
Your network is everything. People buy into people, so spread the word amongst your friends, your colleagues, family members and their friends ‒ and so on. Trust is huge when it comes to hiring a tradesperson, so ensure everyone who knows you, knows the service you can provide.
It is definitely worth having a website, even if it only acts as an online flyer. Wordpress sites are relatively easy to create and you might be able to do the design yourself.
- Social media
Facebook will certainly be your friend as you build your brand and grow your business. Set up a business page and request “follows” and “likes” from your friends and family. The network will grow organically, but slowly, so make the most of Facebook’s tools to get more of a presence. Boost your posts. This is easy to do; you pay a small fee and can target your audience. So you can approach people who are within a certain radius, interested in the home, etc. Consider Twitter and Instagram as well but be careful ‒ social media can take up a lot of your time. Consider the age of your audience and choose the platform that the audience is most likely to use (the older home-owning customer is more likely to be on Facebook than Tik Tok, for example!).
- Local media
Local newspapers are still very trusted by their audience and they do not charge excessively for ads. It’s also worth considering the community booklets that are posted through doors.
- Flyers and cards
Door-to-door is far from new in approach, but it does work for small businesses with a local audience. There will be local print shops and they will share their work on social media which boosts your audience further.
- Search sites
Register on all the search sites - .the more you put yourself out there digitally, the more your potential customers are likely to find you. Encourage your customers to review your work ‒ positive reviews mean more calls will come your way.
- Community events
Sometimes you can offer your skills for free in return for publicity. Local school fairs are always looking for tombola and raffle prizes, as are churches. There is also the option to provide a complementary service to a business in return for their support, by putting your flyer in their reception or on their website / social channels.
- Word of mouth
And it comes full circle. Hopefully, by now you will have started to build up a customer base and the best way to keep those customers loyal and ensure they recommend you, is by providing a good service, before, during and after. Which?[iii] revealed that one of the biggest gripes about tradespeople is their lack of communication – so this is a great way to set yourself apart. A week after the service, send a quick text to your customer. Thank them for their business, wish them well and advise that you are only ever a call away and happy to help. This simple act will help you be more memorable and help that growth continue.
Quite simply, ensure that you offer the best service you can and don’t forget ‒ make the most of it. Enjoy the flexibility that running your own business offers ‒ and make it work for you.