Trade business survival: 3 things you have to get right

By Andy Smith

In these extraordinary times, “pivoting” has become the survival mechanism for many businesses. For trade business owners, it’s been a different story. So far, we’ve been able to continue to work throughout the global pandemic. But with no end to the disruption in sight, trade business survival will come down to getting the basics right.

In this week’s article, Andy Smith, fellow trade business owner and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, shares three things to focus on right now with the cracks starting to appear in trade business that haven’t set themselves up to withstand the knock-on effect of COVID-19 and ongoing implications of an economic slow down.

1. What happens when stimulus rates get stepped down?

The Government’s economic support package, or stimulus measures, has kept many businesses propped up during COVID-19. In many ways, trade businesses have been in a ‘bubble’. They’ve been happily enjoying the benefits without keeping an eye on what’ll happen post-September, when payment rates will be stepped down.

“My advice is to make an appointment with your accountant, if you haven’t already. It’s the start of a new financial year. What you need to know is, if you take the stimulus money out, how is your business performing? How much money are you making or not making? What position would you be in without that stimulus money?” said Andy.

The new outbreaks of COVID-19 are almost certain to delay any recovery not just in Victoria and NSW but across Australia. With the pandemic dragging on, get yourself into the best possible position to build an unbreakable trade business.

2. Focus on your repeat customers

With customers holding on tight to their purse strings, what can you do to keep winning profitable work? Focus on your repeat customers, who already trust and like you. Research shows acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining a current customer. So, what are you doing to maximise the customer experience?

“We’ve got to go above and beyond to retain customers. At Lifestyle Tradie, we call this providing, ‘unexpected’ value. It could be something simple like sending your customer a card on their birthday, or, in today’s COVID-19 climate, it could mean demonstrating your response to the crisis through your commitment to health and safety,” said Andy.

Ultimately, communication is key. Start by listening to your customers. Keeping your customers happy is the best way to retain them.

3. Get your business model right

Here’s where some businesses are getting unstuck. While the going’s been good, it’s easy to get by on the fly, even when you know your business model is not in great shape. But with the brakes on economic growth for the foreseeable future, how will your trade business make it through when it’s got no foundation?

What happens when you build a house on a weak foundation? The integrity of the structure will be exposed sooner or later. The sooner you identify potential problems, the easier — and less expensive — it is to fix them. 

According to Andy, the situation is the same in business. 

“COVID-19 has probably exposed some fractures you may have overlooked. The best advice I have for you is to get your business model right. Without this strong foundation, your trade business will always struggle. Your business model is the thing that’ll make or break your business as we navigate the uncertain road ahead.”

How is your trade business responding to COVID-19? If you’re stuck not knowing what steps to take right now, Lifestyle Tradie Live is for you. In just a few hours, you’ll get all the tools to reset and be your best. Register and learn more.

What’s next?

  1. Want to know more about Lifestyle Tradie membership? Book a Game Plan Call with Andy to see if it’s a good fit for you.
  2. Download our free Survive the Sh*t Storm resources.
  3. Join our free Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook group to learn how to set team targets using your business’s break-even point.