Counting On Success
Every trade business owner is striving to be one thing: successful.
You don’t start a business to fail; you start your business with dreams of making it big and providing your family with the freedom to choose their lifestyle.
However, it’s the best business people, not the best tradies, that have successful trade businesses. For the sole reason that tradies are set up to fail: they’re never taught how to successfully run a business, only how to be a gun on the tools.
Andy sat down with Dan Pollard, co-founder of Fergus and friend of Lifestyle Tradie — for a Q&A about their shared experiences with the struggles of being tradies and running their businesses.
For those who don’t know, what is Fergus? What drove you to set up this platform?
Fergus is an end-to-end job management software built for tradies. Fergus helps you manage your jobs, take control of your finances and makes it easy to manage your staff.
I started Fergus alongside my third plumbing business. The first two businesses didn’t go well, and I knew I had to find a different way of doing things. I had a choice to make, and that was to either quit plumbing or commit 100% to do whatever it took to make my next plumbing business work. I knew what dragged my other two businesses under and when I went looking for the software to solve the problems I faced, it didn’t exist.
In my naivety, I thought, “how hard can it be? I know what I want.”
So I found some guys to build what I wanted and Fergus was born. Fergus changed my business life. It allowed my plumbing business to start growing and get cash flowing as invoicing was that much easier.
What could you [Dan] say about the importance of ‘knowing your numbers’ based on your experience?
I didn’t know when it came to the first two businesses and had to close them both. The third plumbing business had 25 staff, and now Fergus has 60 staff… the difference was having a system that showed me business-critical numbers.
Systems give rise to numbers, and numbers provide you with insight into what is happening and ideally in real-time. Now, I don’t know how anyone can run a business without knowing their key numbers.
Have you [Dan] ever struggled with delegating? How important do you think it is in any business?
Nah, I’m the laziest person out there, I hate paperwork! It’s been proven that you should only work on your strengths and don’t berate yourself for your weaknesses.
I wish more tradies would consider employing others to do their admin. This would mean they could spend their time adding value to the business by creating sales or partnership opportunities or working on the tools.
How would you [Dan] measure success within a business?
For me, it’s all about the stress in my day, or rather how little stress there is. If the business is under control and I’m not spending my time stressed and I can pay my bills on time then that means the world to me. Having most nights off, rather than doing paperwork is what success looks like to me.
What’s your number one tip for business owners who have been in business for a couple of years but are struggling to grow their business?
If this is the case, it might be time to take an honest, good hard long look in the mirror. Ask yourself, am I my own ‘handbrake’? The issue isn’t access to knowledge; all the answers are on the internet; the answer is in the mirror.
Business growth is often impacted by a reluctance to take a risk or acknowledge that you need to learn more and dedicate time to learning more about what it takes to become a great business owner.
In the end, everyone is counting on you to be successful. Your family, your staff and your ego… That’s a lot of pressure for one person.
Dan and I both experienced that pressure and all the other bad stuff that goes along with it. That’s why we set up our businesses to genuinely help other trade business owners going through the same experiences.
We hope that by sharing our experiences with other trade business owners, we can bridge this learning gap and set others up for success.
Special offer from Fergus for our Lifestyle Tradie audience:
Start a 14-Day Free Trial of Fergus and get $200 AUD Fergus Credit added to your account. (Depending on the size of your business, that could be 2-3months free!)
Use this link to get promotion: GET STARTED