Running your own business? Top tips from trades like you to kick-start your 2016

Whether you are already running your own successful business, or your entrepreneurial spirit is just kicking in, a bit of free advice can go a long way.  We recently asked 8000 of our customers in trades just like yours, what their best tip is to stay on top of the game when working for yourself.  As we enter a new year, with new opportunities, we're sharing their tips with you. One for every day of the month!

17 Van Driver Business Mileage-full

Keeping your customers happy

  1. Be honest with your clients.
  2. Remember, first impressions last.
  3. Be yourself…the personal touch means everything.
  4. Know when to say no – if you don't think you can handle a job for time or resource reasons, don't take it.  Your clients will ultimately respect you more.
  5. Always keep your customers up to date on progress.
  6. Keep a smile on your face!
  7. Always exceed customer's expectations.
  8. Treat people how you would want to be treated yourself.

Need some inspiration?

  1. Take every realistic opportunity.
  2. Set goals and smash them!
  3. Try to improve every day – whether it's just five minutes reading of your trade titles to keep up to date, or revisiting a piece of work you could enhance perhaps.
  4. Work hard and you'll get rewarded.
  5. Don't be afraid to take on new ventures.
  6. Like Winston Churchill said, never, never, never give up.
  7. Look to your customers for inspiration and ideas.  They are often operating successful businesses themselves.

Managing the finances

  1. Don't let the banks drag you down.
  2. Don't buy vehicles, lease them – keep your precious capital to invest in other business assets.
  3. Make sure you have a reliable van –otherwise you're snookered!
  4. Don't get greedy…keep an eye on the pricing of your competitors and be realistic.
  5. Keep tight control over your finances.
  6. Keep on top of your paperwork – otherwise you'll get buried by it!
  7. Believe in yourself…if you've got the skills to do the job, there's no reason you can't make it happen.

Just plain common sense

  1. Plan ahead.
  2. Take pride in your appearance and that of your van.
  3. Have confidence in your staff, you employed them.
  4. Always aim to do it right first time, producing your best work.
  5. Be prepared to ride the ups and downs – no-one says being your own boss is a piece of cake!
  6. Don't be afraid to ask advice – gather opinions from others you trust and respect - but have the confidence to make decisions yourself.
  7. Never take short-cuts.
  8. Don't expand too quickly.  Controlled expansion means things won't spiral out of control.
  9. It's all in the details – whether that's a contract for a new customer or the finishing touches of a job, don't be tempted to rush!

We all know that running your own business can be rewarding, frustrating and fun – emotions and situations can change from day to day.  We hope that reading through these tips provided by builders and plumbers, gardeners and carpenters – trades just like yours - has helped to inspire you for the year ahead!

Do you have any top business tips you would like to share?  If so let us know below.  Alternatively, if you need any help in acquiring a van, pick-up or car to help support your business please call 0845 094 1399

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