Business skills for tradies

Starting your own trades or construction business means that everything becomes part of your job – not just the actual job of fixing or building things.

Suddenly, you’re not just thinking about how you do what you do best, but everything that you need to stay on top of business.

This means being hands-on with everything from your branding, to your bookkeeping, to your marketing.

Some stuff you can learn, and other stuff needs to be outsourced.


What do you need to outsource?


There are some things that you’ll just have to outsource.

Branding

Let’s be honest – unless you have both flair and skill, your branding (think your logo and associated design) is best left to a professional.

If you’re not sure where to find a designer there are several freelancing platforms, such as 99 Designs, available to help you out.

Platforms like these will let you brief online, with your brief then open to the marketplace.

Those who want to submit a proposal can, and you can pick from the ideas put forward, before working with the designer to get the best bang for your buck.

Finances

If you’re in business, you should make it a priority to get yourself a great accountant or bookkeeper to take you through the finer points of the books.

They have the specialist training and insight that you can’t just replicate, unless you feel like going back to school and changing your entire career.

Several accountants and bookkeepers also specialise in serving clients in the trade and construction space, so you know they’re across the subtleties of your business.

You can start your search here.


What can you learn?


Luckily, you don’t need to outsource absolutely everything.

Depending on your level of comfort, there’s a few resources out there which you can tap to help boost your marketing chops.

For example, your digital marketing (where people will find out about your business) is one crucial area where you can upskill and get involved.

If budget isn’t an issue, you can absolutely hire an individual or an agency to help here.

But even if you want to go this route, it’s a good idea to take the time to do a little learning and know what it is that you want before you approach a professional.

So where do you begin?

Social media and digital marketing is something that new business owners often struggle to get right.

Even if you regularly use platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when you’re off the clock, there are subtle but important differences that take effect when you begin using business accounts.

Tack on extras like maintaining a website, writing a blog, or sending a newsletter and it can start to seem a little overwhelming.

When you have a question around a platform that you’re using, make sure that you use the Help section.

Every large digital marketing platform, like Facebook, Twitter, or MailChimp has a well-developed help section, as well as an avenue for you to ask question directly.

If there’s something that’s not related directly to a platform or service that is tripping you up, your first stop should be Google.

Someone else will have had exactly this same problem.

You’re likely to find an article, a YouTube video or a SlideShare presentation that deals with just the issue you’re looking to resolve.

Going to the next level

When you want to take on marketing yourself but you’re not finding the answers you’re looking for, you may want to consider some online training.

Courses are usually taught by video, which you watch on your own schedule.

Depending on the course you choose, there may be additional resources, assignments or even assessments. When you sign up, you will be able to get a clear idea of how much time you’ll need to commit.

Some common online course providers include:

Lynda

An online training company which has been acquired by LinkedIn, Lynda offers courses including ‘Marketing Foundations’, ‘Google AdWords Essential Training’ and ‘SEO Foundations’.

Skillshare

A large platform with over 3 million members, Skillshare offers a large range of courses, and available marketing courses include ‘The Complete Instagram Marketing Masterclass’, ‘Crafting a Consistent Brand’, and ‘Introduction to Social Media Strategy’.

Udemy

Unlike Skillshare and Lynda, on Udemy, you pay per course. Costs seem to vary wildly, up to a maximum of US$199, so look out for sales events. Courses like ‘The Complete Facebook Sales Funnel Blueprint’, ‘The Complete SEO Guide to Ranking Local Business Websites’ and ‘YouTube Masterclass’ let you work to plug your skills gap.