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Jamie Jones

How to grow the business ideas

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I currently as a small business undertake a mixture of Grounds Maintenance, Weed Control (including Invasive Species, Japanese Knotweed), and Tree Surgeons Services... As a sole trader, I now bring in some extra help and I also work with another sole trader.
But I want to grow the business so that I get to the point where I am running, quoting, bringing in new business. So I need to grow the business which is hard when your doing the work, all the admin, and getting new business in...
But I seem to be busy doing juggling everything while working all hours. Bringing in some extra hired labour has helped. I am in a rural area that doesn't have density of population so I have to run a wider range of services than others in more densely populated areas might need to offer.
But I would be very interested in how others have grown the business successfully and and sustainably. As I seem to be a little stuck in the position where I struggle to take more work on due to lack of staff, while struggling to find employable people to bring on board, (Self-employed initially with a view of potentially employing them in the longer term when more work is secured). 
The are I operate in with sparse density of population doesn't help. But others have achieved it. So I would be interested in how you made this transition in growing the business...

 

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I think you've answered the question in your post, and probably the hardest thing to find, get some reliable help. 

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I now run a three man team, which works really well for the mainly tree work we do. Taking on guys to help has been mixed results, young guys in 20s have let me down more often than not, although most recent one was very good. Older guys in 30s with family have been most reliable for me.
One thing that saved me a lot of admin time was paying for accounting software, I use quickbooks. Much quicker than spreadsheet and emailing typed invoices, also allows me to check I've been paid as it links to my business account.
Hope that's some help. J.

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As above, automate what you can, and pay someone to do the stuff that will free up your time. You don't necessarily need to find someone to do the donkey work, you can find people to do more of the admin based stuff too. If you are in a rural area a lot of your promotional marketing could be done by someone else, leaving you to simply arrange to do the work. 

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More importantly, where in UK are you based? Can have a large bearing on what you can reasonably expect. K

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On 12/06/2021 at 10:31, Khriss said:

More importantly, where in UK are you based? Can have a large bearing on what you can reasonably expect. K

The Rural are of Mid Wales

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I'd say you'd find it hard to scale a business like this given what you have said and gut reaction is I'd either look to stay where you're at or find another business you can scale up easier. Always hard to find good reliable workers and if you do find them it increases admin time and organising work for them.

 

And in itself can cause large headaches ie. if particularly bad weather or low volume of work available now you have workers standing around costing money but with no work to do.

 

On top of this it's hard to do several different tasks well ie. equipment wise to scale up a tree business you need expensive equipment and that means you then need to have it working more hours or it's not efficient to have it. A catch 22.

 

If it were me I'd look to see which are of the business is the most profitable first, which do you enjoy doing the most and try and become a master of this area with best equipment and most efficient service.

 

 

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Look at what is giving you the most arse on the job  ( log lifting / truck too small / unriable Woodchipper) and sort that, plant is key in this job, its a deductible expense, could give you a leg up until work programs become clearer. K

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On 11/06/2021 at 23:27, Jamie Jones said:

But I want to grow the business so that I get to the point where I am running, quoting, bringing in new business. 

I have built my business over the last 17 years and we employ 9 or 10 guys, I have not been on the tools for at least 5 years and run around quoting and organising, plus surveys. If I was doing it again, I am not sure I would bother.. There is a lot to be said for staying small, investing in equipment and yourself.  I doubt I am better off financially either and the stress staff cause is relentless....!

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I agree with benedmonds, we used to have a company with 15 staff on the ground, the crash sorted most of that company out. We now have a smaller 3 man team which is always busy we only work a 5 day week and we pick and choose our work, we make better money, more profit with a lot less hassle now. We also invest in any machine which takes the drudge out of the work.

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