L J Begg Electrical Testimonial

liam begg and hugh bowman

L.J.Begg Electrical

I’m Liam Begg the owner, operator of LJ Begg Electrical. I got introduced to Hugh through another company he was looking after. They knew I was having troubles with my business structure. I didn’t have much clarity of where I was going with the business.

The business before hand I was extremely busy, I didn’t have any workers . I was working for myself, working like a dog and not having any rewards.

I was living week to week, and I just had no clarity around the structure as I wasn’t really business minded, I was very “on the tools” minded. Hugh’s helped me get that clarity in, and get my head around actual business and structure and my pricing, and it’s made me be able to put on a couple of blokes and still have that workload coming through.

I had nothing in place when it came to recruitment or having a work vehicle or marketing, anything like that. And Hugh just set out a really planned structure on what we were going to do, when it was going to happen, and how we were going to, I suppose, approach it.

We were ticking off boxes each week. We were getting into things like pricing and recruitment, marketing. And each couple of weeks, each month who were ticking off each item because we got it done. And it was really good, you can sleep a bit better at night knowing those things are past you and they’re sorted.

So prior to being with Hugh, I suppose I was always stressed out. You stop doing stuff for yourself and you focus on the business, and your healthcare starts going out the window and you start not spending as much time with the family, and Hugh’s actually freed up a lot of time. He’s taken that stress away for me.

And being able to spend a lot more time with the family is the main thing, but also starting to look after my health a lot more. I’ve got time put aside for me, knowing that I’ve got workers there that can now do the work, which I didn’t have before, is a really good feeling.

If I had a mate that had a business coach and he was a tradie; a lot of my friends are tradies; I’d definitely recommend Hugh, especially if they’d just got that doubt in the back of their head in terms of where they’re going next, what their future options are, if they’ve got no goals in place and they feel like they’re just working day to day.

Hugh’s really good because he gives you that clarity, and he sort of, I suppose, future-proofs your business in a way, because he sets out a lot of things and puts them in place not just for now, but for the future.

How Much Should I Reinvest?

reinvesting back into business

Reinvesting Back Into Your Business For Business Growth

Today, I want to talk about how much should you reinvest back into your business?

Big companies quite often state in their financial reports that, say, 50% or 60%, 40% is distributed, and the rest is retained for business growth.

But when it comes down to small businesses, we don’t normally have an idea in our mind of exactly how much money should be retained in the business and how much should be distributed. So this is my recommendation for small business owners, especially around the trades and things like that.

It does depend on, I guess, their growth plans in the business and whether they forecast to grow a lot and hence need more cash to do so. But just on a provisional level or nominal amount, think about 50/50.

Think about distributing 50% of profits and then retaining 50% in the business as a good starting point. Of course, you can vary it from that as needed. So I hope that helps you out to get an understanding of how much money should you reinvest back into the business.

The next step for you to consider would be why you are reinvesting and what is your strategy for this. Having a reinvestment plan as part of your business growth strategy is a smart way of utilising your profits. Remember this strategy should be flexible but give you a noticeable return on your reinvestment and not get swallowed up with the general expenses associated with running your business.

Reinvesting – An Example

I suggest reinvesting the 50% for a strong business growth reason(s) that is measurable and gives you an obvious outcome. For example we have one client that does major plumbing and excavation work that is reinvesting in traffic management as another division to their company (and another service for their clients).

This means when they are digging up roads and interrupting traffic for storm water piping upgrades they divert the traffic as well. A great example of business growth through reinvestment.

5 Top Quoting Tips For Tradies

quoting for tradies

5 Tips On Quoting That Will Get More Work For Your Trades Business

Doing Enough Quotes?

So the first one here, I’ve put it down as, do enough quotes. What I find is some business owners, they get too busy and they stop quoting, and then they sort of start to run out of work and find themselves in a position where they have to win the jobs that they’ve already quoted. They find themselves in this game of, “Well, I’ll take some price off to close it.” So all of a sudden their margin starts dropping.

Having enough quotes in the pipeline and having them done consistently means that you can pick and choose jobs, and you don’t find yourself having to slash prices and adding extra scope and things like that, just to keep enough work in the workshop. So very important one, I would say one of the most important ones, because I haven’t met a business owner yet who doesn’t struggle to get enough quotes done.

Quoting Promptly.

Next one thing, leads onto it is, are they timely? Because for example, if you’re asked to do a quote, the prospect is going to have some expectation about when to receive that quote back. Especially if it’s, the larger the job, you can, I don’t mind if it’s a bit longer, but basically you need to get back in a timeframe which they expect. And if you take too long, they’ve already gone elsewhere or someone else has quoted and gone and closed the quote and you’ve lost the job.

And so timely is really important, and one small way to overcome that is by, the business I work with is, we send a little email to say:

“Yes, we’ve received your quote, we’re working on it, and we’re going to get it back to you in about four days time.”

And so the prospect knows exactly when to expect the quote, so they’re not actually out there still looking. The worst thing is to actually go and spend four days working on the quote, and the prospect still doesn’t know that they’re going to receive it or not because they start to get a bit surly and look elsewhere. So timely is really important.

Did They Receive Your Quote?

And the next one is, check if the quote’s been received. Sounds obvious, but there’s a lot of quotes that end up in spam folders. And if they don’t actually receive the quote, they don’t look at it, again, they’re up here in the grumpy zone, looking elsewhere to find another supplier. So real important. Within a day, check that the quote has been received or alert the prospect that it’s been sent so they should go looking for it.

Following Up

Next one is to follow up. And what I mean is, give ample time for them to have a good look at the quote and understand what it’s in it. But you need to follow up because, again, you don’t know that they actually have understood the quote.

You might have a quote that’s got a whole lot of parts to it or assumptions in there, and you’re a technical guy and you know all about your product, but sometimes the prospect doesn’t actually know that much. And so you need to feel them through it and make sure that, tell them you’ve covered everything that they expect. Because they might be out comparing too, and so, and this feeds onto the very next one as well, let’s deal with objections. And of course you can’t deal with objections unless you follow it up.

Dealing With Objections

But this point here, they’re comparing. They’re comparing their expectations with your quote or other quotes, and so dealing with these objections will uncover things like, is there a difference in scope between what they’re comparing, or can you change the price of the job? Because you can look at the scope and go, “Well, why don’t we change this product and put these different things in, or these different drawers or different bench top or…” and bring the price so it’s in their budget. And undoubtedly, this is one of the most powerful things you can do to win more jobs.

The Best Way Of Financing Equipment

financing equipment

When you’re buying equipment, should you finance it or should you pay for it out of cash?

Now, obviously it depends on how much it really is, but here’s a perspective for you. There’s a business that I’ve worked with for quite a long time and they’re doing okay, but they’ve never actually pulled a lot of money out of the business.

That’s because they’re endlessly buying more equipment and renovating offices and machinery and the like. You might say, “Well, that’s supporting the growth of the business,” But, it means they haven’t pulled money out.

Another option of buying a new piece of equipment and financing it, it means that you can take the money out of the business. But, there’s some pros and cons there.

For example, if you’re financing equipment, it’s probably going to be a higher interest rate, but the benefit is that at least it’s in the entity that actually owns it. In some ways, rather than taking some money from somewhere else or from off your home mortgage, for example, to buy equipment, at least it’s associated with the right entity. Also, it depreciates in a way that is more reflective in terms of the real value of the piece of equipment with respect to the cashflow.

That’s kind of important because after say five years, or as a vehicle,  it might be not worth that much money, but it’s not showing on your balance sheet at its full value. And sure enough, accountants can work this sort of thing out, but smaller business owners, it becomes more complex to understand. So financing in that case supports better understanding of what’s going on in the business, but also supports you taking money out of the business for your own sort of family and home purposes.

I hope that’s a good perspective on whether you should finance or pay for things out of cash. I mean, the experts in this field are obviously your accountant and financial planner, but go to them with these sorts of questions and see what they have to say as well.

How Much Should I Take Out Of My Business?

taking money out of the business

How Much Money Should I Take From My Business For Me?

What I want to talk about today is the mindset of a business owner, with respect to the amount of resources it requires.

You see, a great business in my view is that you put not much time into, not much money, and it churns lots of cash out. And in reality, that’s a pretty tall order. And especially with when you’re talking about trades business and things that I kind of work with.

They all put lots of labor and lots of money into equipment and things like that. But I’ve met many business owners recently that have spent many years working hard in their business and growing assets in their business, but they’ve never actually taken out any more than a wage. Don’t be a miser.

I see that as a big failure, because what about paying off their house and putting money into super and investing in other passive investments that might help them on the home front. Because businesses are inherently risky and they can change or crash or the economy changes and you find yourself hurting on the home front.

My advice is that think of it, a business like this. You want to make it run as hard as possible, take as much money out as you possibly can. If you can apply that to your business, you know you’ll have a great business. I hope that really helps you out with the idea of mindset around owning or being a business owner.

Obviously this is a quick tip and your business and business structure may need some analysis. If you feel like you don’t fully understand your business and how to withdraw money successfully give me a call and Ill help you out. Let’s set you up to win.

Van Signage – Is It Worth It?

old van signage

Marketing For Tradies

Marketing is one area that we find tradies need a lot of help with and having good van signage is an important part of your marketing. The trick with van signage is:

  1. It’s got to stand out and be loud!
  2. Easy to read and with contact details
  3. Simple and straight forward so a van wrap doesn’t cost the earth

Van Signage Example – Before/After

Here’s a great example with our client Greater Western Electrical
From the photo below you can see the before shot of the van signage:

old van signage

• Signage was small
• What does GWE mean? What kind of Trade is he?
• Has 2 phone numbers
• Signage looks tatty

Next we have the new van signage complete with a simple but effective rebrand.

new van signage after shot

• Designed to be eye catching – full wrap
• Zoomed in text on what the business does (ie Electrical)
• Clear which location he works in
• Large single contact number
• Website also listed as easier to remember than a phone number
• Simple – cost effective marketing

When you are working onsite, driving locally or even parked in the local supermarket car park you are constantly advertising your business. This a great marketing exercise that doesn’t cost that much but will last you a long time.

This example shows you how easy it is to go from dull and unclear to dynamic and memorable. Even better if you get a second van and double your marketin g efforts.

The comments this tradie is getting now are “we seem to see your van everywhere” – He stands out from the crowd.

This is further enhanced with carrying the branding throughout the business – notice his hat, shirt etc.

In the first week of the new van being on the road, he received a job that paid for the wrapping in full.

If you think you need help with your marketing then this is one of many good business practices Hugh can help you with.Remember people like good packaging and respond to very clear and forth right marketing. Make sure you’re doing it right with some decent van signage.

Premier Mechanical Testimonial

hugh bowman onsite

I’m A Tradesman & I Need To Learn Business

G’day, I’m David Kuempflein. I’m the Director of Premier Mechanical Australia. We specialize in onsite machinery and highway transport mechanical repairs. We’re based in the Geelong and surrounds area. Today here, we’re in Werribee servicing some client’s gear.

I decided to get a business coach because I’m a tradesman and I don’t really know a hell of a lot about business, and I wanted to make sure that throughout the whole process that I made as little and as few mistakes in the business side of things as possible. And so far, it’s been fantastic.

We were a sole operator, it was myself and a ute, and as soon as we wanted to expand, we decided to engage the services of Hugh and we haven’t looked back. We’ve now got three vehicles, we’ve got two mechanics, our second mechanic is about to start or will be our third, including myself, he’s about to start at the start of next month.

We’ve expanded and we’ve taken on a lot more work and servicing all our client’s needs.

Hugh has helped us with the human resources side of things, making sure that we get the right people to help us grow our business.

I would say that initially, it’s probably an expense that you certainly try and overlook, and try and get away from that initial outlay. But we’ve found that throughout the process, we have made a lot more money and Hugh has helped us avoid making any costly mistakes throughout the process.

Spicer Building Testimonial

Jason Spicer From Spicer Building

I thought it would be a great idea to go and look for a business coach. I did a bit of exploring. I met with a few other people, and he was probably the best. Definitely the best. That was why I went with him. He’s local, understands Geelong and the other areas, Surf Coast and Bellarine, how businesses operate within the region. He gave me great guidance in getting everything set up correctly.

The coaching is awesome. Hugh answers the phone when I ring him, and I’ll be in a tricky situation sometimes. He’s always there to guide me through it. Any advice, always very helpful, great ideas.

We catch up every four weeks. We sit down for about two or three hours sometimes and going through how the business is operating, if it’s profitable, and he makes sure that we’re achieving the right profit and goes through all my pricing and makes sure the business is doing well and lets me know if it’s not and what I need to do to change things. Everything’s been going really great so far.

When I started first, I was a bit unsure what direction I wanted to go in and what jobs I should take on. We looked at a few different jobs, and I told Hugh what I wanted to do. I eventually do more new custom homes, and Hugh helped me set up in that direction. Now, I’ve got probably four custom homes currently on the go, including other renovations and extensions, all lined up for next year. Next year is pretty much booked out. I did not think that would happen, but with the right marketing and guidance, it’s actually been quite easy.

How Coaching Help Me

It doesn’t hurt to speak to someone. A lot of people think they know everything. You don’t. When you’re starting a business, there’s a lot to learn, especially involved in building or a trade, as well to owning a business. Then just the trade side of things, the building side of things, it’s almost not where you make the money. The business side of things is where you make the money and you definitely need… If you haven’t done it before, definitely getting some help in those areas, it doesn’t hurt.

There’s been situations where I feel I’ll make the call on this, and I’m like, “No, actually I might ring Hugh first.” Probably saved me thousands of dollars, just that phone call. That covers Hugh for a fair while just there. I think every bit is worth it. I hope to have Hugh there for the whole time, for the rest of the journey, because I hope to expand the business, and I want him to help me in those areas, in employing the right people and having the right structure for what I want to do. He’s done it so many times. He’s done it with a lot of other businesses. I just want to make sure I set up right with everything I do, and I think he’s the man for the job.

Jason Spicer – Spicer Builders

Twilight Glamping Testimonial


A Business Coach Is A Great Sounding Board

My name’s Lee from Twilight Glamping. We provide luxury, pop up accommodation along the Great Ocean Road in Bellarine Peninsula. We also specialise in large weddings and corporate events where we go and we curate the whole event. So we’ll take 5,000 bell tents, set them all up as a bell tent village. We do large yurt style marquees for weddings as well that can seat up to a couple hundred people.

We decided to go with Hugh. Business was going quite well. I just felt like we needed a little bit more direction, a bit of good decision making/risk taking it got us to a point where we were, and I felt like we needed a bit more business guidance to be able to understand our company properly and how we could best grow. It’s been really good in the last few months, actually, since we started with Hugh, it was quite a big decision/gamble for us to start working with him, a big step.

It’s actually been really beneficial. I think probably one of the best things I’ve taken from it is it just gives you a sounding board and it gives you the confidence to make good decisions and your own decisions, but it just gives you the confidence to make them and make them quickly. And then you can move on quite quickly and progress. I’d say working with Hugh has had a real positive effects on our business. Hence why we’re still using him. We’ve taken on a full time, couple of full time permanent members of staff, casual numbers have increased a lot.

Revenues Have Increased

Bookings have increased, revenues increased. And I think just the general understanding of our business, myself and Beth, my wife, who runs the business with me, it’s just given us a lot more of an understanding about the business fundamentals. Making the investments to bring Hugh on board to engage him was quite a big decision. It was quite a decent chunk of money, but it gave us the confidence.

I mean, guarantees for a start that it pays for itself in the first 12 months, I think it is. And now it was a big decision at the start, but now it’s an expense that we get, we pay out and we kind of just move on. I don’t think it worries us too much anymore.

Too Busy! What Should You Be Doing?

Which is code for saying you are too busy working in your business delivering your product or service and too busy to work on your business.

Do you find yourself saying you are Too Busy?

I’ve talked to a lot of business owners recently, and one thing I’ve just heard again and again, and again: “I’m just too busy!” “Too busy?” I say. “I can’t believe it. So what are you doing? You raking in the dollars?” And they say, “Oh, well, maybe not.” And I go, “Okay, well, that means you probably should be working more on your business, then.” Or if it was a “Yes, raking in dollars,” I go, “Well, what are you so busy for? You should be going fishing, sitting on the beach, or learning how to improve your business even more, so you can do more sitting on the beach and more going fishing.

This is what I really think they should be doing. If you’re too busy, you’re saying you’re too busy to be working on the systems in your business, systems that create a better quality product or service or systems to make it easier to employ people that can do a particular job and then more easily do it. So you can educate or train staff more easily or things like that.

A chance to improve

So are you too busy to improve systems in your business? That doesn’t make good sense, right? Too busy to train your team? After all, you’ve got a better-trained team, you get better, more happy customers. So, hey, that’s really high value.

Too busy to plan or set goals? Let’s face it: If you don’t know what the plan is, you’re not going to get there. Or you’re already there now.

Too busy to review staff? The one thing you want to try and improve your staff, you’ve got to review and talk to them, improve them, and set goals with them, and listen to them and work out what they really want to learn and what they want to do or like to do.

Too busy to learn more or work on their own education? I say, “Well, unless you get better yourself, that’s where you’re going to cap your business potential.”

If you find yourself saying you’re too busy, have a real think about if you are too busy and what should you really be working on instead?