Photo courtesy of NetMinder IG, Flickr
So, you've decided to hop on the entrepreneurial bandwagon and live out the American Dream by owning your own field service business. That's great! There really is nothing quite like working for yourself and aspiring towards your own goals for a company that began with your very own stroke of genius. You are going to love it once you get started.
Of course, we all know that starting a successful field service business is not easy. It requires a lot of time, energy, tough decision making, and risk. It's no secret that I had my fair share of struggles when I first started to turn my vision of HindSite Software into a reality. Hopefully, I can help you avoid the mistakes that I made with these 10 simple pieces of advice.
1. Hire people who are smarter than you
Hire the people who know how to do the things that you don't know how to do. Hire people who are experts in their field. Surround yourself with people who can teach you something. Let them teach you. Trusting your employees to do their jobs well is much easier when you know that they are more than qualified to do the job.
2. Be clear about your standards
This is your company, which means that you create the standards. Your employees are not going to automatically know what you expect from them in terms of quality work, ethics, time management, and customers service. Do not expect people to read your mind or copy the standards that you display by example. Verbally define your standards and reiterate them periodically. This way, there is no room for miscommunication.
3. Know why you're in business
Perhaps you are in business because you have the best field service software there is to offer. Perhaps you are in business because you enjoy teaching and managing other people. Perhaps it's because you love to do paper work. Perhaps it's because you want to make a lot of money. Whatever the reason that you came to this point, this is what drives your passion for your company. Keep this in mind.
4. Save 1% of revenue each month
During the beginning phases, you could be putting almost all of the money you earn back into your company. It might be tight, and that can make the money you save in the bank seem like a waste. However, saving at least 1% of your revenue is of the utmost importance when, for example, all your equipment breaks at the same time and you have no extra cash. You will be thanking yourself for your stinginess later.
5. Be honest
When it comes to things like taxes, financial statements, a customer's money, and the quality of the service you provide, honesty is the best policy. You may not like the system, but it is far better to play by the rules than to face a lawsuit later. Besides, people will respect you for it.
6. Control your overhead
"Waste not, want not," said my grandmother who lived through the depression as she washed out chip bags to use again. The message that you can take from this is not to waste materials no matter how small they seem. Record broken or unsuitable materials on a waste sheet. Keep track of your depreciation and take good care of your equipment.
7. Set boundaries
Many people go into business with close friends or colleagues. If you are one of these people, you must be prepared to eventually face disagreements with these people. This is handled best upfront and before any problems occur. Remind your partner that in the business setting you must act professionally and that you have a lot of ideas for the company that your partner may disagree with at some point. Ask that your partner be honest and respectful with you at all times, and then return the favor.
Know your employees strengths and use them by delegating tasks deliberately rather than randomly. You know who you can count on to get the tough jobs done on time. You know who has been slowly proving themselves and could use more responsibilities. Sometimes you can know your employees strengths and weaknesses better than they can. That's why you have to delegate.
9. Join peer groups
Learn from the masters. Study field service business owners and you just might find out how to solve that pesky problem that keeps popping up. When it feels like you are all alone in an office full of papers written in gibberish with problem after problem occurring (I've been there), other business owners can help you.
10. Stay passionate about your business
Remember that feeling when you first thought about starting a field service business? If you are like me, it was a combination of excitement, fear, and self-doubt. Remember how the more you thought about it the more you realized, "this just might work!" Excitement soon took over as if you could just feel the success ahead of you. Now think about all the hours you have spent working toward that goal and all the money and sacrifices you have made. You did this because you believe in your company. This passion is the most important ingredient to success.
Thanks for reading! Have suggesstions, comments or concerns? Leave us a comment! We'd love to hear from you.
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