Do you know where you want to take your decorating business in 2024? What do you want to do? Are you stuck doing the same thing over and over and need something to change or is it exactly where you want it to be? Even if 2023 was awesome, there are always nuggets of information in these blogs to switch things up a bit – keep the good stuff and ditch the not-so-good stuff. And if 2023 wasn’t your best year, that’s ok too. Let’s look at three simple things you can do right now to make your decorating business better in 2024.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein’s famous quote
Drive your marketing.
Let’s start with the basics: doing more with your marketing to boost your decorating business. We discuss this a lot in the Decorators Growth Club Pro Members Group because it’s clear that so many of us in the construction sector simply don’t do enough marketing. It seems like some of us believe that just putting a business listing on Yell and placing an ad in the local newspaper will magically make the phone ring. Maybe you have gone a step further and posted on Facebook, asking family members for work or recommendations, and that’s a great start.
The hidden talents of Facebook
Facebook is a brilliant tool with the potential to boost your visibility and attract potential customers, but there are a few key things you need to know and implement to make Facebook work for you.
- Create a Facebook page for your decorating business and avoid relying solely on your personal account, which is limited to your friends and family. While personal pages can be useful in groups, having a dedicated business page is essential if you want to utilise features like Facebook ads, forms, and be discoverable through Facebook’s search engine.
- Use ads, and don’t just hit ‘boost’ without checking the audience you’re going to market to. It’s crucial to know your ideal audience before running ads.
- Utilise groups to connect with people, engage in conversations, and make sure that you don’t focus solely on selling. The people in these groups are local to you so if you know the answer to a question that someone else has posted in the group then. Try your best to answer, this will help get your name out there so that when you do post, people will listen. People seek information and assistance, not just a sales pitch. Building trust is key, as people prefer to buy from those they trust.
- Keep posting regularly about your decorating business and, more importantly as we said above, offer advice to your followers. Consistently post on your business page whether you gain likes and comments on them or not. As you build your page and you’re following these posts will show how long you have been posting and give you what’s called “social proof”. Proof that you have been around for a while, that you are not a brand-new business and that you have been around a while. Some people mention that their page isn’t getting noticed, so consider running Facebook ads to gain page likes. However, to keep people engaged on your Facebook page, continuous posting is crucial. You can never have too many posts.
Make sure your website does its job.
It’s easy to believe that your website should be little more than a glowing reference for your services. But your website should be a place where potential customers can gather knowledge and information about your trade, not just about your business. Despite 70% of the buyer’s journey happening before they contact you, people don’t reach out to be immediately sold to. Everyone wants to feel like they have the choice to decide even after making contact. Your website and all your marketing efforts should focus on building trust, creating an environment where individuals believe they are reaching out for more information about your decorating business.
Certainly, you can promote yourself on your website, and it’s important to do so. However, shift the focus from just listing what you do to demonstrating what the viewer can have and guiding them to imagine how they can feel. Instead of saying “we do this” and “we do that,” create a narrative that allows visitors to envision the benefits and experience they can enjoy. If customers feel that you have delivered what they are looking for to other clients then that alone gives them the confidence to contact you. Use case studies of previous projects, show the progress, let them know what paint colours you used and show them the final result.
There’s so much more to marketing.
When it comes to marketing, the efforts you can put into it are endless. However, for a kickstart in 2024, focus on these two crucial steps. First, ensure your website is set up to spark curiosity and make people want to learn more about you, going beyond a simple sales message. Second, leverage Facebook for regular posts, and if possible, share them on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google My Business to broaden your reach with minimal extra effort.
Stay Ahead of the Curve:
When you walk into your house, do you turn on a black and white TV or insert a cassette into the HiFi? Perhaps you have a storage heater instead of radiators and single-pane windows instead of double glazing. If that’s your choice, that’s fantastic – no one can make you change who you are or what you love. Having outdated stuff makes you unique, you’re not a follower and not many can do it. You’ve either chosen to be a bit behind the times or maybe you haven’t kept up with the curve.
The same idea applies to the decorating industry and not learning skills like spraying or installing wall murals for example. However, in this case, choosing not to adopt skills like spraying means you’re making a conscious decision to not provide what your potential customers now want. The trend in these avenues is growing, and your customers are either aware of it or certainly will be very soon. They want it, and it’s essential to recognise this shift in preferences.
It’s time to discuss the expense.
There are only two main reasons decorators don’t switch to spraying or learn new skills. Either they refuse to change, and we’ve seen many who fall into this category; or it’s cost. We often get the excuse there’s no time do training, but there’s aways time to fit in training it just requires planning, what they really mean is that they can’t afford to take time away from the brushes to train which again is ‘cost’.
We appreciate it can be expensive. Although your training can be fully funded via CITB there are still the additional costs of travel, hotel, money lost from being away from the tools, plus the price of a sprayer or tools to add these new skills to your business. But this is where the importance of being a business owner, not just an employee, comes into play. Frankly, if you’ve been running a business for several years and still haven’t generated the profit needed to take this step, it becomes even more crucial for business’s growth to make this transition.
Taking the time to invest in training and finding the money to purchase tools isn’t just about spending money; it’s about investment in methods that can generate more income and build better profits for your business. Reflect on my opening statement: Are you stuck doing the same thing over and over and need something to change or is your business exactly where you want it to be? Making these investments can be the key to breaking free from the usual cycle and exploring new opportunities.
Go beyond your Niche:
This is the scary part of business. To stop focusing on what you hate, those low profit jobs, like the Hall, stairs and landing projects or small bedrooms and begin marketing for the kind of projects that you truly love doing and pay well. Maybe that’s painting kitchens, venetian plaster or wallpapering? If you get a chance, head over and watch the talk that Pete did at the National Painting and Decorating show. He talked about all the different ways that Decorators can niche and the kind of money that they could potentially earn. You would be surprised how much more profit you could earn just by looking at other services you could add to your business.
Odd job decorator
Being a generalist, offering a bit of everything, has sustained your business for years, but you’ve also realised that being a jack-of-all-trades doesn’t necessarily translate to substantial profits. Customers expect you to compete on price with a school leaver who’s just bought their first set of brushes from B&M, overlooking your professionalism.
On the other hand, kitchen renovations are known to be lucrative, you know that. You’ve heard us mention it time and again and it makes sense to narrow down on a niche. However, making that switch involves taking a chance. Losing just one or two general painting projects a month could mean the difference between paying the bills or not. As a business owner, these are the tough decisions you need to consider to shape the future of your business. It may be a leap too far for you at the moment but consider the possibilities and the options for the future.
Being a business owner is the hardest part of being a decorator.
As a decorator, you are also a business owner, and it’s crucial never to forget that. If you don’t take the opportunity to grow your business, to discover ways to earn more, you risk becoming nothing more than an overly stressed employee of your own business. In essence, you become an employee to your customers, constrained by their demands and needs due to the control they have over you through the money you rely on them to pay.
Being a business owner often involves taking chances, stepping out of your comfort zone, and making decisions that could shape your decorating business. It’s about seizing opportunities to ensure that your business thrives and doesn’t become solely dictated by the expectations of your customers.
Grow your decorating business in 2024.
There is no simple solution to growing your business because more than knowing what to do, it’s about having the correct mindset for when times are hard; and not get carried away when things are good. It’s easy to forget the basics when you’ve got a plenty of jobs booked in. Things seem good and so your marketing flies out of the window and you focus on the now, creating a feast and famine routine to your business. Feasting on the good, and then having to deal the famine when your lack of marketing catches up with you.
Taking onboard the 3 points listed above and becoming committed to pushing your decorating business can and will make it highly successful in 2024. At PaintTech Training Academy, we offer a huge range of courses designed to support you in achieving these goals. Our ‘Intensive Course’ is designed to get you started, while the ‘Kitchen and Furniture Course’ helps you understand the benefits of niching down. Complementing these are our ‘Estimating Course’ and ‘Project Management Course’ aimed at optimising your business operations. Additionally, our upcoming ‘Mentor Programme’ is designed to provide accountability and further guidance in your journey.