I'm not a business person, and at this point in my life I really have no desire to be. So I thought that I'd give some tips on how best to get my business.
There are all the standard requirements, price your services well, do the job well, etc. But there is one aspect that I find varies a lot, accessibility. Some small companies do it well, some big companies do it well, in fact it's a bit of a crap shoot to see who in the local area will hit this mark.
Allow me to explain. I'm busy. I work 32 hours a week and I'm doing a Masters full time. I also try to maintain somewhat of a social life (variable success in that arena.) Most of the time when I'm trying to get in contact with trades persons or other service providers happens over my lunch break, or if I'm busy at the office as soon as I get home at 4:30, or if I get home late, the next day at lunch. The result can be an often frustrating game of phone tag trying to get things organized. It gets even more frustrating when the business has any of the following traits:
-Slow response time
-Don't return calls
Actually the last one pretty much guarantees that you will never ever get my business so long as there is another company in town. I have better things to do with my time then trying to chase people down. Use the technology that is available! You don't need to know much about the web to set up a basic website, you need even less to have an e-mail address.
And your harried customers will keep coming back.