Starting a new business in an unfamiliar industry is a challenging task. But it wasn’t challenging enough to stop Joe Goldman, president of Mr. Electric of the North Shore in Evanston, Ill. Here’s how Joe left his long-time job and began a booming electrical contracting business in less than six months.
A Big Change, a Major Challenge
After 25 years as a franchise owner in the transportation industry, Joe was looking for a new beginning. And when he learned about Mr. Electric franchising opportunities, he knew he had found it. With his franchise experience, opening a Mr. Electric location seemed like the perfect transition to a fresh start. But there was one problem: Joe didn’t have a background in electrical contracting.
In addition to a lack of technical knowledge, Joe was also unfamiliar with pricing jobs and building a flow of quality leads. “I had no knowledge of contracting,” Joe said. “I was in a dark cave looking for a black hat. Price quoting was especially rough. Sometimes I was under; sometimes I was over — it’s not an exact science.”
Old Tricks Meet New Solutions
Fortunately, Joe had help. The Dwyer Group, the parent company of Mr. Electric, provided a variety of support resources to franchise owners. “The breadth and sophistication of Dwyer’s support was amazing,” Joe said. In addition to help from The Dwyer Group, Joe also had a trick of his own. “I kept my phone to the grindstone, and I wasn’t afraid to put on my marketing hat. I brought free lunches to real-estate offices and did a lot of schmoozing. It’s a classic avenue. Now when someone moves into the area and asks their agent about electrical work, I’ll be top of mind.”
A Dedication to Communication
Joe also focused on his online presence. “I was ridiculously late to the online game. I was one of the last people with a smart phone,” Joe said. But with the help of Emilia Sperandeo, Joe’s HomeAdvisor account specialist, he was able to build a robust online presence. “Joe was meticulous in the way he set up his online profile,” Emilia said.
“Creating an online reputation is a big part of success management. Online profiles are like a digital business card. Joe also worked with his employees on how to take calls and speak with customers. A lot of Joe’s success was due to his willingness and eagerness to communicate,” Emilia said.
Within several weeks, Joe’s franchise had a steadily growing customer base. But his new-found success didn’t come easy. “Never underestimate the hours you have to put in to make a business successful,” Joe said. Learning about electrical contracting, developing real estate agent relationships and establishing an online presence was a major undertaking — and one that never stopped. Joe’s interest and involvement in every facet of his business has helped him create a profitable company in less than a year.
Joe’s Tips for Quick Success:
- Utilize out-of-the-box marketing
- Prioritize communication
- Grow an online presence
- Build industry relationships
- Never stop learning