09/12/2010 - 00:00

Clients can count on service with Stiles

09/12/2010 - 00:00

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MATT Stiles says he bought himself a job rather than a business when setting up Stiles Electrical Services 11 years ago, and since then has been on the path of growing his business beyond residential work.

MATT Stiles says he bought himself a job rather than a business when setting up Stiles Electrical Services 11 years ago, and since then has been on the path of growing his business beyond residential work.

After four years of working primarily in the residential services market doing service-type work for individual clients, with the occasional contract with a small builder thrown in, Mr Stiles decided to take a two-year hiatus from this business and his ‘job’.

“I left the company for a bit and went into project management, because it wasn’t heading in the direction I wanted it to go in. I took a step back for a couple of years, got myself educated on how to run a business and then from 2005 I came back into it,” he said.

“It wasn’t until I had read and understood a few business principles and understood how to grow a business that we actually focused on getting more work in the door.”

After reading up on business principles in upwards of 50 books, Mr Stiles decided to focus on getting bigger commercial building contracts as well as targeting the mining and industrial sectors.

He invested in ‘human capital’, bringing estimators, project managers and a business development manager on board to build Stiles Electrical Services’ capacity to tender for bigger jobs.

All the while, Mr Stiles said the values he started out with remained core to the business’s operations.

“I still use those same principles I built the business on back then, but on a larger scale. Giving the clients the best service, just even turning up on time when you say you are going to turn up,” he said.

It may sound simple, but the emphasis is heavily placed on the ‘service’ nature of the business, something Mr Stiles said allowed it to attract repeat business.

Building relationships with clients, other contractors and project managers was paramount to Stiles’ business growth plan, its owner said.

A log is kept of every client and respective stakeholders or contractors overseeing the project, which is referred to when the business is going for new contracts.

“Once we deal with one client we try to always get repeat business from them. Builders will come back to us, right through to just separate business entities and local government,” Mr Stiles said.

All seems to be going to plan, with Stiles Electrical Services being named among BRW’s Fast 100 list of Australia’s fastest growing companies.

This hasn’t come without its challenges since Mr Stiles relaunched the business in 2005.

“A few years ago we were focusing pretty hard on getting into the mining industry and all our resources, especially in the office, were spent on quoting and building relationships with people,” he said.

Putting all his eggs in the mining basket proved challenging, however, and when the GFC hit and all the projects got shelved, the business was momentarily left high and dry.

Mr Stiles then diversified his client list and lowered his risks, getting involved with state and local government contracts.

It didn’t deter him from working with the mining sector, however.

“We have had some jobs in Norseman and picking up a little bit in Kalgoorlie, hopefully we can use that as a bit of a base to springboard off and get up in the north-west,” Mr Stiles said.

 

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