Tom Birt's Top Ten Electrical Business Tips

In 2017, I got to interview one of the electrical industry legends -- Thomas Birt. He shared his invaluable electrical business tips and electrical contracting business advice. He has owned and been at the helm of three successful electrical contracting businesses in three different market cycles. There’s a lot to learn from this man, and I am going to quickly review his top ten electrical business tips:

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1. Don't criticise, condemn, or complain.

You should not criticise, complain, or condemn anyone. Rather listen to their side of the story and try to see from their perspective. I suggest that you wear an elastic band around your wrist and pull it whenever you complain or criticise. You can also change the band from one wrist to another, and when you realise that you are doing this often, you will take a stock of your thoughts and try to be more positive. Base your business decisions on facts, not emotions. When you get emotional, you will make poor decisions which won't be result-oriented. So, be objective.

2. & 3.  Take an interest in people and be genuine.


You can learn what makes your client tick so that you can address their pain points and motives. Look your clients in their eyes, so they know you are attentive.

Be genuinely interested in people. Successful coaches take an interest in their players. Your clients are YOUR players. So, you have to shift your mindset to, "What do other people want?"

You win when your clients call you about things that are not related to work because then they are your friends. To have a great relationship with your suppliers, you have got to understand people. When you get the little things right, big things will follow.

4. Understand people’s inherent motives.

While talking to people, you have got to address their motives, like community, end goals, and other. Always remember that there is a better cause and a good cause -- find the better one and help the other person. So that they will feel like they got more out of your electrical services.

5. Time-based situations.


You have got to manage time well because, in the end, everything comes down to it. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do you want to do?

  • What do you want to achieve?

  • What about your family?

  • Lastly, what is the worst thing that can happen?

Prepare yourself for the worst thing that can happen and everything will work out from there.

6. Write questions and answers.

When faced with a problem, you should write down a few questions:

  • What is the problem?

  • What are the causes, solutions, best solution?

  • What is it doing to you?

Don't go "this is bad." Be positive and you will be able to solve problems methodically. Sit down and solve it!

7.  It’s a thankless world. Expect no gratitude.

Gratitude is a bonus. It is not included in your service fee. People won't come up to you and say, "Hey Tommy, you are doing a good job." However, if they do like your work, they will call you again. Thus you will know when your work is appreciated and when it is not. (Hint: repeat clients like your work.)

8. Criticism can be a compliment, too.

People who always complain, tend to criticise more. So when someone criticises you unjustly, you can always thank them. It will defuse an angry situation. And when people wrongly criticise your electricians, stand by your team. It will instil confidence in them.

9. Analyse where you went wrong.


The first rule of improvement is that you have got to know your capabilities. Be real about it. You can analyse yourself by asking these questions:

  • What was I doing?

  • Who was I affecting?

  • Was I doing it right or wrong?

And make sure to learn something new every day.

10. Make solid work habits. It will take you a long way.

You have got to clear your desk of all the unnecessary papers. You can do this by making a decision when you look at a piece of paper. And move on.

Always have a to-do list in a diary. This way you will know what needs to be done and won’t waste any time wondering about the next step.

If you have a problem, you have got to solve it, put it to bed, and move on. This strategy will work nine out of ten times because you will realise that you were able to solve the problem.

Organise your workforce and supervise your electricians. You have got to understand that every person thinks differently. So your business should have rules that employees should follow. Meanwhile, also trust your employees and give them autonomy. You can’t do everything and be everywhere. You have to come to terms with it and live with it. Believe in the foreman.

And that’s a wrap on Tom Birt’s top ten electrical business tips. Which are your favourite electrical contracting business tips from the above? Leave us a comment to share your strategy to implement the above tips in your electrical business.

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