While there are as many ways to run a small business as there are small businesses, there are common themes found in those who succeed. Here are the 9 must-have tips for any solo entrepreneur!
1. Expedite – While managing a business all by yourself can be an attractive option, if you can afford to, hire some specialists. The chances are higher that you will save money, get more accomplished, and take better care of your customers with a small team on your side.
2. Network – Take some time out of your week to network. Go to meet-ups, seminars, and maintain personal and professional contacts. This increases word-of-mouth for your business, offers insight into what other entrepreneurs are doing, and can provide you with some fantastic opportunities.
3. Be Confident and Humble – In order to believe in your business, people need to believe in you. Whether you are shooting for a new investor or customer, you need to be confident and slightly humble. If you are humble, it means that you believe there is always room for learning and growth within the business. If you are arrogant, people will perceive that you either do not require their services, or that you are secretly insecure – Either way, they won’t work with you.
4. Keep Receipts – When looking at your bank account, it may seem like you have a lot of money, but remember the tax man at the end of the year! Save money away, so that you are prepared for the inevitable. Keep receipts for anything business related. Not only will they provide an accurate account of your finances, but they also allow you to deduct business expenses.
5. Work/Life Balance – When owning your own business, the lines between work and home life can become blurred. As a result, you may be less efficient in both aspects of your life. Because there is no one else implementing a 9-5 schedule, implement one yourself. By establishing strict boundaries between work and home life, you will be more present and efficient in each. Resist the temptation to check your e-mail once family-time has begun, and try to avoid getting caught up in family affairs or personal interest websites when at work.
6. Social Media Time – While Social Media and related Blogs are a large part of business these days, limit your time spent on them. Perhaps an hour each day. Updating your business’ Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media Networks. Like watching television, the hours can melt away while browsing Social Media Networks. You can combat this by setting a limit to your time spent there, and then move onto another task.
7. Differentiate – You want to be able to answer the customer’s question of “why should I buy from you?” To answer this question, you need to differentiate your business. Know your competition, their strategy, and their target audience. Look for holes in the market, and how you can stand out from your competition. What are customers asking for that no one is currently offering?
8. Develop Personas – As important as it is to know your competition, you also need to have a clear idea of who your target audience is. Collect information that is relevant to your business; such as, demographics, sociographics, occupation, favourite social media networks, tech tools they use, family, pets, and hobbies. You want to know who they are, what they like, what they need, and where to find them.
9. Nurture Customer Relationships – Obtaining customers is only half the battle. You need to nurture those relationships in order to create brand loyalty. Using a CRM solution will enable you to treat each customer like they are your only one. Customers want to feel special and remembered. In addition to a CRM system, loyalty programs, coupons, and other incentives are also sure-fire ways to win some brownie points.
Do you have words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs? Please share them in the comment box below!