Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thinking of Starting a Small Business of One? 6 Tips to Help You Succeed


The idea of running your own business has an obvious appeal. Having the chance to be your own boss and run things according to your own interests and goals makes sense.

While many may choose to find a partner, or at least aim to hire help, there are those who choose to go it alone.

According to the Small Business Association, there are approximately 28 million small businesses in the US.  79.9%, or a little over 22 million, are considered “nonemployers”, those with no payroll or employees.  

You will find some additional statistics on the different types of Small Businesses here.

However, there are issues unique to the Soloprenuer that are not present when you have others to lighten the load.  

Running a Business Alone is not for Everyone.  “Tweet This”

Many times new entrepreneurs are afraid  to “go it alone”.  I was the same.  When I originally started my company, I had two other partners.  Then, in 2004, I went solo.

This was undoubtedly the best decision I could have made. I now had the freedom to take the business in the direction I wanted to go without answering to anyone else.

If you are thinking of running your own Small Business of One, then it is best to go into it with your eyes wide open.  Most importantly, you need to recognize the challenges of running a Small Business solo and then plan, as much as it is possible to plan, for how you can best deal with them.

6 tips to Help You Run Your Solo Small Business:

  • Start Off Right

Choose the Right Business Structure - Finding a good accountant/tax professional at this juncture can really help.  They will guide you in deciding what kind of business would be best for your circumstances (corporations, sole proprietorship, S or C corporations).  Some choices carry with them more personal liability than others.

Have a Clear Business Plan - While this is important for any type of business, when you are alone it has added value.  When you have a well thought out plan that truly speaks to the type of business you want to run, it will help keep you on track.  

Set up a Working Home Office - This can be anything from a nook, to an extra room dedicated to your business.  Or, like me, it can even be a roving backpack!  Since I travel at least a couple times a month, I have learned to consolidate most of what I need into one backpack  (although I do have a cabinet at home that serves as storage).

  • Recognize That Your Time has Value

Time is Your Most Valuable Asset - Many business owners don’t realize this enough, and when you are running it alone, it is even more crucial.  You need to understand that your time and focus must be on what can bring you business, like marketing and driving sales.

Outsourcing is Your Friend - When you are the only employee of your business, you may think that you have to do everything on your own. In fact, it is really in your best interests to outsource those tasks that you are not good at or simply don’t want to do.   For example, I have always used an accountant to do my business taxes.  I knew that this was not my strong suit, so my money was better spent in hiring someone that really knew what they were doing.

  • Remember, You Don’t Have to Always be Alone

Connect (in person or online) - Loneliness is often one of the parts of being a solopreneur that you don’t plan for.  If you are not careful, you can find yourself cut off.  But you can find ways to offset this.  Get out there and  join local groups and schedule lunches or coffee meetings.  If that is not possible, be sure to forge some strong online connections that you can chat with or even to vent!

Create Your Own “Board of Directors” - It is a good idea for you to gather a group of colleagues and advisers.  They can be invaluable to bounce ideas off of or to serve as a sanity check.  I found a local networking group to do just that.   We act as each other’s “board of directors”, champions, and promoters!  We meet once a month to learn from each other, talk about some of our current challenges, and to get feedback on when we need it.

  • Stay Organized

Running a Small Business of One isn't for the easily distracted. To manage your limited amount of time effectively, you have to be disciplined in getting done what needs to be done. That is why it also more important than ever to be organized (and this is definitely NOT my strong suit in my personal life).  Be sure to keep track of all work progress, be constantly aware of your money flow, and invoice quickly!

  • Find Tools to Make Your Day-to-Day Tasks Easier

Finances/Taxes - Be sure to keep your personal and business finances separate.  Accounting software can help you keep track of your expenses and give you a jump start on tax time.

Marketing - Your biggest challenge will be finding the time and resources to generate new business and market yourself.  If you are not careful, you will find yourself spending too much time generating and sharing quality content and reaching out to current and potential customers. 

I found these 7 really easy to ups apps and sites to help me.  Check them out here!

#active breaks & #productivity

  • Avoid Burnout 

Take Care of Yourself - Doing that can become one of the more difficult parts of running a business alone.  The dividing line between work and play can often become blurred when you run your own business, particularly if it's home-based.  You will find some easy ways to do this in my article on taking “active breaks”.  
Remember, you are the most valuable asset of your business so you can’t forget to take care of you!

There is no doubt that when you run your business of one, you have everything on your own plate.  And that can be both daunting and exhilarating! 

I understand.  I celebrated the 10th anniversary of running my own business of one in 2014 and it has been a wild and crazy ride. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

So my advice?  Don’t let fear hold you back from accepting the challenge.  Just go in with your eyes as wide open as possible and you will find that you are glad you dove in!  I know I am!

Please Pay it Forward and Pass this On.  Leave a comment too, I would love to hear from you!

Authored by   

Visit Me for more tips on running your own Small Business!  I would love to help!  And find out more about what I do here!

Check out my 
page for answers to Your Small Business and Hiring questions!

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