The business life of a traditional entrepreneur is filled with busy schedules, plenty of responsibilities, and lots of accountability. It’s a good thing that entrepreneurs have a great team of directors, managers, supervisors, and staff that they can depend on. Through their team’s hard work and support, these business leaders can perform more effectively and achieve entrepreneurial success!
Unlike traditional entrepreneurs, solopreneurs (solo entrepreneurs) aim to achieve entrepreneurial success all on their own. Whether they’re operating a small business, a local retail or service shop, or a completely online business or retailer, solopreneurs do so independently. They’re a one-person operation that does everything from answering phone calls and responding to emails to fulfilling orders and performing services to balancing the books and paying bills – and everything in between.
While a traditional entrepreneur has the benefit of team support, solopreneurs are their own support system. Although this independent arrangement seems like a steep hill for solopreneurs to climb, there are a few key steps they can take to achieve success.
Step 1: Create a Realistic Business Plan
Just like houses cannot be built without a foundation, businesses cannot be built without a realistic plan. As we detailed in our previous article, a business plan allows a solopreneur to define their core business, activities, objectives, and all of the steps they need to take in order to achieve all of their business goals.
A realistic business plan should include:
- An executive summary (a brief overview of the entire business plan)
- A marketing strategy (how a solopreneur plans to reach their potential audience and turn them into loyal customers)
- A financial plan and budget (how much money the solopreneur will need to perform daily operations)
Step 2: Network and Market Yourself
To reach prospective customers, solopreneurs have to let the public know who they are, what they do, where they’re located, and how they can solve their problems. This is accomplished through marketing.
However, most solopreneurs (especially those just starting out) do not have a robust marketing budget to spend on traditional and/or digital marketing strategies. That’s why it’s important to rely on a tried-and-tested form of low-cost marketing: networking.
Making connections in the local business community is a great way to spread positive word-of-mouth marketing. Plus, it’s an effective method of opening up new opportunities with other small business owners – especially if they are solopreneurs, too.
How does networking help solopreneurs? When a customer of a local business or service provider asks that trusted business owner/solopreneur if they can recommend a local business for a specific product or service, they’ll recommend someone they have a connection with. And that connection was made by networking.
Solopreneurs should invest some time and effort in joining local business networking groups and/or attending local events such as Chamber of Commerce meetings.
Step 3: Improve Your Efficiency with Technology
Improving and/or developing efficiencies in workflows and processes can help solopreneurs achieve success. Since they’re operating independently, it’s important for solopreneurs to use tools that help speed up processes, ensure accuracy, record billable time, manage inventory, etc.
Incorporating technology into daily duties helps improve these areas to make the workday more manageable. By using appropriate electronic devices, software, and apps, entrepreneurs can lessen the burdens of performing all of their various tasks and perhaps shave some time off of their work schedules.
Step 4: Manage Your Work-Life Balance
Running a business is the epitome of a full-time job. Business owners often face long working hours, extended work weeks, and even limited opportunities for breaks. As a solopreneur, these issues are often amplified. Since there’s no one else to provide coverage or delegate responsibilities, it’s up to the solopreneur to do it all. Unfortunately, this arrangement can result in business owner burnout – which can negatively impact well-being.
Maintaining a proper work/life balance is key to entrepreneurial success. Businesses cannot operate efficiently and effectively if the leader is unable to perform their responsibilities due to lack of focus, energy, or poor health.
Rather than having an emergency disrupt the daily workflow, it’s important for solopreneurs to follow a daily schedule with clearly defined work hours and built-in breaks for lunch and peace of mind. This prevents solopreneurs’ professional lives from dominating their personal lives. It’s also important for solopreneurs to schedule time off to recharge their batteries and prevent burnout.
Step 5: Locate Affordable and Appropriate Work-Meeting Space
Overhead expenses can be a major deterrent to achieving solopreneur success. And one of the leading expenses for solopreneurs is leasing office space. It’s important for solopreneurs to have access to space to perform their duties, meet with existing and potential clients/investors/vendors, and present a professional appearance. However, leases are incredibly expensive and the available space may not be the most beneficial to the solopreneurs needs.
Instead of investing in a long-term lease, solopreneurs can curb their expenses (and free up capital to invest in technology and marketing) by choosing coworking or shared office spaces found at HeadRoom.