When someone decides to take the plunge and set up their own business, often this means they’ll be working on their own for the first time. It can be scary and daunting, but with determination they are likely to make it a success.
In this article, we’ll examine six key areas and offer advice to make managing a one-person business that little bit easier…
Time is precious
When there is just one person in the business, it’s very easy to get bogged down in tasks that aren’t the core business. In fact, inertia can easily set in and the owner becomes swamped. The simplest route through this malaise is time management.
The one-person business owner needs to organise well and not get distracted from the task in hand. So that means: only looking at email at set times of the day, trying to focus on one task at a time – rather than jumping from task to task – then setting small, achievable goals to help move that, and other, tasks on.
A realistic daily job list is a great way for this business owner to become efficient and to stay on top of everything.
That leads us nicely on to point number two…
Focus – then outsource
Small business owners up and down the land know all about The Scourge of The Administrative Task. As a business grows, so do the number of ta
If they can afford it, they pay for services to help streamline all the non-essential tasks. They seek outside expertise such as back-office support – rather than spending time and energy doing non-core tasks badly.
Get a good website
The single biggest benefit to any one-person business is a high-quality website. It provides potential customers with an immediate reassurance about the legitimacy and quality of what they’re offering.
The business owner will also benefit from a single destination from where they can conduct marketing, gather in-bound requests, display client stories and publish critical information about their location, any awards and accreditations, and the person who runs the business.
Critically, a good website allows a small business to punch above its weight during that all-important phase when a potential customer is weighing up its merits against those of a potentially bigger, more established and well-resourced rival.
Other digital considerations
A good digital presence doesn’t just mean having a website. A savvy web-user will immediately look for social media accounts related to any new business as a way of further legitimising the organisation they are interested in. Well-run social accounts will also bring a small business to the attention of more potential customers.
Beyond establishing digital destinations, a one-person business can do itself the world of good by having an email address that matches their web address and business name. It just seems more professional than promoting a Gmail or Outlook address.
Fluctuations are normal for the one-person business – but how do you stop this becoming a full-blown crisis when there is less coming in than going out? The answer is to keep cash balances high and not to overspend or leave yourself juggling payments.
Client focus can help here. Rather than the bigger payers, often the clients that pay regularly and on-time receive the best service. When time is limited, focusing on clients that can bring you a reliable income can help you establish a business and then think about its future development.
The emergence of digital technology has been something of a godsend for the one-person business.
Services that used to be either costly or time-consuming can now be delivered painlessly and cheaply – sometimes even for free – via a web-based service. The savvy one-man band should be alive to the benefits these new technologies can deliver.
For instance, online accountancy services such as QuickBooks or Sage One take the pain out of invoicing, registering expenses, calculating VAT and working out how much tax to set aside for the inevitable tax return.
If you need to keep customers and prospects up to speed through regular email contact, MailChimp provides free email marketing and list management up to a certain number of send-outs.
A study found that 68 per cent of small business owners are open to using cloud software, but also that 51 per cent don’t have the time to research and assess cloud services to see which would work best for them.
This is exactly why free tools, such as the 9 Spokes business dashboard, have been designed. They help small business owners find the perfect software for their needs by showing a list of recommended apps categorised by industry.
Business owners can then connect their apps to the dashboard, see data come to life, and find out exactly how their business is performing. Technology is the not-to-be-missed opportunity to save time and grow a successful business.