Working as a business owner is no easy job. Running a successful company requires patience and hard work, and this doesn’t always pay off quickly or, in some cases, at all. Combine this challenge with the added difficulty of being the only individual within your business, and then it’s understandable that some people find this challenge too difficult. As much as it is tough, there are a lot of freedoms and benefits to running a solo business, but it has to be done right to ensure that things go smoothly. To help you improve your efficiency and therefore find a better chance of success, we’ve put together this helpful guide.
Find Something You’re Passionate About
Of course, you may have already started your business, but there’s very little reason to stick with it if you have no passion for the industry. It’s always worthwhile choosing something you enjoy and that you’re passionate about. If you can’t wait to start working each day and it makes you feel motivated throughout both the good and the bad times, then you’re onto a winner. Working in an industry you care about will also mean that you’ll likely have a much better working knowledge of the industry itself, and maybe even more so than some professionals that have been in the industry for years.
Build Up A Strong Network
When running a business alone, you’ll want to make up for the lack of employees by building up a strong and supportive network. This network should include a mixture of agencies, small and large businesses, and even other solo business owners. Remember that if your business can benefit them, there’s a chance that you could come to a mutually beneficial agreement wherein you both help each other to thrive. For example, perhaps you offer IT support and tech training to businesses. You could then offer that service to a marketing agency that could then promote your business in exchange for your services.
Keep Learning New Skills
You must continue to pick up new skills during this time, as you’ll be essentially filling many roles that you would otherwise delegate to management. You’ll also be completing the actual work that your basic employees would be doing for you if you owned a large, staffed business. You’ll want to learn skills in marketing and sales, customer services, financial management, planning, and strategy, as well as a heap of other things. Alongside these traditional business management skills, you’ll also have to learn more skills within your specific industry too. Let’s say you’re a plumber or an electrician, for example. Over time, new and improved tools may be released to make your job easier, as well as new practices that become widely adopted by others in your industry. The quicker you also adopt these new ways of doing things, the less chance you have of being left behind by other businesses.
Develop Your Communication Skills
Communication skills are one area that everyone can benefit from improving, whether they’re a manager in a large organisation or a solo business owner like yourself. Effective communication with others can seriously improve your business relationships, leading to better deals and much better cohesion with others. Not only does it help to be able to communicate well with other professionals and businesses, but it also helps to communicate well with your customers and clients too. You must build great relationships with your customer base, as this will help to encourage them to continue working with you.
Manage Your Administrative Tasks Effectively
When it comes to improving your efficiency, it is essential to find ways to cut down the time it takes to complete menial tasks. One area in which menial tasks are abundant is administrative work. Unfortunately, this work is essential and is conducive to a well-managed business. This could include corresponding with clients, customers, and business partners, sending invoices, paying bills, sorting files and documents, managing diaries and plans, and arranging your travel and accommodation. This is why the help of a personal assistant is often sought; however, it’s possible to take on these responsibilities yourself. To do so effectively, though, requires you to find ways in which you can expedite many of these processes. You can find many tools online to make your work much easier, such as tools to merge PDF documents or file sharing sites which you can use to circumvent the file size limit of email servers. As well as using these tools, you can also implement automation systems into your business, which can handle specific essential yet necessary tasks, freeing up your time for other tasks.
Plan Your Days
Managing a business on your own requires a much higher level of focus compared to if you were working within a larger organisation. That means that planning your calendar as well as each day can be a necessity, especially during busier periods. Even if your workload has quietened down temporarily, it may still be best to develop this planning into a habit as it’ll only serve to benefit you when things pick up again. If you need some help with understanding how to effectively plan your work, there are many resources online that you can use to give you some ideas. You can even find planning templates that you can edit to suit you.
When working solo, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete every task. Allowing yourself to get swamped while trying to juggle everything isn’t conducive to positive and healthy work. This has a significant impact on your business, but it can also start to harm your mental and physical health as you work long hours trying to catch up and experience higher levels of stress and anxiety. Instead of allowing this to happen, we highly recommend outsourcing certain tasks to agencies or freelancers, allowing you to reset and get on with other important tasks without the constant worry of looming deadlines.
Another potential problem when working alone is what happens if you’re physically unable to work due to illness and injury? The answer to this is likely that the work stops until you recover. Sometimes, however, this is unavoidable. You should have some solutions in place should this occur, such as being able to pass that work on to freelancers, but you should also strive to maintain good health to minimise the chances of this happening at all. Poor posture, bad diet, and a general lack of exercise can all lead to feeling unwell and can significantly impact the quality of your work.
Give Yourself A Break
As well as failing to keep physically healthy, overexerting yourself is a common way in which professional business owners can get sick. Stress can cause some very serious illnesses, such as heart disease and stroke, but it can also diminish your immune system. It’s important to take care of your mental health and reduce stress wherever possible. Running a business is no easy task, and it’s important to cut yourself some slack once in a while. Try to maintain a healthy work-life balance and remember that there are more important things in life than work. Set yourself a work schedule and stick to it as much as possible, and make sure you switch off properly once the day is done. Turn off your devices, set automated out-of-office responses for your emails, and remember that the work will still be there tomorrow.