One Man Show? How to Run a Successful Independent Business
In this post, we’ll explain how you can run a small business on your own.
1. Write a Business Plan and Stick to It
A thorough business plan should have numerous components, including a description of your company and its markets, your overall business strategy, financial projections, and long-term aspirations.
Since you’re running your business by yourself without any active partners who can contribute capital, you’ll probably have to convince outside entities to invest in your business or lend you money. No one (except maybe your family and close friends) will invest in your company without first seeing a detailed business plan. Therefore, you’ll likely need a business plan to get your company off the ground and keep it well-capitalized.
In addition to acquiring a loan, your business plan can keep your organized and help you ensure that you’re working towards your goals. Be sure to frequently review your business plan, and make changes accordingly as your business grows and fluctuates.
2. Acquire Necessary Skills
As an independent business owner, you’ll need to be a jack of all trades. Below, you’ll find a list of skills that you should take the time to learn prior to embarking on a one-man business venture.
- Marketing: You should learn about how you can market your business. Take courses or conduct research on how to set up a business website, write a blog post, set up sponsored social media campaigns, and set up direct mail campaigns, just to name a few examples.
- Sales: As an independent business that doesn’t have a sales team, you’ll be responsible for all sales pitches. Take a sales-related course, or practice your pitch with a trusted colleague or fellow business owner. Remember, sales skills are a craft that takes time, so the more you practice, the better you’ll become!
- Customer Service: Like sales, you’ll need to provide stellar customer service to your clients. To help you manage customer inquiries, you might benefit from investing in CRM software to keep you organized.
3. Seek Outside Help
As an independent business owner, it’s important that you realize that there will be times in which you need to outsource work to more experienced professionals. Instead of struggling to complete tasks that you’re not comfortable completing, , you should hire other people to do those tasks.
For example, if you aren’t comfortable overseeing your business’s finances, you should hire an accountant or bookkeeper to manage your business’s finances. Or, if you don’t have a legal background, you should hire a lawyer who can handle legal issues for you. In addition, you might need to hire contractors to complete more technical marketing tasks, such as implementing search engine optimization or redesigning your business’s web page. These are just a few examples; it’s important to consider the areas in which you struggle, so that you can hire freelancers or independent contractors to assist you with these projects.
4. Find a Mentor
Like hiring freelancers to handle projects or tasks that you’re not experienced with, you should find a business mentor who can provide you with advice about running an independent business. Having an experienced entrepreneur who you can reach out to when you have a question will save you considerable stress, and will help you avoid making big mistakes.
Creating and following a business plan, acquiring necessary skills, outsourcing tasks, and obtaining advisers are all essential to establishing a successful one-man operation. If you take these steps, you’ll greatly increase the chances of starting and growing your independent business.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.