“Know your numbers. Know your costs to every tenth, and at the end of the month, you can see where you need to fix those numbers.”
-Tilman Fertitta, Entrepreneur and owner of the Houston Rockets
Running a business sounds like a fantasy – being your own boss, setting your own hours, following your passion. In reality starting a company comes with its own stresses and risks, all of which you’ll have to face by yourself. Want to open up a store on Etsy or sign up for Uber? These tips will guide you in the right direction.
Maintaining the Balance
When starting a business, the initial focus is on producing a sellable product. After a while other tasks pile up. You’ll need to put energy into finding customers and supplying demand. While it’s important to sell off all your stock, taking too much on could be overwhelming. Keeping up with orders could get in the way of new business and cause waiting customers to go elsewhere.
Once business picks up, you might feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Prioritizing will be your best friend. Make lists, set goals and be realistic about how long tasks will take. More importantly, recognize what needs to be done first and what can wait. Break up your schedule with smaller tasks you can achieve immediately and longer-term goals.
Don’t Underestimate Marketing
Unless you can find a marketing manager who will fit your budget, spreading the word about your business will mostly fall on you. Sell your brand by emphasizing your unique qualities. Try making a list of the best ways you add value over similar services. Another natural route is to build a web presence through social media like Facebook and Twitter. Analyze where your clients go online and reach out to them there.
Get a Hold of Your Finances
Solopreneurs can’t grow their businesses without carefully monitoring their money. When you are the only owner it is critical to keep track of all of your expenses. How will you know if your marketing is paying off? Who will alert to unusual increases in bills? Will you have enough money in the coming weeks to pay employees and other experiences? You can hire a bookkeeper or you can track these items on your own. Either way it’s important that you know your numbers.
Play Well with the Competition
While it’s great to manage your own business, it’s inadvisable to work in a vacuum. You might feel overwhelmed and burnt out at times. Making connections, even your competition, could help when you’re in a bind. You can bond over shared challenges and better understand your industry.
Even though you have confidence in your product, you might be worried about maintaining a customer base for the long-term. Stare down uncertainty and have faith that you can get through any crisis. Improve skills that aren’t your natural strength by practicing them until they’re more familiar. Focus on what needs to be done and find ways to make your work flow more efficient.
Make Friends and Create Your Network
Flying solo means there’s no one to listen when you want to vent, or an opinion besides your own. Seek out mentors and colleagues who can guide you through the rough patches. Find a trustworthy peer who will give you a pep talk after a long day. Above all, don’t become so lost or stuck that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Always ask for help to put you back on the right path.