Tips for going it alone with your small business
Here are some great tips that will help you go it alone with your small business
As of June 2015, 61% of actively trading businesses in Australia had zero employees.* That’s hundreds of thousands of business owners going it alone – they are the CFO, CEO, head of marketing, head of human resources, receptionist and even the cleaner. Having so many roles and so much responsibility means, not surprisingly, stress is common complaint amongst small business owners.
Flying solo in business can also be a very lonely business. There is no one to bounce ideas off, no one to help make a decision and no one to question you or even support you.
However, one thing going it alone does provide is freedom. Without employees to worry about, you can work when you want, where you want and how you want – and the successes are yours alone.
If you are out there building your business on your own, here are some tips that can help you stay focused, get the support you may not think you need and maintain your work-life balance.
Don’t do it all yourselfJust because you don’t have employees, doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Using a virtual personal assistant, outsourcing some of the things you struggle with, delegating to contractors and making the best use of new technology can all make your life easier. Also, learn to say no. Don’t waste time on things that don’t align with your vision for your business.
Try a business mentorIf you are looking for genuine advice on how to run your business and some support with decision-making, try a business mentor. You could approach someone you respect and initiate an informal relationship or you could sign up with a business mentoring organisation or even hire a business coach. It makes good business sense to learn from people who have already done what you are doing now.
Maintain balanceSmall business owners frequently work while they’re on holiday, clock up long hours and fail to make time for personal wellbeing. If this sounds like you, then you are certainly not alone. But when you are working on your own, there’s no one else around to notice changes in your mood or behavior, so you have to keep it in check yourself. Take time to ask yourself how you are travelling, keep to a routine and factor in time for relaxation, exercise, socialising and family life. Not only will you feel good, your business will benefit too.
Time managementWith so many roles, it is important stay organised. Try to focus on one thing at a time. If you are doing your accounts, finish your accounts. Don’t get distracted by other issues (unless it’s a client – they always come first). Set aside chunks of time for specific tasks and work to a routine, just like you would if you were an employee.
Connections are importantEven though you may have regular contact with clients and contractors, it’s important to maintain a connection with like-minded peers. Whether it’s for support, advice, a second opinion or someone to bounce ideas off, there are lots of communities out there – you just need to know where to look. Networking events, online forums, conferences and meetups are all great ways to offer and receive support and recharge your batteries. Talking to competitors can also be a great way to compare notes and share ideas.
Getting out there whether it’s in person or online, also helps build your brand, generate sales leads and even may even help attract capital. As a small business owner, you may sometimes feel like you’re on an island all by yourself – but remember, there are thousands of little islands out there just like yours. Build a bridge and you can help each other.
* Data source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
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