One of the great advantages to operating a solo business is that you, and you alone, control what transpires in the business.
You make all the decisions, you set the rules, and you alone reap the business spoils.
Solo business appeals to many people, not because they’re anti-social or paranoid about taking on business partners, but because they see distinct advantages in the lifestyle and daily routine of the owner/operator.
Many prefer to work at home, work from a laptop, or enjoy the autonomy that a solo business provides compared to the “rigid and structured” nature of corporate society.
But for all the advantages of the solo business model, there is one distinct disadvantage that surfaces for some operators.
It is the fact that some become so engrossed in their business that they never step out of it to check the reality of what they’re doing and to look around and see what else is going on within the market.
I shouldn’t really call this phenomenon a disadvantage because it doesn’t automatically happen in every solo business.
It is more an owner trait that some display and not an inherent fault in the solo business strategy.
Often small business owners are extremely focused individuals.
They eat, drink, and sleep the business 24 hours a day.
They put on blinders that sometimes block out all the normal outside influences that a regular person is subjected to.
They don’t read news, watch television, or even jump on the Internet to see what’s happening, often in their own niche.
I remember reading the experience of one gentleman who totally immersed himself in the creation of an information product.
He did nothing besides meeting his basic human needs and researching/writing his product for the better part of four full months straight.
That kind of focus and dedication are admirable, but can lead to some other problems that are very difficult to deal with and overcome.
First, a solo business owner needs to have balance in his life.
He needs to care for his physical health, his spiritual health, and his family and spouse.
If the owner sets these things aside, his business will suffer because he will undoubtedly suffer.
A solo business owner also needs to be “in the world.”
He needs to understand the forces at play on his business, his customers, and his market niche.
If there are influences in the environment that affect his product or service, he needs to know what it is and how to deal with it.
The small business operator would do well to surround himself with a team of experts or mentors that will provide some insight and a “reality check” to the things the owner is doing in his business.
He needs to look outside himself and the business for help in the areas that he may not have competence.
The business owner needs to step out of his business and spend some time watching and understanding what is happening with his competition, his audience, his suppliers, etc. Markets are anything but static and understanding changing market conditions is critical to the health of every business in the niche.
There may be new trends, or products, or companies in the same niche that are changing the niche or the direction that it’s going.
If the business owner ignores the trend, he may be shutting his eyes to his own future.
Solo owners need to watch and mingle among their customers.
They need to be open to signals, feedback, and events that their customers offer.
It’s difficult to join your audience (the community of prospects and customers in your niche) if you’re totally engrossed in activities that keep you focused only on your own small business daily execution.
Owners need to do research and product development. They need to understand changing customer sentiment and how new technologies and discoveries affect their own business selling system.
Doing market research and discovery will likely require that the business man get on the Internet and dig or research outside the confines of his daily business routine. That is a good thing.
Finally, I would suggest that the solo business owner look for ways to step away from his business to give back some value and good will to his community or his industry. Volunteering his time can be a great way to take a break from the daily business routine while still continuing to brand the business.
This may sound too altruistic or goody-goody to be a profitable or sound business decision. But I believe that businesses are impacted very positively when they seek ways to return good will and benefit to those who influence their success.
To your online business success!