I know many would-be business owners are caught up in the dream of solo business.
They envision themselves as enjoying lots of money as the fruit of their efforts and total control of how they spend their day.
They see themselves as finally being the “boss” of their own lives.
They fantasize about working when they want, doing what they want, and being accountable to no one but themselves.
They sometimes are so desperate to begin their new life they don’t properly prepare for what is ahead of them. Sometimes they quit a secure full time job in order to follow their dream.
They don’t think about the extent of the commitment it is to leave a paying job and begin a new business venture that is untested and untried.
Now, I will be the last person on earth to try to talk someone out of going into solo business.
I believe in this business model. I know it can be a great step forward for entrepreneurs that are stuck in their day jobs and can think about nothing but getting out of their present situation.
I want every one of you reading this to become successful as a new business owner and I will help you all I can to make the leap.
But you must understand the reality of what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are some of the results of tracking new businesses in the U.S.
There are 18.6 million small businesses in the United States according to the IRS. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that small businesses (including the self-employed) account for 58 percent of the U.S. workforce and 40 percent of the gross national product.
A National Science Foundation analysis reveals that small business has been a more prolific source of innovation per research and development dollar spent than large business.
A substantial number of today’s small business operators are women. They own 3.74 million small businesses and generate more than $65 billion annually in gross receipts. Between 1977 and 1983, women-owned businesses increased at twice the rate of businesses owned by men.
Starting a small business is risky business, and the odds of succeeding are not in your favor. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the majority of small businesses fail in their first year and 96 out of 100 fail within their first five years. That’s 4 businesses out of every 100 starts that make it to five years!
These figures aren’t to scare you; just to prepare you for the sometimes rocky path ahead. Underestimating the difficulty of business is one of the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs face.
Success is never automatic. It isn’t based on luck, although a little luck can be very timely. What it does depend on is how you play the game; in other words, how you prepare, execute, and follow through with your business plan and strategy. An even then, even if you have everything going for you, there are no guarantees.
Markets are dynamic and changing all the time. Unforeseen challenges and problems are bound to arise when you least are in a position to deal with them. Health issues, family matters, physical moves from one location to another, and many other “major” issues will often be thrown into the mix.
My advice to you is simple:
1. Prepare the best you can but understand that you can never anticipate everything you need to know or do. Don’t get stuck in the preparation phase. About 3 months maximum should be enough time to take care of all the preliminaries for the solo operator.
2. Execute your business paying attention to the small details on a daily basis. If you let things slide, they will come back to knock you over.
3. Leverage yourself and your time as much as possible. You do this, not by taking on employees, but by implementing systems into your business that automate recurring tasks.
4. Be quick, agile, and adaptable. Niches change regularly; markets change regularly; and customer preferences change as well. Anticipate change, embrace it, and move forward on the cutting edge of your market.
5. Regardless of your products or services, always give your customers the highest quality you can provide.
6. Go out of your way to develop solid relationships with your prospects and customers.
7. Strive to become the authority in your niche. Position yourself (and your business) as the only logical buying choice for your customers.
8. Be persistent in everything. Don’t give up when it seems that nothing is working.
9. Enjoy your business and extend that passion to everything you do. Your customers will recognize your enthusiasm and gravitate toward you so they can share in your delight.
10. Keep balance in your life and perspective in your family relationships. Business isn’t your highest priority. God, your spouse, your family, others, your health and a few other things should always come first.
Just of few of my own thoughts . . . you may have a differing opinion, of course.
To your online business success,