Solo Entrepreneurs - 5 Strategies to Boost Your Success
Solo Entrepreneurs - 5 Strategies to Boost Your Success
Are you a solo entrepreneur who is just starting out or well established? Is your goal to remain solo or hire a team? Do you offer a product, a service, both? While there may be various business models and growth objectives for the solo entrepreneur, certain behaviors tend to set successful entrepreneurs apart.
As a solo entrepreneur, the success of your business is entirely dependent on your behaviors and choices. Consider the strategies below to boost your success.
The Art of Focus
Focus is about the scarcity of saying yes. Jony Ive, former Chief Design Officer of Apple, was known to have had a close relationship with Steve Jobs. Ive has commented on how much he learned from Jobs, especially about the meaning of focus. It’s easy to find many things to say no to and this may provide the illusion that one is being focused. However, true focus and by extension the ability to make meaningful progress comes from saying no to things that one cares passionately about, but that need to be set aside for the current time. Keep focus on the right tasks at the right time. In the words of Jony Ive, “Even if it's something you care passionately about, focus means ignoring it and putting it to the side.”
Beware the Rationalization Trap
Rationalization of what? Every day you are faced with decisions about how to spend your time. Each day you have choices to make and tasks to perform, some of which appeal to you, some don’t, and some you simply choose to avoid. You are likely familiar with avoidance behavior. Avoidance is a natural human trait where we avoid doing the things we don’t want to do. In many cases, the task being avoided eventually gets done. This isn’t ideal as time was lost but at least whatever was being avoided gets done. Rationalization is more sinister. It happens when you convince yourself that what you are choosing to spend time on is the best use of your time to accomplish your business objectives when it is not. Instead of rationalizing how you spend your time, set aside time to make an objective plan and schedule with the best activities to move the business forward. Hold yourself accountable for working according to this plan and take checkpoints to make appropriate adjustments over time.
How Are You Accountable?
As a solo entrepreneur it’s easy to lose focus (see above), rationalize your daily priorities (see above), and simply let the daily routine take over. As days go by and days turn into weeks which turn into months, how are you measuring your progress? In a corporate environment or even a multi-owner small business you likely have someone holding you accountable for your contributions to the organization. But when you are the organization, you have to decide how you will be accountable for the success of your business.
You likely have others invested in your success. These people may include your spouse, your family, your friends, your local community, and others. What is your accountability to them? Oftentimes, these people serve as a support system but not necessarily an accountability system. If you find it difficult to hold yourself personally accountable for your own success, consider finding an accountability partner. Your partner could be someone from the people mentioned above or anyone with whom you have a relationship, communicate well, and who isn’t afraid to have honest conversations about your progress.
An Expert in Nothing?
As a solo entrepreneur your responsibilities encompass the entire range of activities needed to run a successful business. These responsibilities include being highly proficient in the core offering of your business but also extend to marketing, sales, operations, finance, technology, compliance, and the list goes on. It may be tempting, especially if you have perfectionist tendencies, to want to be an expert in all of these areas. This is a recipe for failure. Trying to be an expert in everything will only make you an expert in nothing.
Understand the strategic differentiators of your business. This will be your guide to where you need to focus your time to be a true expert. True experts recognize continuous learning is critical to maintaining your expertise. Every moment spent on other activities takes you away from building and maintaining the competitive edge for your company. Decide what your clients and customers value. Decide how you differentiate yourself from the competition. Be an expert in these things, you only need to be proficient in everything else.
Abundance and the World Around You
William James, the American philosopher, has said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes."
A mindset of abundance is an attitude that is important for you as an entrepreneur. This mindset can be beneficial in the following ways:
- Greater resilience: Entrepreneurs who believe that there are enough resources and opportunities to go around may be more likely to bounce back from failures and setbacks.
- Increased creativity: An abundance mindset can help entrepreneurs think more creatively about how to identify problems and develop solutions.
- Better relationships: An abundance mindset can lead to better relationships with customers, employees, and partners, as it fosters a mindset of generosity and collaboration.
- Greater motivation: An abundance mindset can also lead to greater motivation and a sense of purpose, as entrepreneurs feel they can make a difference in the world.
- Improved decision-making: Entrepreneurs with an abundance mindset may be more likely to make decisions that are in the best interest of their customers and employees, as they believe that there is enough success to go around.
It’s exciting to be a solo entrepreneur. Congratulations on choosing this path and showing the bravery it takes to stick with it. Your family, clients, customers, and community will be better because of your efforts.
Eric Ross, CFP® is the Founder and Principal of F2 Wealth. His expertise has helped individuals and families make smart decisions about their financial lives and has appeared in national and local media publications including print, radio, and television. F2 Wealth is a comprehensive wealth management firm located in Cincinnati, OH serving clients locally and nationally. To connect with us visit our website www.f2wealth.com or reach Eric directly at Eric@f2wealth.com.
The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date of publication but may change due to regulatory, legislative, or other factors outside of our control. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax, legal, and/or financial advisors before acting on the information presented herein. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes an investment solicitation or recommendation.