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Are you a solo business owner? Do you have plans to launch your own business? Or do you have friends who are running a business alone?

There are almost 3 million Sole Trader businesses, with Solo Limited businesses to add to the total. Many of these will be the thriving businesses of the future that will generate employment and growth in the economy. There are also the dangers of failure with over 60% of new ones said to fail in the first year.

I have worked with 100s of SME business leaders and my admiration for anyone running their own business has grown hugely over the past 8 years. I am especially impressed with anyone who works to create a successful and happy business on their own. Often solo business owners are working long hours for less profit than they made in employment! It can feel very lonely and it can be a struggle to create a dividing line between home life and work life.

I offer some initial ideas on how to grow a solo business below, but find out more about our next Solopreneur Club launching in March 2016 here.

In the meantime here are 7 key steps any solo business owner should take:

  1. Set your vision for the future – Have a 3 to 5 year vision of where you want to go. If you are on your journey without a destination it will be impossible to make the right decisions to keep you on path to your vision for the future. This is not simple but it is critical!
  2. Manage your time to keep on track – Decide on the changes you need to make and start to introduce them week by week via a 90 day plan. Don’t go for revolution but evolution. Develop some new and effective habits. One vital one it to close your business down for the day, which means close your diary, shut down your PC and don’t retrieve any more emails on your smart phones!
  3. Plan to build a team or virtual team – You may not have the finances or the inclination to bring in permanent employees, but there are virtual resources you can use – creative designers, marketing specialists, virtual administrators, telemarketers etc. Decide on where you are most challenged and plan to bring in resources in those key areas. If you are looking to bring in permanent employees, it is vital you plan for this, as it needs to be done properly.
  4. Develop your skills – You may well have never had to sell before or market yourself. You now have to control a revenue and profit forecast. So as well as using the support of others, get some books and audios on areas you struggle with or attend a seminar/training course to bolster your skills in these key area.
  5. Focus on the measures – I know it is a little dry but start tracking how your marketing is working, what your sales conversion rates are, build some measures on your operational performance and most importantly of all track your costs, cashflow, turnover and profit!
  6. Celebrate your successes – Too often we focus on our failures and problems, so make a point of celebrating the successes that happen, however small. Train your mind to focus and seek out the positive that is happening and do something that will make you feel good and celebrate key milestones!
  7. Find someone to offer objective about your business – And finally, find someone to give you an objective view on what you are doing. You need someone who can stand back from your business, advise you objectively and bring a fresh pair of eyes to what you are doing. You are often too close and too emotionally involved to be able to do this successfully alone.

I started The Solopreneur Club™ in 2011, to work with solo business owners like you and your contacts, to give them the right help and support to grow a thriving and fulfilling business. More information is here for you.