According to UKIFP there are 2.8 million sole trader businesses in the UK and 63% of new ones fail in the first year.

It can be incredibly challenging and lonely running your own business. This includes sole traders, solo ltd businesses and businesses where there is one owner and it feels like all the employees do is turn up to take a salary.

Starting your own business offers the prospect of many rewards – the potential earnings, independence, flexibility in life and a massive sense of achievement. There are however challenges that come with this.

Are you a sole trader, solo ltd business or solo business owner?

Do you recognise these challenges?

  • You are working long days and often 7 days a week.
  • There is no dividing line between home life and work life.
  • It can be very lonely, often going through days without much interaction.
  • There is nobody to share the stress and pressure with and you end up sharing that with the people close to you which does not help.
  • You are really good at what you do, but have found that most of your time is spent elsewhere in admin, marketing, accounts and sales.
  • You don’t like the thought of selling but you are the only one to do it!

What can you do to make your business more enjoyable, less stressful and more successful?

Here are 5 key steps any solo business owner should take:

1. Develop a time management project for how to use your time effectively.
Decide on the changes you want and 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!

2. Shout for help!
Whichever area it is, don’t try and do it all alone. There are many experts out there and many communities to join (online and physical). So get connected and ask questions and seek help.

3. 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.

4. 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 and will impact on your time initially.

5. Find a coach or objective business partner
You need someone objective who can stand back from your business, advise you objectively and bring a fresh pair of eyes to what you are doing. You are too close and too emotionally involved to be able to do this successfully alone.

A way forward for solo business owners ….

If you would like to find out more about a club that has been specifically designed to help you, please see here. The next Solopreneur Club begins starts February 23rd 2015 in Ruddington.