Whether you’re a company of 1000, or just 1, your goal is to attract customers, make sales, and eventually turn a profit (sooner rather than later!). But one can easily veer off track when it comes to building a business. The road can get hazy, even as a solo entrepreneur, where you don’t have a cofounder or close team to keep you accountable to the original goals.
That’s why it’s important to keep yourself in check at every phase of building a business, from conception to content marketing. Go over the common mistakes below to make sure your dream of successful solopreneurship is on the right track:
Not Having A Target Idea And Customer
One mistake solopreneurs make is not properly defining their target market. Let’s say you’re leaving a big marketing agency to strike out on your own. In your previous job, you served clients of all industries and sizes, from Fortune 500s to rapidly-growing startups.
Your previous employer already had a reputation to attract such a wide range of clients. But as a new solopreneur, you only have your own skill set and experience to bring to the market. What kind of clients and campaigns do you have the most experience with--and where did you seem to thrive best? Think about a niche idea to serve a niche audience in order to get started, and you can then grow from there.
Not Doing Your Homework
Just because you are one person and not a major corporation does not mean you are safe from industry wide regulations. Save yourself from future hassles and major setbacks. Keep in mind that not doing the right due diligence could shut down your company for good and even cost you money and/or your reputation. Make sure you are legally compliant, sign a contract or statement of work before embarking on any business ventures.
Problems With Pricing
When it comes to setting prices and rates, now is not the time to play the guesstimation game. The first prices you set will affect the value of business, so make sure you’re pricing right.
Pricing can be scary. If you overprice you risk losing customers to competitors. If you underprice, you could be devaluing you and your product or service--and won’t make any money.
Some business owners might conduct small surveys or price their products based on what they think their customers could afford. You can conduct hours of market research. You can also poll customers and your professional networks. But your safest bet is to ensure that your product or service offers more value-add than the competition, allowing you to charge a premium.
One advantage of being a solopreneur is you likely do not need an office, because you do not have a team of employees that need a collaborative workspace.
Protect your profit margins from the shiny objects you think you need to feel like a legitimate business. As an early-stage entrepreneur, this includes office space, high-tech equipment and other fancy software and tools. Spend these early months focusing on defining your value-add and attracting and impressing your first clients.
While you do want to keep expenses low, you also want to work smart and outsource where you absolutely must. Avoid trying to do everything yourself, and all at once. As the founder it is important for you to focus and prioritize on the tasks and objectives that will make the most impact on growth and success. This involves playing to your strengths and being fully aware of your weaknesses. It is critical to hire correct and competent people to execute the latter.
For instance, if you’re a talented web designer, but terrible at managing money, it is critical to hire an accountant. If you are a salon owner who is exceptional at greeting customers, doing hair, nails and managing your website and social media, that is great. But if you’re terrible at keeping a tidy shop, then hire a cleaning service to make sure your salon looks impeccable by the start of each day.
Overspending on Marketing And Advertising
It might be tempting to go overboard with marketing and advertising to get the word out. But it’s important to know what channels work best for your business and customers. As a business of one, use creative, low-cost methods to reach your audience. For starters, make sure you have an established social media presence. As a New York-based entrepreneur, consider a .nyc web address to market the fact you are operating in the top market in the world. Make sure your website is optimized for search, and set up with the right social media accounts. Monitor which platforms and what type of content is working, and take it step by step. Being strategic from the start is a solopreneur’s best weapon.