But why might a sole proprietorship be attractive to an entrepreneur? Working as a solo entrepreneur is a dream come true for many. You choose your own working conditions with superiors to answer to or teams to manage.
Without a vision of where you want to go, you'll more than likely find yourself going round in circles. Starting with your big-scale goals and working backwards, it is a general plan for how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Include reasons you will succeed, what your customers want, and how your business sets itself apart. But most importantly, focus on why you’re doing what you do.
The psychological impact of writing down your targets and how to get there are well-documented. Not only is it a symbolic object from which to draw motivation, you are far more likely to achieve your goals simply by physically making a plan.
Having a written roadmap is essential for a solo entrepreneur, but even more important when it comes to transitioning into a business leader. For your new team to buy into your vision, they need to have confídence that you know what you're doing.
Things you should include in your business development roadmap:
Your end goals
Corporate social responsibility values
Your desired working environment
As a final note, don't think that once you've got a plan, you have to stick to it 100%. It's important to be adaptable and to take advantage of advances in technology and your industry. While your goals may stay the same, circumstances may mean that the way you get there has to change.
Once you’ve got your plan in place, the next job is to earn a reputation in your field. For successful solo entrepreneurs to make the jump to business leaders, they need to have an established track record of success. Without it, attracting the top talent and high-paying clients to your organization will be a minefield.
Look at where similar solopreneurs shine and identify niche areas that you can move into. Remember to be aware of your weaknesses — it’s easy to try and do it all, but ultimately you will spread yourself too thin and head for burnout.
Now you have an idea of where you can stand out, it’s time to start making noise.
To earn your reputation as an expert, aim for the following goals:
Win industry awards
Get recognized credentials on your resume
Gather testimonials from happy clients
Show off case studies on your website
Offer relevant, professional tips on social media
Solo entrepreneurs usually have a specific field of expertise, and scaling up often isn’t a natural path to take. For example, if you’re an expert project manager, you don’t want to share the spoils with similar profiles. However, if you are an SEO expert, you could combine your skills with a social media expert to create a marketing agency with a greater scope.
The main difference between individual go-getters and organizational leaders is simple: Rather than one person shouldering all the tasks, you build a team who complement each other and go further together.
Successful solo entrepreneurs have to learn to step back into a more managerial role if they are to expand into business leaders. Think about what each profile can bring to your team. Perhaps you need a tech whizz who can always find quicker ways of doing things, or maybe you’re better off going for a young recruit who acts as a direct link to your target Gen Z market.
Maintain an open mind during the hiring process — the best fit is so much more than a resume that ticks all the boxes. By this, we mean how well they align with the company values you want to espouse. Pride yourself on sustainability? You can quickly identify new recruits that match your passion.
If you’re not used to the business of hiring, you can get equipped with specialized HR software that lets you track all your applicants and keep all your day-to-day human resource tasks under control.
The beauty and the bane of being a solo entrepreneur is being in control of everything. That’s why it is so important to prepare mentally if you’re hoping to expand into a team-based business.
This isn’t an excuse to hand off your boring admin to someone else so you can concentrate on the fun parts. It’s about understanding what aspects each team member excels in and trusting them to fulfill your expectations. Think of it as outsourcing tasks. Perhaps, as a solo entrepreneur, you may have hired an accountant to take care of your taxes. Delegation is very much the same, only within your business.
Trying to keep control of every aspect will quickly become too much work for an individual in an organization, and the most likely outcome is a spiral down into micromanagement. For your business to succeed, you need to delegate meaningful tasks, such as finance or HR, and take a more supervisory role. By delegating, you not only give experts the support they need to do their job, but free up more time so you can focus on yours.
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Solo entrepreneurs often don’t have anybody to answer to except their clients, so having to work in a team all of a sudden can be a shock to the system.
Make sure to set the standards for how you want to work early in the game. For example, you might want to be clear that brainstorming sessions are for creative inputs and no idea is a bad one. However, if you’re using daily stand-ups, they should be short and to the point, not an opportunity for drawn-out conversations.
On the technical side, you might want to limit the amount of emails that go back and forth. Restricting task-specific work to the appropriate place on your project management tool is a great way of keeping track of things, while video calls trump email at the conceptual discussion stage — just don’t forget to assign a notetaker to keep everyone in the loop afterwards.
You’ll also be in charge of your team’s professional development, so schedule in quarterly conversations to monitor progress.
As a solo entrepreneur, working from home simply makes sense. As long as you have a quiet area and good control of your working hours, you can skip the extra costs and hassle of going to a coworking and pour that cash into your profits.
When building a team, a lot of business leaders prefer to rent office space. It could be a traditional office or even a few desks at a coworking space, but it works as a central hub for you all to get together.
Against a background of remote work, it’s easy to forget the benefits of a physical office. You can create a real team spirit which is a great motivator. It’s also a perfect place to meet new clients and leave a good first impression.
However, it’s hard to ignore why so many companies are going remote. You can hire the best talent from all over the globe and meet each other over video calls. With no extra office expenses and staff happy with their own working structure, remote offices can be excellent for your budget.
A physical or an online office is really up to you. However, we would always encourage you to make an effort to create a feeling of belonging. It’s always very clear to clients if their point of contact is happy in their role, and retention is far cheaper than recruitment.
You’ve got your team, you’ve decided where you’ll be working from, now it’s time to think about what you’ll be working on. As a solo entrepreneur, it can be easy to think that the tools you use will be second nature to everyone, but finding a platform that is user-friendly is a must for business leaders.
Rather than having separate tools for your task management, communication, and drive, consider getting an all-in-one platform. Not only will everything be connected together from the outset, but you’ll be able to work more efficiently, without having to flick between tabs all day.
You can also save huge amounts of time with automations. When applied correctly, automations can act like a dedicated personal assistant that assigns tasks, sends reminders, and takes care of a whole range of other administrative tasks without you lifting a finger.
Finally, we would recommend getting started with software that will last you a lifetime. Platforms like Bitrix24 can be scaled up, meaning they’re perfect for the initial stages, but can accommodate all your needs when you decide to expand. For example, you can take your CRM for solo entrepreneurs and build it to accommodate the needs of your new company. Even better than that, the entry-level is free, so you can manage projects, build websites, run a contact center, and more with little-to-no financial investment.
Scaling up goes way beyond having an adaptable business platform, and even the most successful solo entrepreneurs have difficulties when growing their business. Whether it's launching franchises or entering new markets, there will be a new set of responsibilities for your team and for you as a leader. The good news is that following the previous points will put you in the best position to do so.
As you’ve already become comfortable with delegating tasks and trusting your team, taking things to the next step won’t be too different. You can use the same hiring processes to maintain those high standards, and create an onboarding experience that includes your new teams in your company culture.
However, it’s always important to remember that not every market is the same. If you’ve recruited experts in their local area, spend time learning from their insights and adapt your approach for each market. For example, some countries insist on face-to-face communication, while others prefer to be more efficient online. This may mean it’s advisable to open up a physical office in your new location while staying online elsewhere.
After launching a successful business, solo entrepreneurs may get the itch to start a new project from scratch. But what happens to the company once you’re gone?
When it comes to your exit strategy, the last thing you want to do is a hurried dash to get everything in working order. The process is a continuous one that is present at every stage of your growth. Some of these have already been covered — entrusting your colleagues means you won’t have to train a replacement manager from scratch.
However, making how-to-guides on your processes, saving all your contacts in a CRM for solo entrepreneurs and fully fledged businesses, and creating template workflows are all ways of keeping your house in order. Save all your essential documents like your brand guidelines in a folder within your drive on the cloud and you’ve already taken huge steps towards preparing to hand on the baton.
Now you’ve answered the question “what is a solo entrepreneur?”, and you’ve got a clear idea of how to make the leap to a business leader.
It’s no easy feat, so at Bitrix24, we’d recommend starting off with the right tools so you can flourish. Like a personal assistant in each department, Bitrix24 has solutions to every area of your company, so why not try it out for free today?