The internet has done a lot of really amazing things for modern society. It allows us to learn anything, anywhere, it keeps us in contact with distant friends, it’s even changed the way that we shop! But one of the most significant things that the internet has done is that it’s made it easier than ever for just about anyone to start their own business.
Where you once needed huge amounts of money and resources to start a business, now it often seems as though all you need is a computer, a great idea, and the drive to turn it into a reality. It’s a fantastic narrative and one that tempts many people away from their standard 9-to-5 lives. However, is that the case? Is it really possible to run a business all by yourself?
Well, the answer to that is yes, with a pretty serious “but.” Attached to it. While it’s certainly possible, it’s far from easy. To help you get started on the challenging path, here are some things that you should always do.
Keep learning all of the time
The moment that you have decided that you know “enough” to be able to run your business properly is the moment that you’re doomed. The modern business world is so complex and multi-faceted that you’re never going to be in a position where you know everything there is to know. Not only that but things change so often that information becomes outdated very quickly. Whether you’re learning about new SEO techniques, doing some research on rebate programs or you’re researching the newest pieces of tech that you can incorporate into your business, you should never stop trying to expand your knowledge and understanding of the business world. The moment you do is the moment you fall behind the competition for good.
Just because you’re running the business on your own, doesn’t mean that you can, or even should, try to handle everything yourself. Even the smallest business has enough different aspects to it that one person simply isn’t going to be able to handle everything. That’s where outsourcing can come incredibly useful. Not only do you get to hand certain areas of your business over to trained professionals who can do the best job possible, but it’s far cheaper than having to hire permanent employees to take care of those things all of the time. Not only that but it also allows you to gain a much better work/life balance, something that’s not always easy when you’re running a business.
Know your limits
A business owner should always be looking to the future, trying to find the next step in their businesses development and evolution. However, unchecked growth and expansion can actually lead to a lot of problems. You need to make sure that, if you’re planning on running the business on your own, that you reach isn’t exceeding your grasp. Think carefully about the steps that you want your business to take at every stage. If you try to grow too quickly, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to both lose the ability to take care of everything efficiently, but you’re also going to find yourself under more financial pressure than you might be ready to handle. A business run on your own can be incredibly successful, but you’ve got to be aware of your limits if you don’t want to end up in some potentially serious trouble.
Make sure that you have the capital that you need
Even if it’s not the driving force behind every business decision that you make, the reality of any business is that money is going to be an incredibly important part of day-to-day life. Your business needs capital in order to function, and you need to be sure that you have access to the funds that you need. Some small business owners choose to fund the business through personal finances; others use things like business loans to get a hold of the money that they need. You may even want to consider services like Kickstart to crowdfund the money that your business needs directly from your customers.
Plan your time carefully
If you don’t make an effort to manage your time as carefully as possible, then you’re almost certainly going to end up in a position where you’re scrambling to get everything done as you fall further and further behind. Time is the most valuable resource to your business since it’s the one that you can never get back, so you need to be sure that you’re using it as wisely as possible and that you know exactly how you’re using it at all times. If you’re trying to “wing it” when it comes to your business, you’re almost certainly going to end up in a position where you’re completely unable to keep up with everything. As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Know when to ask for help
It’s true that the idea of being able to run a business entirely on your own is more of a reality now than it has ever been before but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel the need to ask for help from time to time. This can take a number of different forms, from outsourcing certain tasks to hiring employees to work alongside you. No matter what you choose, it’s incredibly important that recognise when handling certain parts of your business over to other people can be the best thing for it.
No matter how many challenges you might come face to face with when trying to strike out on your own and run your own business, it’s important to remember that the barrier to entry for many small businesses really has never been lower than it is right now. Sure, it might still be a big challenge that can be very stressful, but never before has it been possible to set up a business with little more than an internet connection, a great idea, and the drive to turn that idea into something real.