At Turner Little we understand that, as a small business, maintaining momentum and enjoying success is not easy. As the sole person responsible for the success of your business, you’ll find it challenging and sometimes difficult.
Without other people to work with, it can be tricky to maintain discipline, strike a work/life balance and know when to say no. On the flipside, the flexibility and independence of being a sole trader often makes it appealing. We’ve come up with our top 6 tips to help you stay motivated:
- Show genuine passion
As a sole trader, you will work long hours. But if you truly love your work and enjoy doing it, this won’t seem a problem. Choosing a field of work that you can maintain enthusiasm and passion for is key to success.
Perhaps your forte is website design, writing or accounts – it doesn’t matter what it is if you enjoy the work. Never stop learning and adapting as you come across new clients and enjoy the feeling of using your knowledge to help them achieve their business goals.
- Find your USP
When you’ve decided what your trade should be, you need a unique selling point (USP). Do lots of market research and create your service offering. What’s different about you and your business? Is it the high level of quality? Your flexibility? Your years of experience? Whatever it is, make sure you capitalise on it and communicate with clients that there’s something only you can provide. The idea is often the easier part but understanding how to find a niche in the market is the real skill.
- Expand your network
It’s necessary to have a reliable and stable network of people who can recommend you and introduce you to leads. Having a support network of people with similar or complementary skills can be invaluable in growing your reputation and skill set.
As you don’t have internal partners, you must cultivate external partners. Include a mix of in-person networking events and online networking on sites such as LinkedIn. The growing practise of sharing office space as co-workers can also be a good way to make valuable connections.
Many sole traders find their work comes from ‘word of mouth’ recommendations following the establishment of a network of co-workers, clients and friends at previous places of employment.
- Be ready to adapt
Lifelong learning should be part of everyone’s remit, but it’s particularly important for sole traders. Keeping up to date with market changes, consumer trends and technical knowledge is vital. Whether you choose to sign up to online tutorials or keep an eye on publications, find your way to absorb knowledge.
There are online courses, both accredited and less formal, that can help you to brush up your skills, learn new ones and understand how your target market is changing.
- Learn how to communicate
For anyone who’s completed a business degree, understanding the importance of clear, polite, relevant communication will be innate. Taking the time to understand how to communicate with different stakeholders, customers, potential clients and anyone else you come into contact both in written and verbal communication cannot be underestimated.
Also depending on your business sector, geographical location and target market, should encompass cultural and language differences too. It’s likely that your consumer base includes people from all over the world, and when you can’t always meet face-to-face, communicating effectively online is invaluable.
Communication should be personalised, adapted for each audience and never scripted. People respond to people, and this should inform all your communication, marketing and PR plans.
- Devise a back up plan
Your business is likely to have peaks and troughs. After all, this is true whether you’re part of a multi-national corporation or you’re a sole trader. The difference is, as a self-employed person, you are totally responsible. Be prepared to shift your business approach to match industry or legislative changes, and always keep on top of news that could affect you.
You already have the skills and knowledge to do your job well. Add in passion and thorough research, a support system and the flexibility to learn and you will be looking at a successful future.
For more information and advice on starting out as a sole trader, contact the team at Turner Little.
About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction/repair, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.