Congratulations, you’re the boss of you! Those exciting steps when you first set up your business and you become the driver of your dreams whether that is in your café, hairdressing salon, gym or garage can be a daunting one.
Let’s look at some of the best and worst aspects of going it alone – and some pointers to help you over the bumps.
Firstly, pat yourself on the back, you’ve done it! You’ve put your money where your mouth is and embarked on an ambition. Like all things in life,
- Do you remember the first time you secured a client, customer or sale? You should, because this was the moment you turned the corner and officially became an entrepreneur. That first step set you on your way in business and so should be celebrated for the milestone it was. If you can, frame the email or proof of purchase to keep this important starting point fresh in your mind.
- Time is precious but working very long hours to get the business up and running can easily become the norm. Instead, take some space to evaluate how you work and your levels of productivity. If you are getting what you need done in less time you allocate to your work day, then allow yourself to finish up a bit early on an odd day so you can strive for a better work/life balance. Remember, a more relaxed you will make for a more sustainable business.
The buck stops with you, so you are the master of what you create and how it works. This is a good thing and an opportunity to exercise assertiveness and embrace your creativity. Take courage in your convictions, be decisive in your actions and stay true to the ethos of your business.
- Taking charge can be a stressful exercise. Whether you’re working on your own or in charge of a new business with staff as a leader you will need to maintain a level of confidence and knowledge that inspires and comforts those in your charge. Clients need to feel the person they are doing business with is confident and has a strong grasp of how to do business. Make sure you have all bases covered from your tax compliance to salary payments as well as a good rapport with suppliers.
- If you’re self-employed for the first time, the comfort blanket of someone else handling your tax affairs, paid holidays, pension scheme membership and even sick day cover is no more. But there is nothing to fear from going it alone. Revenue has a comprehensive overview of what you need to do as a small business owner on their website revenue.ie and can help you make sure you are meeting your duties in a timely fashion. Make sure you are registered for VAT if you need to be, make regular payments and complete your tax returns before the deadline dates.
- The ‘USP’ – unique selling point is what differentiates you from your competitors, the constant reminder that your idea is good. That USP could be the niche product you sell, the talent you bring to what you do or the general sense of reward your business brings to the local community. Write your USP on a sheet and keep it somewhere you will look at every day. It’s a key reminder of what your business is about, and it can motivate you on those ‘less-sure’ days.
Finally, as your own boss the early months or years in business can go from periods of hectic productivity to exceptionally quiet weeks or months where doubts and worries concerning income and keeping afloat can creep in. Don’t worry – this is completely normal for most early stage businesses, so keep faith in what you’re doing and learn to enjoy and savour the quieter moments!