Despite trying very hard, no solo operator can actually do everything solo. You can’t do it all alone, nor is it wise to try.
Firstly, in any business, there are far more jobs to do than there are hours in a day. Secondly, no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good at every aspect of your business. Which is exactly why you need to outsource so you can focus on your core business. Your time is most valuable when you spend it doing what you’re good at.
The best way to outsource is to partner with experts who can streamline and even automate your ops. Working with partners means you can build up a level of consistency in your business to mitigate your risk when it comes to compliance and customer relationships. A long-term relationship with your suppliers means they effectively become a trusted part of your team.
With the right team behind you, you’ll present a consistent, professional, reliable product or service to your own clients and customers. A seamless end-to-end customer experience is simply easier to achieve when you work with a trustworthy team.
The key members in your team
One way to find team members who are a good fit is by word of mouth. Ask your fellow sole traders who they recommend and why. Find out how long they’ve worked with their supplier and why they think they’d make a good team member for your own business.
If you’re struggling to find someone to ask, the next best thing is to research suppliers to your industry and take a look at their customer list. If they’re proudly displaying customer testimonials from businesses like your own, chances are they’ll be a good fit for you, too.
Adding these five suppliers to your team will reduce your stress levels and free you up to focus on your core business.
Unless you happen to be running an accountancy business yourself, an accountant is a must-have in any sole trader’s team. They’re the team member who will help you keep track of all the nuts and bolts of your business.
A good accountant will ensure you’re compliant with all the legal and financial obligations of running your company. If you’re not a ‘numbers person’, this should help reduce your stress levels considerably.
As your relationship grows, your accountant will also be there to make sure you’re getting the most out of every dollar you make.
2. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) is the ‘right-hand person’ who can help you get more done in a day. So a good one is a must in any sole trader team.
“Bringing a VA onboard can be a game-changer for a time-poor solopreneur,” says VA Institute founder Ingrid Bayer. “VAs offer flexibility and scalability without the need to pay any additional on-costs that come with traditional employees.
“The majority of Australian VAs are business owners themselves, so they are committed to delivering great client outcomes.”
For most sole traders, it makes sense to outsource admin or social media to a trained VA. They can book your couriers, update your Instagram, raise your invoices, schedule your meetings… Actually, once you start writing a task list for your new VA, you’ll wonder how you’ve managed to get everything done without one.
The next thing you need to sort is your courier service. Fast, reliable delivery of your product is a key part of your overall customer experience. The courier company you use is essentially your representative in front of your customer, so you want to get this right. You need to work with a company you can trust to treat your customers the way you would treat them yourself.
“Especially for sole traders or WFH entrepreneurs, [the] human connection of a daily timetabled visit by the same courier franchisee is so valuable,” says Cherie Kellahan, Chief Marketing Officer Aramex ANZ. “They get to know your business and its needs, and in many cases the relationship continues for years.”
Your courier company will most likely be one of the longest relationships you have in business. They should be able to support you to go from sole trader to as big as you want to become.
“We see the relationship between our customers and courier franchisees as one that can grow and adapt as needs change,” says Cherie. “We have many examples of sole traders and solo entrepreneurs who grew their business to become larger enterprises, sending overseas and capturing a global market… Our local to global service means we pick up and deliver locally, interstate and to more than 220 countries across the globe, through our Aramex-owned network.”
That’s exactly the kind of circular relationship you want to build with your courier – between you and your customer, you and Aramex and then Aramex and your customer. A true logistics partner who adds to the glowing feedback you’re used to hearing from your customers.
4. Web developer
A professional web presence is vital, so unless you have skills in this area yourself, it’s best to call in the professionals. A website doesn’t need to be overly complicated, but it does need to exactly suit your business.
A good web developer will contribute ideas that will enhance your business and your bottom line. Streamlining the way your customers find information and buy product on your website can be an absolute game changer.
“It’s not just how your website looks that keeps your customers coming back, but also how it performs and functions,” says Robyn. “A new website can be a big investment for your business so it would be foolish not to take care of it.”
5. Content creator
Speaking of game changers, it’s never been more important to clearly communicate with your customers. There’s a lot of noise drowning out your messages, so you want to be the crystal-clear note that soars above the cacophony.
Whether you do that through your website, emails or marketing materials, you need an excellent content creator in your team. They’ll ensure you’re clearly communicating your company values and your unique selling points. Good copy basically means you’re having good customer conversations.
All of the above team members will ensure you’re offering a reliable, trustworthy service to your customers and clients. In fact, when you partner with excellent providers, it’s almost as good as doing all of the work yourself – and often even better.
This article is brought to you by Flying Solo in partnership with Aramex.