This year marks 10 years since I established my business. After experiencing the highs and lows, I like to think that I’m wiser and have small business lessons to share.
Lesson 1. Set goals
Setting and working toward goals will enable you to measure your progress. If you’re clear about what goals you want to achieve, you’re more likely to achieve them.
Lesson 2. Be flexible
Even though it’s important to set goals, not everything will go as planned, and that may be a good thing.
The business world of the 21st century is a rapidly changing environment, and as soloists we have the potential to adapt to those changes much more quickly than large corporations.
Looking back over the years, I’m pleased that I’ve been able to adapt to the changing needs of my clients. It’s opened the door to new opportunities, and my business is better for it.
Lesson 3. Listen to your clients
Listening to my clients has been an important part of developing programs for them. My clients have given me insights into what works best for them, which has helped me develop products and services that have added value to their work.
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Lesson 4. Work smarter
As a soloist there have been times when I’ve felt overwhelmed by the number of tasks I’ve needed to complete during a working day.
As time progressed and my knowledge of available resources increased, I realised that those frustrations were avoidable. Two major ways to work smarter have been to learn from others and to outsource where possible.
Learning from others is easy to do. You can find inspiration through:
- Online forums. People can often answer questions about various aspects of your business.
- Social media connections. People are always keen to share their knowledge.
- Local networking events. These can be an opportunity to find out how other businesses operate and how they overcome common hurdles.
- Online articles. There is an abundance of articles on just about any aspect of business.
A couple of years ago I decided it was time to outsource some tasks, so I ventured into the world of the virtual assistant, and I haven’t looked back.
Non-essential tasks can free up time so that you can focus on the core aspects of your business.
Lesson 5. Enjoy the moment
As soloists it’s easy to become caught up in the business. It’s important to enjoy the process, to celebrate the small wins – whether they be landing a new client, finishing a project or just getting to the end of a busy week. Remember to share these wins with others.
When I began my business I embarked on a journey of learning. It has taken me down paths that have allowed me to grow, and in turn added value to my clients’ experiences. It’s been an extraordinary 10 years. I’m looking forward to what the next 10 years will bring.
Whether you’ve been in business for 10 years or 10 minutes, what small business lessons have you learnt?