Starting and running a business as a solopreneur is both challenging and rewarding. It takes time and dedication to build a self-sustaining enterprise. Some self-made entrepreneurs create a small yet rewarding company that provides income and flexibility to live the life they want while others grow and expand, adding a team of employees and continuously reaching for more. Both are equally valid and respectable.
Regardless of your approach, adapting to changes and making improvements is the key to success. Here are eight tips for building a better self-made business.
Outline Your Values
As an entrepreneur, your values should be ingrained in the fabric of your business. Outlining why you’ve started this endeavor and what’s important to you and your brand is essential for longevity and success. This exercise will ensure your business is aligned with your motivations and aspirations, giving you a reason to push forward during difficult times.
Identify and Eliminate Waste
Six Sigma is a world-renowned certification program for project managers and business developers, but the learnings apply in any entrepreneurial setting. One of the key learnings in Lean Six Sigma Training is finding and eliminating waste.
For an entrepreneur, waste often relates to wasted time and resources. Determine what processes need improvement and which non-revenue generating tasks are taking up too much time. You may even determine that some clients or customers are no longer in alignment with your goals.
Developing standard operating procedures (SOP) is the next step in eliminating waste. This exercise lets you outline the steps of a process and make productivity improvements as things evolve in your business. SOPs are also an invaluable tool for delegating if you get sick or hire out.
Protect Your Time
Time isn’t just money; it’s your most precious resource. As an entrepreneur, lines often get blurred between work and life. However, setting firm boundaries and expectations is essential for protecting your time.
Learn to say no to projects or engagements that don’t serve your purpose. Create structure around meetings and communications to keep things on track. One of the best ways to find your balance as an entrepreneur is to set office hours—and then convince yourself to stick to them.
Treat Wellness Like Your Job
Treat your health and wellness like it’s your full-time job because it is. As an entrepreneur, especially in the early days, your business depends on your ability to function. Making time in your schedule to exercise, feed yourself, practice stress management, and sleep is necessary for long-term business success.
Create an Advisory Board
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience. Business owners who have shifted from full-time employment to running an empire of one miss the camaraderie of having a team. It can also be challenging to find like-minded individuals who can act as a sounding board for challenges and ideas.
Consider creating an advisory board for your business to ensure you always have someone providing you feedback. This group can be formal or informal, depending on your business structure and needs.
Learn the Art of Bootstrapping
In the Northern hemisphere, we’re conditioned to look for financing, investing, and borrowing options to move our business forward. In Latin America, those options aren’t available. Rather than limiting entrepreneurs in this part of the world, the barrier has built a strong, innovative group of bootstrapping experts.
The lost art of bootstrapping means finding money in creative ways before taking on debt. It takes time and dedication to accomplish, but it moves your business forward without reliance on anyone else.
The early days of entrepreneurship are often fraught with tasks outside your comfort zone or skill level. You might spend 16 hours building a website and weeks trying your hand at lead generation in an attempt to save money.
If there’s one area where you should invest your time when starting a business, it’s outsourcing. Pay someone to make your graphics, respond to emails, and post to social media so you can focus on serving your customers.
With these eight tips, you can set your self-made business up for lasting success.