Hindsight is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I’ve been in my solo business for five years now and in looking back, can see four simple things that I wish I’d done consistently from day one.
1. Maintained a detailed customer database
As a soloist, you meet, email and work with lots of different people. Over the years, that can add up to thousands of individuals. But unless you conscientiously maintain a database, it eventually all becomes a mess of cards, random email addresses and half-remembered names.
A detailed and up-to-date database is a valuable tool for launching new services, starting email newsletters, keeping in touch with prospects and sharing valuable information with an interested audience. Maintaining it is a job that has to be done almost daily.
2. Actively collected client testimonials and case studies
When you’re in business for any length of time, you naturally generate happy customers and success stories. The problem is that these are quickly forgotten as time goes on.
These testimonials, samples and case studies become powerful business development tools for proposals, website content and marketing. It’s crucial to collect these along the way as soon as projects are completed, before people move on and while your brilliant work is fresh in their mind.
3. Sought professional advice sooner
It took me almost two years before I sat down with a business coach and nutted out some solid plans around a long-term vision, defining my ideal client, positioning my services and what to charge. The results were immediate to my attitude and bottom line.
4. Not named my business after myself
I would think carefully before naming your business after yourself. While it does have benefits and works for many people, it can also be limiting if you plan to expand your offerings, outsource projects or sell your business one day.
What are the things you might have done differently if you could start your business again? Share them below and hopefully we can all discover ways to improve our businesses.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – in my next article I’ll share the things I’m glad I did when starting out as a soloist.