Why Every Solopreneur Needs A Business Plan

5 Reasons Every Solopreneur Needs and Deserves an Office With a Door. But if you care about your fledgling business, please do yourself a favor and plan to have a workspace of your own as soon. There’s no one true reason why people choose to start solo businesses. Some choose this path because it’s a better fit for their families. Others love the creative control they have of being their own boss. Some choose this path for income opportunities. Business plans have a very ”set in stone” tone, when in reality starting a business is more about making the best possible hypothesis (on your product, your prices, your audience), getting out there and testing it out, and then re-assessing and changing direction if needed.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

“Solopreneur” isn’t a brand-new term but it has definitely become more relevant in recent years. The word is easily interchanged with the word “entrepreneur,” but there are distinct differences. As an increasing number of professionals choose to start a business with no intention of ever adding staff, solopreneur is likely a term that will only grow in popularity.

The differences between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs can be subtle, especially since some entrepreneurs work alone until they can build their businesses enough to make a team. However, those who choose solopreneurship over entrepreneurship without plans to change have distinct differences.

Solopreneurs don’t wait for a buyout.

An entrepreneur works hard to build his business but he isn’t quite as attached to the concept as a solopreneur. Many, but not all, entrepreneurs build their businesses with at least a small hope that a much larger company, like Google, will come along and offer millions of dollars for it once it grows. At that point, he could easily move on to the next great venture.

Of course, many entrepreneurs have turned down buyout offers to continue pursuing a passion, so this isn’t a defining difference. However, a large divide between the two may come when an entrepreneur can run a variety of businesses over the course of his career, while a solopreneur tends to work at one thing consistently.

Related: The Difference Between a Solopreneur and a Side-Gigger (Infographic)

Entrepreneurs put a face to a company.

While a solopreneur tends to spend hours working hard to build his business, an entrepreneur frequently prefers to be out making connections and getting the word out about his or her business. An entrepreneur may be perfectly happy doing that and that alone, leaving his team behind to do the work.

Solopreneurs can be great networkers, as well. One major difference is that an entrepreneur may be more comfortable spending all day at a variety of networking opportunities and client meetings, while a solopreneur is content simply doing the work.

Related: Where to Find a Community If You're a Solopreneur

Entrepreneurs are managers.

Why Every Solopreneur Needs A Business Plan

When someone is an entrepreneur at heart, even as a solopreneur, he’s waiting for the day when he can build his team. He may even begin working with freelance workers and virtual assistants to delegate his work. He is comfortable leading a team of people toward a defined goal.

Solopreneurs, on the other hand, likely are in no rush to hire an employee to manage. Even if the day comes when they must outsource work or bring in a team member, a solopreneur may find himself pitching in and doing the vast majority of the work himself. He may even have a hard time letting go of tasks, since he simply wants to jump in and work hard to grow his business.

Related: Managing a Growing Startup? 4 Ways to Keep Your Criticism Constructive

Needs

Solopreneurs are workers.

Plan

While entrepreneurs can work harder than anyone they know, a solopreneur is a worker by his very nature. If a task needs to be done, his first thought is to roll up his sleeves and start working. For this reason, this new generation of freelance workers and sole proprietors have emerged, with professionals content to run a one-man shop with no intention of bringing another person on.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, have no trouble delegating, even if they have to delay that process until they have enough money to bring additional workers on. They realize the sooner they can delegate tasks like billing, web development and database management, the sooner they can focus on building and growing their businesses.

Related: 8 Tasks You Should Delegate Today

The distinction between a solopreneur and entrepreneur can be difficult to see, especially since so many entrepreneurs start out working alone. But the mindset of a solopreneur and entrepreneur are subtly different and noting those differences can help professionals determine the long-term direction they’ll take with their businesses.

I've met some of the best solopreneurs in the world. They make some of the best partners. Know which type of an 'preneur' you are so that you can best find how to work with yourself and others.

Related: Solopreneurs Should Resolve to Focus on Growth and Efficiency to Prosper in 2015

Business branding is a very important aspect of a successful business. Anyone who owns a business, large or small, should strive to create an image for their business that is enticing and truly represents their business mission. Although branding is crucial to building a successful business, very few solopreneurs take the time to create an effective branding strategy.

Large companies, like Walmart and Burger King, have entire teams dedicated to creating and managing their business brand.

This guide will show you how to create a brand for your solopreneur business that is representative of your unique skills and what sets your business a part from your competitors.

In part one of this post, you’ll learn exactly what branding is and why it’s important to you as a solopreneur.

What is branding?

Simply put, branding is your business image. It’s crucial that you understand that your brand can make or break you in terms of business credibility.

When your target market tries your particular product or service for the first time, they immediately form an impression of your business based on several factors, including quality, price and convenience. How you brand your product or service will have a direct influence on that first impression.

Although pricing does have a major impact on their impression, it’s not the only factor. Some clients/customers will be influenced by unique selling propositions (USP), such as 24 hour service or incredible “no questions asked” money back guarantees.

Most people like to try products or services they have heard of. They may assume that because the business is well known or popular, the product or service is better than its competitors.

Brand awareness is an important step to building your brand. Business owners need to make their target market aware that they exist. Studies have shown that it takes 7-10 exposures to a brand before the brand even starts to register to the customer/client.

Thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever to create a brand that people will instantly recognize. Your brand reputation will take time to grow, so it’s important to protect it from negative publicity on social networks. Take the time monitor your online reputation regularly.

Now that you have a better idea of what branding is, let’s take a look at why branding is important for the solopreneur.

Why Every Solopreneur Needs A Business Plan Summary

Why is branding important for the solopreneur?

Since you are a company of one as a solopreneur, you need to maximize efficiency in everything you do, especially marketing. Branding your business will help you with:

• Instant recognition for your product or service
• Building trust among your target market
• Word of mouth marketing
• Social media marketing
• Search engine optimization for free traffic
• Building an email list
• Gaining affiliates and joint venture partnerships

And more.

Brand is one of the core reasons why Amazon.com can achieve 15% conversion rates. There’s practically no other retail website that comes close because none can match Amazon’s brand. The amazon brand was started online in 1997. As a result, many physical bookstores have closed their doors, such as Barnes and Noble, Borders, Hastings, and countless independent bookstores.

Amazon started out just selling books, but soon became a publishing house in both print and digital. In recent years, it has become the equivalent of an online department store. It is also an entertainment company, producing its own TV shows, and movies.

Why did Amazon become such a trusted and recognized brand in such a relatively short time? It was good customer service, value for the price, and weaving itself into the fabric of people’s daily lives.

You can see from this example that even a small startup can become a huge success if they have a great branding strategy in place. A solopreneur can accomplish the same level of branding success by learning more about effective branding strategies and putting it at the top of their to do list. Think about any major new initiative, product, or service in relation to your brand. What would it add? What impression would it create among your target market? Would it take away from the brand in any way, or cause people to feel it was moving away from its core values?

A strong brand can open doors and create endless opportunities. Having a great brand helps generate word of mouth traffic. People chat about products and services all the time. They share experiences, make recommendations, and complain about their bad experiences. In fact, statistics show that 1 happy client/customer will tell 1 other person about their great experience, but 1 unhappy client/customer will tell 7. Social media has made it super simple for clients/customers to voice their opinions on products and services, whether good or bad.

Building a strong, credible brand should be the #1 priority for any new solopreneur from the moment they launch their business. You may start receiving positive feedback from your clients/customers early on which will help if someone does have a complaint about your brand. It will look like an isolated incident compared to the accolades you normally receive for your products and services.

Popular and trusted brands will get lots of free traffic because happy clients/customers are more likely to link to them and will share their content on social networks. More links and shares mean more brand awareness, and brand awareness can lead to purchases.

Your branding strategy is something you will need to work on a little every day from the moment you launch your business.

There may be branding challenges that you, as a solopreneur, should keep in mind before you start.

Why

GET THE CHECKLIST

Download a free 5 page checklist to guide you through each step of building your brand

Thanks. Check your inbox!

Biggest branding challenge for solopreneurs

As a solopreneur, the biggest challenge you may face while building your brand will be deciding if you should brand yourself personally or brand your business.

There are pros and cons to each approach, which we will discuss below.

Branding yourself personally

What do Bobby Flay and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They are their own brands.

If you decide to brand yourself personally, you are also the spokesperson for your brand. The biggest disadvantage of this approach is how much burden it places on you in reference to how much work you have to do and how visible you are. Oprah has plenty of people working for her, but SHE is the brand and front person and has to deal with negative feedback, the media and more. You will need to be very confident in your skills and abilities to deal with being the center of attention all the time.

Branding yourself is the best approach to take if you already have the skills and experience and are in a position within your niche that gets people’s attention every time you publish a new blog post or social media update.

Why Every Solopreneur Needs A Business Plan For A

Branding the business

If you decide to brand the business rather than yourself, you will be seen as the expert behind the great products and services being offered, but not the brand itself. In this position, you are under much less media scrutiny. If you ever need to sell your business, this approach to branding will make it easier for you to start a new business. Selling your business might not be something you’re considering now, when you’re just starting out, but the truth is that brands buy other brands all the time.

Now that you have decided which approach to take, it’s time to decide what it is you want your brand to convey to your target market. What makes YOU different from your competitors? Why should anyone do business with you? Your answer to those questions will be your unique selling proposition (USP).

Your mission statement

What is your mission? In other words, why are you in business? What do you hope to achieve (other than make money)?

Your business plan

As a solopreneur, you may not think you need a formal business plan. However, having a business plan prepared will be necessary if you plan to seek business funding or grants. It can also help you stay on track with your goals for your business.

Stay tuned for part two of this post on branding for solopreneurs where we’ll talk about how to make your brand stand out and how you should present your brand in your marketing materials for maximum effect.

Solopreneur

Never miss a blog post!

Enter your contact info below to be the first to read any new posts. All new subscribers will receive a compilation of the crucial chrome extensions for solopreneurs.

You have successfully subscribed! Check your email.

NO S[PAM - UNSUBSCRIBE ANYTIME.