Solopreneurs have countless plates spinning at any given time. As the name suggests, they are solely responsible for their business and need to wear many hats to be successful. To be a one person show you must be an expert at all facets of running a business, from customer services, sales, balancing the books and managing the finances.
Another important aspect is the branding of your business and establishing a credible, trustworthy name for yourself. As a solopreneur this can seem difficult to do – but a big-name brand is not necessarily the only solution to building a professional outlook.
Through working with over 250,000 small businesses we have observed the most fruitful tips for building a credible brand as solopreneurs, and simplified them into the four easy-to-follow steps.
Tip #1: Treat your first impression like the only impression
While it might not be accurate, in our fast-paced society with not much time to spare, people will often base their decision on whether to pursue something based off a first impression. First impressions are key in establishing professionalism, which is often a good indication of accountability and quality in work. Make sure you know exactly how to start off strong with new customers, as it’s not worth risking your first impression with a potential client – this may be the only impression they ever get of you.
Tip #2: Be immaculate with your deadlines and timelines
Keep in mind that your customers are not privy to every aspect of your business (as they shouldn’t be). However, this does mean that they aren’t aware of your timelines or any potential hurdles along the way.
To avoid disappointment from the customer’s end and any other unpleasant surprises, it’s vital that you are transparent and communicate timelines with them from the outset. Protect your brand from elements outside your control by allowing for a contingency plan (i.e. adding a few extra days to the deadline, or adding a ten percent price cushion in case the unexpected occurs).
Tip #3: Don’t guess – provide an accurate estimate
The estimate is key in your communication strategy, as it is your first formal contact and will act as a point of reference throughout your client relationship. Think about how the format of this estimate will reflect upon your business.
Using a digital solution, such as Invoice2go, will allow you to create tailored estimates that are both accurate and professional, building the credibility of your business. Your estimate should include itemised pricing that is both informative and polished.
Tip #4: When it comes to your image, the devil’s in the details
It is not uncommon for a customer to look for a big shiny team behind the product they are engaging as proof of success and staying power. As a one-person operation, it is still possible to create this illusion – you just need to be alert with your attention to detail.
Ensure that simple things like your phone system are set up with a professional recording, build an immaculate website using Strikingly or engage Mailchimp to design and send emails to your customers. Every aspect of your business is a reflection of your brand, so ensure you are professional at all times.
While it might not be as simple to build a credible brand as solopreneurs, it’s not impossible – you just need to know the tricks of the trade.
Chris Strode, Founder, www.invoice.2go.com