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Lessons learnt from the Business-of-One

~ by Candice R


Creative entrepreneurship often begins as what we term, the Business-of-One (BoO). The solopreneur being the entire business. Many who get this right, choose to stay a BoO as they find creative ways to achieve growth while remaining small. Our traditional business brain tells us that growth means more employees, more brick and mortar, more funding, more infrastructure, more stuff! The BoO challenges this notion and their success in a more non-traditional way is inspiring and thought provoking.


We share some key characteristics from successful BoO’s to encourage us as creative entrepreneurs to take a step back and be mindful of how we are doing business:


Expertise

Smart BoO’s understand that they need that one thing that they are remembered for. They work really hard to become known as experts in their domain and quickly become the go-to for a niche need. Not to mention the benefits of premium pricing in the arena of expertise and maximising profit potential.


Collaboration

Expertise does not mean that you cannot offer a spectrum of services to your clients. Bearing in mind that you are only personally capable of what one person can take on, it just alludes to the fact that the art of collaboration becomes your means to extend your service offering. You have the potential to commercialise your collaborations without having to do ALL the leg work in delivery. Clever additional revenue stream.


Relationships

The BoO values relationships because this is their lifeline. They understand that strong relationships mean less marketing spend. Time and effort spent on nurturing relationships goes a long way and lands in the form of referrals, customer loyalty, and partnerships that grow businesses. Relationships first, nurture customers and clients you have over diverting attention to acquiring new ones.


Minimalism

The BoO by its very nature is adept at the lean business mindset. Always asking themselves why they need something and challenging themselves to a business standard that has little waste, well thought through need evaluation, and built in efficiencies through processes and ways of work that allow them to remain nimble and effective. Bringing in more people, more systems, more stuff, etc often brings in more problems to solve, careful of the ensuing spiral and its effect on your business and its bottom line.


Sustainability

When you ARE the business, sustainability is a prerequisite so that the business can continue operating even when you are not there. Well established partners, systems and/or ways of work that enable what’s in your head to be accessible and decipherable to others you choose to lean on when required. Looking at your revenue model beyond time or the billable hour, making money through commercial deals with other experts you can refer work to, are just some creative ways to sustainably grow and still make money as a lean business (and not going under when you are not present!).


Decision making

Decision making can be like the traditional consultant - it can go on and on and on before any result is reached and sometimes potential for impact subsides. Being able to make a decision (right or wrong) is crucial for the BoO to keep moving. Unstuck your business by developing the ability to just make decisions. When they are wrong, there is opportunity to learn and be better, and when they are right, you keep your business moving forward. Standing still drains a business and counters growth.


Creativity

Most of all, the BoO shows us how creativity is interwoven into the inner being of their business. Creativity is used to solve problems (can you automate an administrative task and avoid hiring admin staff?), to price (can you barter services, get paid in client business shares?), to, well just about any challenge there is a creative way to solve it. This BoO becomes so skilled at this creative resolution because they are pushed to exercise it. They remind us not to always throw people and money at problems and expect them to be solved.


We are constantly inspired by the character traits that define the astute Business-of-One’s we meet. We can all learn from them. We believe they are chipping away at redefining how we build and do business in the future.


Work with Candice R


"Solving niche challenges founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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