We’re living, and trying to make a living, in turbulent times. Nothing is certain anymore, but one thing you can always count on is people’s resilience. As we brace ourselves for a winter of increasing unemployment, more people are setting themselves up as a one man band or sole traders. These people are the backbone of the British economy.
According to the government department for business, innovation and skills there were 3.5 million sole traders in 2019. This represents 59% of all registered businesses. It will be interesting to see how that figure increases in 2020. Coronavirus has given many people a chance to reassess their current situations. People need to adapt to the new reality.
Sole traders and one man bands cover a huge variety of businesses. There are trades like electricians, plumbers, roofers, plasterers, builders etc, white collar professionals, beauticians, dog groomers, celebrants, driving instructors, music teachers – the list is endless. The challenge for all these businesses is to decide what elements of running a business they can do themselves and what they should outsource. These people often have specialist skills and the most important thing is that they maximise their earning time.
Day to day stuff can be outsourced, like bookkeeping, IT, social media and answering the phone. Actually these are all things that should be outsourced, otherwise they will drain the creative energy and time of a one man band. In an effort to save money, too many sole traders back themselves into a corner because they like to control everything – big mistake. Find good people who have expertise in a particular area. Leave it to them, step away, and focus on what you’re passionate about doing in your own business.
Setting up as a sole trader can be scary, but with the right support around you it is less scary. More people will be embarking on this path this year, working from home, or from a serviced office. There are many positive things to do – join some networking groups and get to know people. Increase your contact base using LinkedIn, tap into free resources, podcasts and ask for help. There is so much out there and lots of people who will support you.
It is absolutely crucial that you build your reputation and always give people a great impression of your business. It can be hard work getting those first few enquiries, so make sure that you respond promptly and build trust. One of the areas that is so important is how you manage your phone calls. How a phone is answered is a vital first impression for every business. It might seem a little thing but it’s a big deal when people are assessing whether they want to do business with you or not.
If you haven’t looked into telephone answering before, check it out. At Professional Call Minders there is a free trial so you can see how well it works for you. Just taking that simple step of having someone answer your calls promptly and professionally will have a profound impact on your first impression. Plus you don’t ever have to worry about missing a call. That leaves you to get on with the important stuff of running your business.