Many businesses can thrive as one-person operations for a few years while you target your market, refine your offerings and get a handle on business finances.
This is especially true if you have a creative small business. You may refer to yourself as a solopreneur, a microbusiness owner or simply as an artist. Just because you conduct business alone, however, doesn’t mean you’re truly alone in the world of small business.
If you’re feeling isolated, uninspired or otherwise stuck, try these tactics for reinvigorating your creative business:
1. Find your network
You might not have an office and a water cooler, but you still need a place to process events that affect your business. Where you can you blow off steam, vent or get a trusted second opinion when you face a challenge?
Your network might arise from an arts-focused networking group, a regional meet-up schedule, or via a neighborhood listserv. Facebook groups can even help you expand your network and discuss issues relevant to your group’s focus.
Don’t limit yourself to networking with people working in your same medium, though. Don’t hesitate to get to know writers, photographers, bakers or other solopreneurs who know what it’s like to wear all the hats of a small business team. Their support may lead to opportunities for collaboration, too.
2. Find your tools
Nothing saps your creative energy quite like late nights hunched over the dining room table doing paperwork. If you have the cash to spare, consider buying back your creative time with web-based business tools. Tools for bookkeeping and accounting, customer management or order processing can streamline your systems without having to hire an employee or contractor.
While these tools can take some time to get set up and acquainted with, they’ll save you time in the long run. Plus, many tools, especially those focused on finances and accounting, allow you to give account access to an employee or accountant. That means when it’s time to call in professional help — especially at tax time — your accountant or other pro won’t have to deal with that shoebox full of crumpled receipts.
3. Find a mentor
This one’s easy, but it’s worth reminding you how important mentorship is in growing a business, no matter how big or small.
So many of our 10,000 SCORE mentors know what it’s like to work alone on a small business endeavor. Many of them still practice their creative skills even if they’re not running a business every day. When you’re feeling stressed or apprehensive, your SCORE mentor can calm your anxieties and help you work through your challenges. And when it’s time to celebrate your wins, your mentor will know exactly how good it feels to experience victories large and small for your business growth.
Running a creative company on your own doesn’t diminish the strength of your small business. Instead, it’s a clear symbol of your independence and determination. Surround yourself with the right people and tools, and you’ll find success around every corner.