Being a sole trader means you will have a lot of responsibilities, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed when running your small business.
You’ve got a lot to think about, so it’s important to make your processes as efficient as possible.
To keep your productivity on track, here are five tips that you can use to ensure your sole trader business gets ahead.
Tip one: Automate wherever possible
There’s always something you can do more efficiently as a small business owner. From your marketing plan and finances to your purchasing and customer support, each function of your business involves numerous processes.
Automating these processes can help save a lot of time and money by making it more efficient and reducing human error.
But just as important is understanding when to automate. You don’t want to lose the benefits of what the human touch can bring.
For example, processes like managing social media posts, email marketing, and scheduling meetings are all common areas of a business that can be automated. But if the process involves interacting with customers or working with your hands, then automation might not be the best strategy to deploy.
Tip two: Invest in understanding your customers
Whether you’re a mobile hairdresser or an accountant, without your customers you would not be able to run your sole trader business. Understanding your customers is the key to success in today’s competitive world.
If you can’t monitor the habits of your customers, your competitors will, and your business will likely be left behind.
Try and establish your target customer and work out ways you are going to reach them.
If you’re already in business and have a customer base, consider investing in ways of understanding them.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be as simple as a survey or encouraging reviews after a job. It will help you discover what you are doing right and what areas you could Improve.
Tip three: Focus on your brand image
Your brand image is the story that is told to your customers across your chosen mediums. Given that your market is likely going to be competitive, it’s important that you invest in a strong brand image to stand out from the crowd.
There are many ways to make your small business brand pop with affordable branding packages on design marketplaces such as 99designs or DIY design options such as Canva.
While it’s easy to stop at your logo, your sole trader business is about much more than that. Think about what makes your business stand out to customers and where they are likely to see your brand.
From social media advertising and websites to letterheads and branded mugs, there are plenty of different mediums you can slap your brand on.
Be sure to develop a strong brand vision and guideline and make your business shine.
Tip four: Get a business mentor
Business mentors are invaluable for sole traders. Going in alone is a lonely prospect and it can be difficult to not question yourself on your decisions without a sounding board to bounce ideas off.
Business mentors offer guidance and advice to help their mentees make better career decisions, deal with problems, and reach their business goals.
Mentors may be one-on-one with their mentees, or part of a mentoring team. Mentors in business are often experienced business managers or entrepreneurs that have done it all before.
As a sole trader, having someone experienced in your corner will likely be an essential component to getting ahead.
Reach out to people who have inspired you or find a local mentoring group to sign up for.
Tip five: sort out your sole trader insurance
While the lifestyle of being your own boss is usually great, there are downsides to being a sole trader.
Under the sole trader model in Australia, there is no legal distinction between the small business owner and the business. This means that if things go wrong, your personal assets are at risk. Accidents can happen regardless of how well you manage your workplace.
Fortunately, you can protect your sole trader business against financial loss by purchasing sole trader insurance.
One of the most popular types of sole trader insurance is Public Liability insurance* since many industries carry the risk of third-party injury or property damage.
A Public Liability policy protects you and your business from being sued by a customer, supplier, or member of the general public for injury or property damage caused by your business activities.
While Public Liability is important, there are many other forms of sole trader insurance. Check them out here.
The bottom line
Being a sole trader is going to be a hectic journey. You’re going to be learning as you go and your path to success will most likely be far from what you expected.
While these five tips will hopefully help your sole trader business get ahead, the final tip is to ensure that you keep researching, learning, and keeping your passion burning for your small business, and you will eventually succeed.
*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.© 2022 BizCover Pty Limited, Public Liability Australia is a business name of BizCover Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769)