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As a Solopreneur, Who Do You Ask for Advice?
Speaking to a business coach with extensive business experience in various industries could sometimes prevent costly mistakes and save solopreneurs a lot of time — and their company.
Running an established company is often stressful, but starting a new business alone can sometimes be overwhelming.
As a solopreneur, you wear many hats. Sales, marketing, product development, procurement, accounting, legal, and information technology are among your countless responsibilities.
Unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether you are knowledgeable in any of these areas. You still need to decide what products or services you will offer and how to market them, where you will buy materials, which software you will use to transact with your customers, how much space you will need to rent, and how much money you can take out to pay yourself.
Some decisions are easily reversible if they turn out to be wrong.
Others, however, have far-reaching business implications and can be expensive to adjust later. Those are the scary ones.
Most concerning are questions solopreneurs don't even know they should ask. These "unknown unknowns" are blind spots they are unaware they have.
Suppose you decide to resell products. Have you estimated how many items you need to sell, at what price, and to which customers so that you can make a reasonably high profit to cover your overhead costs and still have some money left to pay yourself?
Answering this question with some confidence requires you to know some crucial things about your company:
Strength of your company's brand or the brand you are reselling;
Legal arrangement with your supplier (Here are a few sample questions: Are you getting a commission for each sale, or do you buy the products outright at a discount? What discount tiers exist? At what sales volume do you qualify for marketing support funds? What are the warranty terms? What about product returns?);
Characteristics of the target customer segment(s);
Sales channels (online, in-store?);
Marketing and advertising (website, newsletters, social media?);
Level of pricing power with customers (price elasticity);
Capital demand to finance product inventory;
Space requirements (warehousing, retail space);
Product returns from your customers;
Your company's overhead cost structure.
This list of topics is certainly not complete. But it gives you a sense of the complexity of the issues you'll face when trying to answer a seemingly simple question about reselling products.
"Smart people learn from their mistakes.
But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others."
GAIN FROM AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE
Speaking to someone with extensive business experience in various industries could sometimes prevent costly mistakes and save you a lot of time.
Figuring things out on your own can be expensive in the long run, as problems can remain undetected for years, especially when your company's bookkeeping is weak and the actual financial situation is unclear.
Yes, retaining a business coach could cost you some money, but less than you might think if you spend a little time searching for the person with the right background.
Sometimes, all you need is to work with an experienced retired small business owner who can point you in the right direction and share their experiences solving similar challenges.
Like in sports, a coach doesn't do the work for you but can help you become a much better entrepreneur.
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