Tips for Independent Business Owners

Chart Your Own Route to Success

The road to success as an independent businessperson is exactly that—a road, fraught with hazards and blessed with help along the way.

Most importantly, it is a road of your own making, which requires the three Ps—planning, preparation and patience—anticipating detours and praying for revelations.

As part of a panel at the Chase Women’s Symposia at the George W. Bush Institute, Kim Houlne, founder and chief executive of Working Solutions, likens it to creating your own Waze for business.

Literally, it means drawing out a route—complete with mile markers—to gain a point A-to-point-B perspective.

Here are Houlne’s five tips:

  1. Determine your destination. Obvious? It should be. Many go astray and become distracted, sidetracked from success because of no focus of where to go from the get-go. So draw a line, literally, marking your route—starting from “you are here” to where “you want to be.”
  2. Track to a timeline. Once you decide “where,” the next question is: “When?” You cannot gain ground or gauge success if you don’t first have a timeline to track against. Work needs to be mapped. A set schedule brings rigor and routine. If you follow a process, you will achieve measurable progress.
  3. Stay ahead of the hazards. With a sightline and a schedule in hand, next identify obstacles and opportunities ahead. Along the way, follow the signs to help make good judgment calls to ensure you’re taking the most efficient and quickest route to success. Make certain everything is in plain sight for sizing up. You can’t solve or savor what you can’t see.
  4. Select progressive partners. Bad company makes for a bad company. Building any business is a journey. Choose partners you trust and that “get” your business. Working Solutions pitched eight to nine bankers before finding one that “got it” and understood its remote contact services business model.
  5. Plan for the unexpected. You have a business map. That’s great. Now, act fast—there’s an accident up ahead, or worse, a bridge is out. Translated: Stuff happens. Your offices flood. A supplier goes bankrupt. You’d better anticipate. It is always best to build in business continuity. Don’t let a hiccup turn into a Heimlich. Always back up the backup.

 

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