Making your home based micro business rockCategory: Management and HR Posted on 05-02-2013
Tina Boden is a successful multi-business owner and co-founder of independent micro business support movement Enterprise Rockers. Here she shares her thoughts about making your home based micro business rock.
Did you know that Micro Businesses, those that employ between 0 and 9, account for around 93% of all businesses in the UK and generate nearly 19% of the total UK economy? Did you also know that 6% of all start-ups with the right help from other micro business owners will become substantial, employing businesses.
You may think starting up is the challenge but actually it’s keep going that counts. Much of the support and funding provided by Government does very little to help keep smaller organisations in business, which is why it is so important to seek out support from others who can help; those that have been there done it and got the t-shirt!
HOME ALONE: GET A MICRO BIZ BUDDY
Have you ever seen Toy Story? You may remember the scene where Woody encourages the toys to find a ‘Moving Buddy’ so they do not get left behind; if you are running a business working from home then I encourage you to follow Woody’s advice and get yourself a ‘Micro Biz Buddy’.
Rest assured you are not about to get shipped out of your workspace by some over sized removal company created by Pixar but what you may find, if you do not have your buddy, or buddies, is your home based business could get left behind when opportunities arise to carry out large pieces of work. Alternatively you could be spending far too much time trying to do something in your business that a ‘Micro Biz Buddy’ could do in half the time; let them get on with the things that do not thrill you while you earn more money doing the things you enjoy the most.
When you work from home with only yourself in your office for company it is easy to become insular, this is not healthy for either you are your business. You need to ensure you get out and a bunch of buddies can help you do this.
I am a huge Ambassador for partnership working, the ‘Power of Plenty’ is much stronger than one lone voice in the darkness, but I am also very keen to retain my own business identity; my own brand is very important to me in the businesses and organisations I run, your brand is how your business is identified it should be important to you too.
- Joining forces with other micro business owners does not mean you will loose your own business identity and become some large corporate conglomerate.
- Developing an Associate network where you all deliver the same high standard of work in your specialist fields gives you a much bigger skill set to draw from.
- Ensure you respect each other’s abilities and own business identities. Even if you know your Micro Biz Buddy well, set out terms and conditions for the piece of work you will be doing together and ensure all Buddies, whether 1 or 21 of them, understand and agree to the t&c’s.
Finding your Buddies
The thought of finding your Micro Biz Buddy may fill you with fear; after all you could end up with Rex the Dinosaur or Mr Potato Head! I suspect if you are concerned about building a group of Associates you may also have a fear of networking as well. It is not vital you rush out and find your Associate the minute you have finished reading this and you might find these guidelines useful when looking for your Micro Biz Buddy or networking.
- Creating a network of people around you that have confidence in your product or service is a great way of having far more people to promote you for free.
- Think very clearly about the skills you need to help improve the product or service your business delivers. It is easier to find the best Buddy if you are very focused on the skills you need your Buddy to have.
- Start with people that you know well that you feel you could work with; family, friends or former colleagues that have skills that you know your business would benefit from.
- Search social media and see if there are people in your area promoting the skills you have established you need and link with them; if you know people that they know use this as a ‘warm lead.’
- Do not rush in to anything, good relationships can take time to build and you have to be happy working with the Associate or Associates.
- Only agree to do one piece of work together to start with.
- Remember, you have not employed these people so if working together does not go well then you do not need to do anything together again. They may not have enjoyed working with you either!
If you work on your own building your Associate network can be a great way of ensuring you are getting out and about meeting people, it encourages you to go along to networking events, though do ensure the events you attend attract the type of people you need. Networking can be expensive; research the type of industry sectors the network you are considering joining attracts and if the people are people that will not benefit your business or your personal development then do not feel compelled to join – find a networking organisation that will bring rewards.
Running a micro business can be lonely at times and having a great band of trusted Associates can bring a host of benefits:
- People to turn to when you want a bit of advice or have an idea that you just need to share without someone taking it as their own or even if just want to have a moan.
- A strong network of Associates are great at promoting each other, word of month is the best form of marketing and is free.
- Having a group of Associates that use similar products may enable you to share cost or increase savings if you can buy greater volumes.
In the adapted words of Woody ‘ A Micro Biz Buddy – if you don’t have one, get one’ you will find this helps to take you to infinity and beyond bringing a whole host of benefits to your micro business that you did not think you would achieve on your own!
About the Author
Tina Boden owns several businesses and is the co-founder of Enterprise Rockers, a movement created to help champion micro-businesses both in the UK and globally. For more information, visit www.enterpriserockers.co.uk.