The Netherlands now has more than one and a half million self-employed people without staff. Many of them are actually just still employees, only their employer has now become a client. They don't want to be a company at all. But the real entrepreneurs who start out as self-employed people want to further build their business. Turnover, attract larger customers and projects and put people to work. But hiring staff is not a prerequisite for growing into an SME. From the start it's all about your mindset: are you a freelancer or a company?
A sole trader is also a company. Behind that beautiful logo, that sharp slogan and those interesting blog articles can be one person or an entire team. By acting and thinking directly as a company and not as an employee, you automatically make the right choices that will grow your business. In all areas. We give you four practical tips from practice.
1. Do business as a company
A number of things you will never find at a professional company: an invoice made in Word or Excel, a private account or a personal credit card. In short: that is just plain stupid. So arrange that accounting package (or at least that invoice program) and ask for it business credit card and that business checking account On. Then your customers will immediately notice that they are doing business with a "real" company.
2. Build your own brand
A self-employed person does not need a newsletter at all, business blog, website or a company page on LinkedIn. With a LinkedIn profile and business cards you can already address your own network. Just like an employee. You then do not need any marketing or sales. But an SME company? That is a brand that you load with a specific target group, those people outside your network that you also like to do business with. So no Thomas Lapperre Marketing, neither TL Marketing, but Bloeise. An online marketing agency that helps businesses grow online.
3. Listen to the customer
A plasterer has one field and a field. If you are in his working area and you need stucco walls, then you are in the right place. But do you also want paint work and some demolition work? Then you have to be with someone else. However, if our plasterer starts to think like a company, he listens to his customers. Because then you can respond to customer needs and adjust your services accordingly. In the beginning that might mean that he does some small paintwork himself, but every entrepreneur will learn that it will work better if you focus. And then you engage someone else to complement your service. Outside your work or field. So that you can attract larger customers and assignments. A company moves with the customers.
4. Think like an employer
An employee looks at the stack, picks up an assignment and starts working. He does his job day in and day out and new jobs often come on top of the pile. It doesn't really matter. That is just like that self-employed person who does not respond to emails from potential customers, because he is currently busy. Or a desk clerk who just as lovingly helps people who push in. An employer on the other hand? He takes the time to determine priorities and to prepare a schedule. First this, then that. For that you regularly look at what is coming in, what is still waiting, which projects are planned and what the next task should be. You ensure that customers and projects do not wait unnecessarily. In short: you divide the work.
Take a fixed moment in the week for which you force yourself to think as an employer. Then look further than the work at hand: where do you want to go? What do you notice in the market? Are there shifts in work or type of customers? Do you see new opportunities and how can you seize them? Or are there new competitors with a better, cheaper offer? How do you deal with that? Are you a true entrepreneur who wants to build a business, then you will be excited by these questions.
This last tip is from the book This way you become a productivity ninja from Graham Allcott.