India has over 15 million freelancers that are part of the 40 million small and medium businesses in India. Today, there is a growing tendency for freelancers to determine if they should transition into a small business. If you are one such freelancer, read on to understand how to change roles from a freelancer to a small business owner.
Some of the common reasons for freelancers to start their own business are:
- The significant growth seen in small businesses due to innovation disruption and delegation in responsibilities
- The entry into newer markets and the introduction of new products and services
As a freelancer, you stand to benefit as you can now work with a talent pool and improve your problem-solving capabilities. This will also allow you to to strike a balance for your work and personal life, and experience a sense of achievement as well.
Even though, you may have changed your employment status from a freelancer to a small business owner, the functioning of your business must not change dramatically. You should look for consistency. Empower your employees to work well as a closely-knit unit.
Initially, there may be hiccups based on cashflow and training problems. This could be caused due to high overheads, salaries and mentoring issues.
To get past these dips, you must have the following:
Create a mission and vision statement. Believe in your small business in a similar manner and passion that drove your freelance work. With a strong mind and a positive work attitude, your work ethics will soon rub off on your team
Small businesses may look to grow without having the right team in place and this can prove both expensive and hurt the business in terms of sales and reputation. The right hire will help build your business and help focus and train new talent.
Ensure that your employees are trained well in using business tools, communication and have sufficient training material. Training material will enable them to know how to be compliant to your business standards and allow your team to work cohesively.
Create a work process that maps your employees daily tasks and how they can achieve the same in a step-by-step format
Ensure that you do not fall prey to a cash flow crunch. Accumulate a savings of 15-25% of your income. This will help your business when there is a dip in cash flow based on primary remuneration expenses
Speaking on how you can transition seamlessly from a freelancer to a small business owner, Peter Yorke, CEO, Yorke Communications, stated “In order to move over from being a freelancer to a small business owner, you have to ensure that your business grows and that your business’s Unique Selling Proposition and marketing strategies should not rapidly evolve with what has worked in the past.”
Yorke also added, “To ensure that there is continuity in the longer run, you must review key matrix and continue to drive engagement to generate enough business to sustain a small business. With a small business, there are bound to be unexpected running costs but with an able-bodied team, your business can grow by leaps and bounds.”
Enumerating on the need to build a business plan and a sustainable small business, Alexander Castelino, CEO, JAAC Consultancy Services, explains, “A definitive roadmap and action plan must be developed and enhanced to ensure that you have the right team and the best practices for the successful running of your firm. Look to mould talent and potential for long term growth and stability.”
Here’s how you can transition from a freelancer to a small business owner:
Upgrade to an office:
To show your clients that you are committed to your business, you should upgrade to a dedicated office. This will help make your small business look professional and reduce household distractions that could eat in your time and business. In time, you can slowly delegate tasks and ensure that they meet the company’s expectations.
Dress to impress:
For most small business, it is essential to dress well to build and improve people now perceive you as a small business owner. This could help you improve your interactions and help you attract the right clientele.
Keep data centralised:
Ensure that you fine tune all your business data on paper, electronic and online into a centralised system. This will ensure that you can pull up any documents at any point of time and reduce the time delay in finding and tracking documents and conversations. To centralise your data, you should spend time reviewing and adding your data in a documented and easily accessible manner.
Be the go-to business:
Look to build on good relationships and value your clients as they drive your business. Stay on top of key drivers and market information that you can provide your clients to gain their confidence and trust. Customers make purchase decisions based on businesses that they like and those that would support and service their needs.
In order to grow your small business, be firm but flexible and look to newer markets. In time, you may not be in a position to correct your established business hierarchy and matrix and this can prove to be a challenge. Therefore, it is imperative to review the functioning of your business and easily transition into running a successful small business.