If you run a small business and work by yourself, you may often feel like you’re on your own. Everything is your responsibility, and if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. Chances are your family and friends will be supportive, but more than likely won’t fully understand the intricacies of dealing with the ins and outs of running your own business. They can sympathise, but not empathise, and often you may feel like you could do with talking something over with someone else in the same boat to get a new perspective.
FSB is a small business support organisation and, as such, we understand that a sense of isolation can sometimes make you wonder whether you’re really cut out for this.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can feel part of a team, even if you do work on your own. Remember, there is always someone else out there with the same doubts and the same hopes to make a success of being an entrepreneur.
There is an old saying that networking events are a waste of time because everyone is selling and no one is buying. However, that’s not really all it’s about. Yes, you can make some really handy connections, and get your name out there. You can also meet new people, have a chance to chat with other business owners, raise some of your concerns and share ideas. Networking events often include speakers, so, look for one with a topic that interests you, and give it a go. Whether social interaction is your thing or not, it’s a good idea to chat to like-minded people in a relaxed atmosphere.
This sounds pretty obvious, and it’s not quite the same as spending time with actual human beings, but don’t underestimate the power of online connections. There are plenty of forums online covering everything from sharing ideas, making connections or looking for solutions to common business stumbling blocks. Have a look at something that you feel is relevant to where you are in your business journey. Perhaps just observe for a while, see how the interactions in the group go, and jump in and join the conversation when you’re ready.
FSB’s Linked In group is a great place to catch up on some business news and chat with other small business owners.
This can be the most daunting of all. Trying to make sure you have all the essential services takes time and often, you don’t know you need it until you do.
While you can absolutely do it all yourself, something like an FSB membership can save you quite a bit of hassle. Essential services like tax and legal protection are included with your membership, and you also have access to a variety of additional business services at reduced cost. Have a look at our range of benefits and see if being part of our team can benefit your business.
Another fairly obvious one here, but it’s worth remembering that these days you are almost never really on your own. There is always someone online and if you moderate your social media presence, it won’t feel like another full time job to manage. Do some initial investigation, follow along with few conversations and see if any particular platform resonates with you.
LinkedIn is generally considered the more professional of the options, but don’t discount twitter and Facebook. There are plenty of business discussions happening here, too. Find your local and national FSB social media accounts and join in.
If you run a beauty or blogging business, or any business with a heavy visual component, in fact, remember to have a look at Instagram and Pinterest, too. A great way to get ideas and also share yours.
You may think that being a small business means you have very little say over what happens in the corridors of political power. How do you go about getting your voice heard and affecting change?
FSB’s policy, press and public affairs teams across the UK lobby decision makers and politicians on the issues important to small businesses. Join our survey panel or get in touch with your FSB regional development manager to raise issues you think are affecting your own and other small businesses.
While working for yourself is an appealing prospect, remember there’s no reason to struggle through everything on your own. Support and a friendly ear is always available if you need it, you just have to take the plunge and get involved.