When you start a solo business from home you face challenges.
I started my first business after working several years on Wall Street and having an MBA in finance.
I thought education and expertise were all I needed. Big mistake.
What I needed was a solopreneur business strategy.
If you aren’t securing new clients or growing your sales, the problem might not be your marketing.
The problem could be your strategy.
Creating a strategy sounds complicated. It doesn’t have to be.
You can get a big head start and pass your competition if you focus on three key principles.
Once you have a strategy that addresses these three themes, you’ll be on the inside track.
Yes, you’ll still need to test your strategy and improve it. Yet, with the answers to these three topics, you’ll operate from a position of strength.
How to Fix Your Solopreneur Business Strategy
- Find 1 BIG client problem you can fix
- Build your solution in the right sandbox
- Ensure people will pay for your solution before you build it
Find and Fix 1 BIG Client Problem
Your business strategy has to find and fix 1 BIG client problem. This starts your flywheel.
Ignore this, and you’ll be at zero sales for a long time.
I launched my finance business with a graduate degree, experience, and a smile. I had no solopreneur business strategy the first year. It was awful.
I was in quicksand until I went back to base camp and built a strategy.
The easiest way to find the 1 BIG client problem is to reverse engineer the small problems.
- Poor SEO
- No site traffic
- There are no conversions on the website
Now you can play detective.
Follow the clues to go upstream and find the 1 BIG client problem that causes the small problems.
It’s research. It’s good for you, and it kickstarts your solopreneur business strategy.
Let’s say you want to help a new realtor in New York, NY, generate more sales.
Check out their website. Do you understand the product-customer fit?
Check out their blog posts. Do you understand the transition their product or service provides?
If not, then there’s a BIG problem for you to solve. For this NYC realtor, the BIG problem is no sales.
The small problems:
- Not enough new leads
- There are not enough new listings
- There is no conversion of leads and listings to sales
Your solopreneur business strategy has to help this realtor (and other realtors in the same bucket) solve the BIG problem. And you have to solve it in a fun, simple, and powerful way.
- Introduce a unique 1:1 coaching service for realtors
- Launch a 3-day boot camp for realtors. Make the camp different from your competition’s
- Build a new app for realtors. The app is easier to use and more intuitive.
Make your solutions unique and make them stick.
Pick Your Ideal Sandbox
Can you win in a market with tons of competition? Yes. New coffee shops and pizza places open every day.
They may not defeat Starbucks or Papa John’s. They make money with a smart business strategy.
Let’s go back to your strategy to help the realtors in greater New York. Let’s say your sandbox is realtors who help new home buyers. Assume 100,000 realtors focus on this market.
If your fee is $10,000 and you capture 0.1% of the market, you have a good business.
Your solopreneur business strategy has to consider the right sandbox. This matters as much as your decision to avoid the wrong one.
Enter the wrong sandbox, and you move from “we have a shot” to “turn out the lights; it’s time to go home.”
Measure Market Potential & Validate Folks Will Pay for the Solution
When you build your solopreneur business strategy, ask the right questions to measure your market potential and competition.
If you build the solution in the wrong market, you reduce the likelihood that people will pay for your product.
Assume you sell dog food for golden retriever puppies in the U.S.
- “How many golden retriever puppies are born each year in the U.S.?”
- “How many dog foods cater to golden retriever puppies?”
- “What are the supply and demand trends for golden retriever puppies?”
- “Who are the big brands, and what is the competition in this sector?”
Assume you sell SaaS systems to the pharmaceutical sales team in London.
- “How many big pharma companies have a sales team in London?”
- “Which SaaS companies have the biggest market share for pharma sales in London?”
- “What are the leading medical challenges in London?”
- “Which pharma companies sell medication to cure those problems?”
Your solopreneur business strategy needs a deep understanding of your company’s competitive landscape before you decide which markets to enter.
When you understand your competition and pick your market, move on to your customers.
Which Customers Do You Help?
Your solopreneur business strategy has to serve a specific customer base.
Southwest Airlines built a strategy to help customers fly from point A to B with a cheap fare and on-time flights.
They target customers who are price sensitive and accept a ‘no frills’ flight experience.
Apple built a strategy to give you a phone, music, and the internet on one device. Apple targets customers who will pay for a top-of-the-line mobile device.
Uber built a strategy to connect customers and drivers in one city.
They target passengers who want to order their own transportation. They target drivers who will use their own vehicles to earn extra income.
When your business strategy targets the middle of the distribution curve, you vanish. Instead, target the outer edge.
What Are the Unique Traits of Your Product or Service?
It’s important that your product and service are unique.
Eat dinner at Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan, and you know what to expect: extraordinary food and amazing service.
An evening where you can savor each course.
Order lunch from Jimmy John’s, and you know what to expect. Fast delivery.
Yes, Jimmy John’s wants you to enjoy your food. They focus on quick service.
Eleven Madison Park and Jimmy John’s know where they excel. One delivers culinary excellence, and one focuses on quick delivery.
They each have an advantage in their own market.
Your competition, customers, and product benefits are the pillars of your business strategy.
Each falls under the heading “Fix 1 BIG problem.”
Nail this, and you have a BIG head start on your competition.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if you have trouble building a strategy?
I empathize. It’s not simple. The hard part is ‘feeling’ unsure that your strategy will work. This is natural.
Tie your strategy to logic and create the ‘IF this’ –> ‘THEN that’ bridge.
Your first few strategies might not work. It’s okay.
Take inventory of what’s working and where your logic falls down. Fix the weak spots and try again.
Should you start with a business plan?
The business plan is essential, but it’s not the first step. You can discover business plan tips here.
Remember that your plan is a series of steps to take after you build your strategy. You need both.
Sources to Review
One of the best places to start when you decide to launch a home business is the Small Business Association.
You can find the SBA here.