If you’re starting a business, you’ll likely be going it alone for the first few weeks or months. Employees can be expensive, and the scale of your business is probably small enough that you can oversee everything yourself.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this helpful guide to successfully running a business alone. We’ll be addressing a few of the most vital points that you’ll need to know for being a solo entrepreneur, such as:

  • Picking the right structure for your business
  • Managing your time correctly
  • How to automate business processes
  • How to manage your finances alone

Picking the right structure for your business 

Business structure is a hugely important factor to consider if you’re going to run your business alone. In this context, ‘business structure’ refers to how you register your business in a legal sense. As an individual, your best choices are a limited company or a sole trader.

Registering as a sole trader is a more common route. Being a sole trader means that you and your company are treated as one entity when it comes to taxes and legal matters. This means a simpler process when you’re paying taxes, as you’ll only need to do your own tax return. It also means more privacy, as a limited company must make much of their financial info and registered address available to the public.

The other option is registering as a limited company. A limited company is the opposite of a sole trader when it comes to taxes: you need to provide a few different sets of paperwork, as well as your personal tax return. On top of that, as we mentioned before, you’ll need to make a lot of your information publicly available. 

However, the benefits are lower taxes and something called ‘limited liability’. This means that you’re not personally responsible for your business’ financial losses, so your personal property wouldn’t be at risk if the company had a lot of debt. When running a business alone, this option can be a smart move as it prevents you from losing everything should the company fail.

If you’re still weighing your options, read this article for a more in-depth description of limited liability, and how it affects you and your business. If you decide to set up as a sole trader, check out our article on what you’ll need to know.

Manage your time correctly

While running your business alone is highly possible, that’s not to say that it’s easy. There’s a lot to keep track of – if you’re running an ecommerce business, for example, you’ll need to be a one-person sales team, marketing department, and shipping depot all at the same time.

This means that scheduling your day should be a priority. You need to know what the most important jobs on your list are, and how long they’ll take. You don’t have to do everything every day, but you need to know what needs doing and what can wait until later.

Which tasks are a priority and which aren’t will change depending on your business, but if you need help remembering what to do and when to do it, you might want to look into some scheduling software.

This includes everything from free apps like Google Calendar to more in-depth scheduling services like Acuity. Scheduling software lays out your calendar in a clear, easy to understand format, and usually has a way of setting reminders so that you’re alerted about upcoming tasks and appointments. 

For further tips on this subject, check out our article on how to improve your time management.

Automate where you can

Automation in the workplace sounds like a complex subject. But put simply, it means that instead of doing everything yourself, you’ve got software to do things for you. This can be a huge help if you’re running your business alone – who needs employees when you have automation?

The best tasks to automate are short, repetitive jobs – sending marketing emails or paying bills are good examples. For the automation of more complex tasks, you may want to ask an expert to support you such as a legal or financial advisor.

Accounting is a great department to automate. You’ll not need to worry about making payments on time or trawling through tons of files if you’ve got automation software looking after your money. Accounting apps like Countingup can save hours of your time, as they can automatically generate invoices and categorise expenses so you don’t have to waste time doing it manually.

Automation can help with things you don’t even think about, too. Software tools like Zapier automate little tasks like saving email attachments to your Google Drive, or posting your content to social media as soon as you publish it on your website. These tasks only take a couple of minutes, but those minutes do add up. If you automate these tasks, you’ll free up all that time – and when you’re running a business alone, time is incredibly valuable. 

Running a business alone means that you’re acting as your own marketing manager, so automation that lightens that particular workload is a must-have. With software like Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign, you can send offers and adverts to your customers. These tools also track whether customers have opened emails or clicked the links inside, so you can track how well your marketing campaign works.

Save time managing your finances solo with a simple app

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re running your business all alone. But software such as Countingup makes financial admin much easier.

Countingup is a business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with an accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. It’s seamless, simple, and straightforward!

Find out more here.