When you’ve been working for yourself as a contractor for a while, it’s quite common to start wondering whether the service you’re offering could be expanded into a small business. If you have had positive feedback and a high level of demand, then it may well be a good avenue to explore; just make sure that you’re prepared for the new challenges that will come with running a business rather than simply managing your own freelancing. Here are our tips for making the transition work:
Learn Some Management Skills
Even if your team starts with just one or two people, you’ll need to learn some techniques for managing them effectively – nurturing their skills, and helping them to develop in any areas that might be lacking.
No two people that you work with will have the same personality, so spending some time reading management blogs and learning how to work well with different temperaments can help you to build a stronger team.
Delegate and ‘Let Go’
If you’re used to working alone, the chances are that you’ve become something of a perfectionist – when you start growing your team, it’s important that this doesn’t turn into a tendency to micro-manage every task. Trust your employees and delegate where you can, or you’ll never have the time to actually grow.
Consider your Funding Options
You need to start investing in infrastructure, so getting hold of some funding might be vital – but whether you opt for a bank loan or a government grant, make sure you know what strings are attached. Try this government resource for more information.
Ensure Contracts are Watertight
Although you should ideally be working with well-drafted contracts at every stage, it’s easier to get away with letting things slip through the net when you’re in charge of a whole business. Being exploited by customers won’t help with business growth, so get all of your contracts checked, double-checked, and locked down.
Write Up a Business Plan
You’re probably already planning your time carefully as a freelancer, but setting up a small business requires a more structured plan that deals with specific issues – as outlined in this government advice page. This isn’t just useful for getting your own head around the structure of your business, but is also essential for securing some types of funding.
Understand your Business Structure and the Registration Process
This government resource will help you to decide whether you are setting up as a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership. Look closely at each option, as your decision will have wider ramifications. Once you’re ready, register with the HMRC to ensure that everything is legal.
Get Assistance From Those Who Can Help
Just as other companies might enlist the services of your new company to deal with something that falls outside their area of expertise, you can start getting help from people who have the knowledge that will assist in building your business.
At ICS we have been lucky to work with many people in the exact same transitional stage that you’re now in, and we can now see their small and medium-sized businesses flourishing. Aside from being able to access resources such as our Directors Guide, you’ll also have access to a dedicated account manager that will talk through your growth aspirations with you.