The Solo Entrepreneur is considered to be an inferior species, generally shunned by investors, and for whom traction comes many years later, when compared with two or more founding partners. However, there are many advantages to solo entrepreneurship, and while the odds of success are likely less, the odds of success of any entrepreneurial activity is generally abysmal in any case. As Steve Jobs has said, the greatest weakness of an organization can be its greatest strengths. Below are three advantages and opportunities to pay attention to:
As an entrepreneur who currently runs businesses with partners as well as solo, there are clear advantages to the partner model of startups. That said, there are advantages for the solopreneur. The main point is not that the solopreneur is somehow graced with an extra bit of good luck, but rather there are opportunities which can be exploited. In order to take action, the opportunity must be understood.
Meetings can be fruitful, but the communication overhead needed in synchronizing between partners is time that could be spent on otherwise learning, interacting with customers, or developing products and services. Take Action: Schedule meetings with yourself that will focus on learning more about the industry, the competition, the customer and entrepreneurship in general. Schedule meetings with lead customers to discuss their business needs, not just the current offerings of the business or the business relationship.
While a partner can bring great strengths, they can also force compromise regarding a feature set of a product or every other decision. For strong solopreneurs, there is no compromise and so the vision becomes one which is forged directly with the customers rather than between partners and customers. Take Action: Articulate and forge the vision with customers. Put the vision in writing and discuss. Pursue the vision.
Speed of Change
When you are by yourself, there is no one else who can be a drag on shifting focus, whether that be a new product or service, or the way that suppliers are managed or customers are cared for. New opportunities can be exploited as quickly as possible, and anything that needs to be abandoned can be done so forthwith. Take Action: Take action by simply taking action. Make decisions and move in different directions. Pursue the direction as long as needed to get feedback and fully understand the consequences. Do not become too mercurial and always ensure that the customer is getting more value over time.