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Business Planning Considerations: Capabilities of Sole Proprietors

If you’re the boss and entire staff of a one-person company, you may wonder what planning your business’ capabilities has to do with your success. The answer: Plenty. The same issues that confront big companies apply to your business — just on a smaller scale. Here’s how a freelance web designer adapted the descriptions of each capability to fit her situation:

  • Research and development: This capability involves staying current with new software, hardware, and design technologies by completing training and certification programs.

  • Operations: This capability involves billing, accounting, scheduling, client service, back-up arrangements for fielding calls, and helping suppliers, subcontractors, and others in emergency situations.

  • Marketing: This capability includes a strong identity and reputation, good marketing materials, and a website and online presence that’s competitive and current. It also includes the ability to promote services, network, and make calls and presentations to prospective clients.

  • Distribution and delivery: This capability includes getting to and from client meetings with the right equipment, software, and file access in the right place at the right time, as well as ability to serve customers remotely as appropriate.

  • Customer service: This capability involves establishing working relationships with clients who have information technology needs and creating loyalty through excellent service, especially in emergency situations.

  • Management: This capability includes the ability to set and reach goals and objectives, to maintain a sense of direction and vision, and to establish and run the practice like a business that earns and deserves a great reputation.

  • Organization: This capability involves contracting for accounting, secretarial, subcontractor, and other support services.

  • Financial condition: This capability means having funds for computer hardware, software, and testing equipment, cash to stay afloat until invoices are paid, a financial cushion, and a satisfactory salary and benefits.

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