Editor’s note: One of my big goals is to eventually run multiple businesses so I can make even more bacon. For this guest post, it made perfect sense to reach out to Toronto photographer, (she is the one responsible for the brand photos on my site) Laura Benn who has experience running several businesses – Gooseberry Studios, Gooseberry Prints, Pawsh Magazine and most recently, The Prop Shop + Co.
Read on for some very practical advice for running multiple businesses.
Running multiple businesses can be a great option for multi-passionate entrepreneurs. However, it is also a great deal of work and a lot of juggle on any given day. When it came time to sit down and write this piece I wanted to be sure I could offer advice beyond ‘be organized’ or ‘manage your time well’ – I think we can all assume that goes without saying.
So here are five pieces of advice to consider when it comes to running multiple businesses – I hope they are useful.
1. Have Unique Branding For Each Business
When you’re at the heart of multiple businesses it’s easy to fall into the trap of recycling content, sharing similar ideas or repeating oneself. None of this is useful, because it ends up making all of your businesses so repetitive you may as well be running only one.
Why should a potential customer follow the same sort of business by the same person or team over and over again? Investing time and energy into developing a clear, concise and charismatic brand identity per business helps to target different ideal clientele and keep each business in its own lane with its own purpose and its own plan.
2. Write A Business Plan
This is the piece of advice that I find is ignored the most by new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. In this day and age there’s a belief that business plans are ‘outdated,’ ‘corporate,’ ‘boring,’ and ‘not necessary,’ when in fact (at least in my experience time and time again) a well researched and written business plan is transformative.
A business plan helps you to understand your company inside and out, as well as its unique position in a competitive marketplace. When you’re running multiple businesses you need to know what your business is doing and when, and why. It makes life simpler and keeps matters clearly moving forward. (Visit Gooseberry’s article about 8 Dos and Donts to Write a Great Small Business Plan if you’d like to learn more about how to get started).
3. Take It Slow
Running multiple businesses isn’t something that can happen overnight. It takes time, planning, resources, strategy – the list goes on and on. I always recommend building one business first, build it really well so that it serves as a strong and reliable foundation for you to then launch a second business from (if indeed that is your goal). Perhaps your second business begins as a part-time side hustle to your first. Trying to build two full-time businesses at once when neither is stable has a greater chance of everything collapsing.
Instead, take it slow. Give yourself time. You’ll get there!
4. Develop Different S
There’s a misconception that you have to do all the things for your business (social media, email marketing, tradeshows, networking events, etc) which turns into a misconception that you have to then do all the things for all of your businesses. The stronger course of action is to spend time developing a unique strategy per business so you can be the most efficient and effective with its time.
For example, Twitter is a huge platform for Pawsh, so a lot of time is spent to enhance and enrich that platform for our readers. However, Twitter is not a huge platform for Gooseberry Prints – that business has other social media channels activated which better suit its target clientele.
Business is very rarely a one size fits all situation, so spend time tailoring your marketing strategies, your content strategies, your sales strategies etc to each unique business identity and mission.
5. Establish Work Systems
Once each business has its own brand identity and business strategy developed, spend time establishing supportive work systems. In other words, systems for how to get the work that needs get done, done reliably. Work systems increase efficiency which boosts productivity. Examine how you book, invoice, sell. Determine how you market, run events, generate leads. Map out how you produce content, interact with customers and manage your products. Identify a series of steps (aka a system) for each task so that you can get all of those essential tasks running smoothly. This ultimately frees up more time.
When it comes to running multiple businesses you need determination, pragmatic thought, an abundance of creativity and endless passion to keep the projects thriving. It’s a lot, but it’s not impossible.