Setting up on your own is the dream of thousands of ambitious office workers each New Year, but many also find it daunting. We caught up with owner Stephan Baart to learn what it takes to become your own boss.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to set up their own business?
‘Just do it!’ The fact you want to set up something for yourself implies you already have the idea, so it’s time to take action.
Mornings are key times for many business owners, but what is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Check my emails and update my to-do list. Personally, I update my to-do list again just before I go to sleep.
You work for yourself, how do you keep yourself motivated?
The biggest gift is receiving great feedback from clients or finding they have recommended me to new prospects. It keeps me motivated and my business succeeding.
Organisation does not come naturally to everyone – what are your tips to keeping on track at work?
As I am always on the go, I couldn’t survive without technology such as my smartphone helping me keep my agenda and to-do list up to date. I’m also a huge fan of organisational software, and I try to file away physical documents as well as emails on a daily basis.
What device or gadget couldn’t you live without at work?
Definitely my smartphone. It contains my contacts, email, camera, agenda, to-do list and more all in one handy place.
What is the key to building successful relationships with clients?
There are three key ways you can develop great client relationships:
– Be in regular contact with them
– Be highly responsive to their needs
– Respond to questions in a timely manner
Meetings are crucial to bringing in new business as well as retaining clients – how do you ensure meetings are effective?
It’s important to build on relationships in client meetings but to help direct the conversation I make sure I have the action list from our last meeting and we set realistic actions against any tasks in hand.
Project management is a skill – how much of your planning is done online, and how much offline?
All my planning is handled online, which means if something changes I’m able to deal with it directly – whether I am in or out of the office.
In your role, you are effectively the CEO and company secretary – how do you split your time between client and company work?
I split my time between client and company work by working during the day for my clients, and in the evening and weekends on company matters. I outsource administrative work and work together with a number of different specialists.
Office space can motivate or hinder – what does your ideal work environment look like?
Ergonomic, spacious, light and well-organised. You’ll find related items lined up on a shelf, like paper and ink cartridges.