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Home-Based Business. . . 8 Items To Consider
Before anyone endeavors upon the sea of options for home-based businesses, it's critical that you complete a self-check process to see if you're that kind of person that can possibly find success in this kind of business.  The upside is that if you desire to spend more time with your family or you just want to be your own boss, starting a home-based business may be a good choice for you.  But first ask yourself what your goals are.  What's your "WHY"?  Consider these items to get clarity so you can make an informed decision.

Item 1:

Evaluate your personality. Many people want to work from home because they think it will be easier to balance work and family needs. Some may think working from home will make it easier to take care of their kids. However, this is not necessarily true. Working from home is very challenging.  You have to possess the personality traits to make it work:

  • You must be a self-starter. Without a supervisor to keep you on task, you must be able to motivate yourself to focus on getting your work done.

  • You need critical thinking skills. You have to be able to handle all of your responsibilities without direction or guidance from someone else.

  • You have to be organized and a good planner. You need to be able to plan ahead to meet all of your work and home responsibilities.

  • You need to be comfortable with being alone. You will not have your co-workers around for social interaction. Decide how important this is to you.

Item 2:

Consider your business skills. To make your home business successful, you need basic business know-how. The categories of business skills you need include financial, marketing, communication and technology. You need to be willing to develop these skills in order to run your business,

  • Financial skills include managing your accounts payable, collecting money from customers, managing your inventory and determining your profit margins. Spend time playing around with your accounting software. 

  • Marketing skills include performing market research to identify the right product or service to sell, determining the right price for your product or service and promoting and selling your product or service.

  • Communication skills include keeping an open line of communication with your clients or customers. You can do this through e-mail marketing and social media communication.

  • You need more than just a telephone and rudimentary computer skills to make your home business work. The technology skills you need include being able to use Excel to create financial spreadsheets and being able to do basic HTML coding and use Word Press to build your website. Also, you need to be familiar with SEO and know how to use Google Analytics to evaluate your customers’ behavior on your website. 

The good news is that you can outsource a lot of the logistics tasks to micro sites.

 

Item 3:

Weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Operating a home-based business has positives and negatives. Evaluate the impact of this lifestyle change on your family and home life. Decide if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

  • The advantages include flexible working hours, no commuting, free child care, and the satisfaction of being your own boss.

  • The disadvantages include stress from trying to balance work and family needs, limited space in your home, disruptions to your family’s schedule and lack of social interactions from co-workers.

 

Item 4:

Decide how your idea matches up to your skills. Ask yourself if you possess the required technical, social, personal and manual skills to do the job. For example, suppose you have an idea to be a wedding planner, but you’re not really up to date on wedding fads, dress styles and color trends. Then, this idea doesn’t match up with your skills. But, suppose you do have a passion for photography, and you have lots of equipment and expertise to take beautiful pictures. Being a wedding photographer might be a better match to your skills.

Item 5:

Evaluate the availability of resources. Resources include financial resources, human resources and raw materials. Some businesses require start-up funds and working capital. Determine if you have the resources to make your ideas work.

  • Financial resources include purchasing equipment and start-up expenses. For example, if you are going to sell a product, you may need to purchase inventory to get started. Figure out if you can pay for start-up expenses from your savings or if you would need a small-business loan.

  • Human resources means people. Assess whether you will need help to get the job done. See if you have family members who can do the work or if you will have to hire someone. Find out how difficult it would be to find the right person to do the job. If you need someone with specific skills, you might have a hard time finding someone. Also, determine if you will have the financial resources to pay that person.

  • Raw materials are the things you would need to produce a product. For example, if you are going to start a jewelry-making business, you need to have all of the materials on hand to make your earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Figure out if you have the financial resources to stock all of the raw materials you need. Also, find out how readily available these materials are. If you want to make a product from materials that are difficult to find, you might have a hard time keeping enough product in stock.

Item 6:

Research demand for the product or service. The demand for a product or service means how much customers want it. Determine if your idea offers something in a new or unique way that stands out from the competition. You can do basic market research without spending a lot of money.

  • Learn as much as you can about what your competitors are selling, who their target customers are and how well their businesses are doing. You can do this by browsing their company websites, visiting brick-and-mortar stores that sell similar products and using apps that will provide this information for you.

  • Figure out if people will buy the product or service you are selling. Don’t bother asking friends and family for advice.  Get objective data from talking to customers at shows and expos, participating in focus groups and talking with other business owners.

Item 7:

Make yourself look professional. Invest in professional-looking brochures, business cards and stationery. Instead of printing them yourself on your home computer, have a professional service print them for you. Set up a dedicated phone line for your business. Answer the phone professionally, and don’t allow your children to answer your business line. When speaking with clients or customers, close the door if possible so household noises don’t interrupt the conversation.

Item 8:

Find a reason to leave the house every day. Being in one room or staring at your computer screen all day diminishes your creativity and dulls your mental sharpness. Plan to meet friends or business contacts for lunch. Attend seminars to learn something new. Meet clients in person.

Once you're considered these items, contact us for a free consultation.  We'll be happy to help you map out a strategy for your success.