Owning a home business can be a fun and exciting way to earn extra money. It could also be a stepping-stone to a full time business and a way to earn wealth and security. But just because your business is home based or part time doesn’t mean you can skip important steps that are necessary for any business.
Choosing the best type and specific opportunity can be a complex decision. There are several factors that must be considered before you will know which business is right for you.
There are legal requirements to consider, even when you work from home. If you sell a product you will need a business permit and tax number. You also should think about the space requirements your business will have for inventory and supplies as well as actual working space. Your town also probably has zoning laws that affect the allowed amount of traffic, parking and deliveries – even if you aren’t manufacturing. Check with the appropriate government agencies in your area for full details.
How much time are you willing to put into your venture? Some businesses are well suited to evenings and weekends while others require more full time effort to be successful. You must honestly assess the time you have available and whether you are willing to spend it this way.
And of course there is the cost factor. Although there are many businesses that can be started with a very small investment, they all require some capital. There are ways to lower start-up and operating costs, but you should be aware of budget constraints before you commit yourself.
1. Probably the most common mistake people make is getting overly excited about a business idea without thoroughly researching it first. Don’t get so emotionally caught up that you rush into a venture without considering the above factors. Know the warning signs of scams that fool you into thinking you can easily make big money with little or no effort. These programs are designed to do one thing: Sign you up and separate you from your cash.
2. Another important step that many skip is planning. Even the smallest enterprise needs marketing and business plans. Many smaller and home-based business owners don’t bother to create formal written plans because they operate an M-L-M that comes with instructions. Others think they don’t need plans because it’s a one person operation.
Both of these views are wrong. Anyone considering a business opportunity needs a plan that covers the basics:
- defining the business idea
- conducting market research so you will know who and where your typical customers are, what they want and need, and whether there are enough of them to support your business successfully
- deciding how to finance start-up costs and budget operating costs
- knowing the methods you will use to find customers
Your local public library is an excellent free resource for conducting market research. There are also many books available that can guide you step by step through the details of preparing both marketing and business plans.
3. The third mistake is choosing or operating a business solely for the money. Of course, the main purpose of business is to make money. But it’s not the only reason. And it’s not enough of a reason to sustain and energize you for the long hours of hard work you must put in to be successful. You should pick something you truly enjoy doing when choosing your business. Besides, where’s the joy in doing something you don’t really like to do? Business should be fun.
4. Another common mistake – closely related to the previous one – is not picking a product or service that you truly like and believe in. It’s very difficult to sell something when you don’t know enough about it, or when you know it’s not a good value. You have to make sales to stay in business and to be a good salesman you first must know your product or service inside out, and you must absolutely believe that it is of quality and value that will benefit the customer.
5. Finally, probably the worst mistake you can make is not keeping good records. This isn’t directly related to choosing your business, except that some types of businesses require more numerous and complex records. If this is a problem for you it would be wise to have a system and/or professional help in place before you begin. You need good client files for customer service and good financial records for income and tax purposes.
Vanessa Shelton is a web designer, marketing consultant and copywriter with over 20 years experience. She uses “The Right Words – The Right Way” to bring your ideas and vision to the world. With newsletters, article marketing, the website refresh, and more in her arsenal, Vanessa is ready to help small business owners and independent professionals get attention, and get results. Visit http://vanessasdesk.com to see how Vanessa can help you.