At some point in your life, you might think, “I could do this, and I could do it better.” Many business models spring from ideas like that, and many of those businesses have gone on to become very successful.
In recent years more and more people have decided to go into business for themselves, and many of them do it from their own homes. It can be a scary thought to invest so much time, money and passion into an idea, but the rewards can far outweigh those risks.
Whether you’ve decided that working in the corporate sector is not for you, or you’d like to spend more time at home with your family, or you have an entrepreneurial spirit, taking those first challenging steps toward your home business can seem huge. Read on to find out ways to give yourself the best chance at success.
Money, Money, Money
The first step to a home business is to have the capital to get it off the ground. If you’re like most people, you probably need some financial assistance to get started. A small business loan from a bank might be a good choice, but these can be notoriously hard to secure. A better option may be to apply for a bank’s business credit card. The introductory interest rates can be very low, and one or more of these cards gives you the cash that you need to get started.
Another idea might be to solicit investments from friends or family members. Only consider this if you’ve discussed expectations with your investors. Are they silent partners or do they expect to have a say in the business operations? What is the repayment schedule? Make certain that all of these issues are clearly defined before you accept the money.
Streamline Before You Begin
Before you do anything else, make sure that your space is properly set up so that you can work without distraction. Be certain that you have an area of your home that is clearly designated as a work space. Try not to bring your work outside of that space and into your personal or family areas or vice versa.
Make sure that all of your services are in place. Establish your phone lines, your business website, your mail service, and your fax service early so you can be sure that all of them are going to meet your needs. Having the ability to fax, print shipping labels, and interact with your customers via phone and website before you start will spare you a number of headaches down the road.
Consider an Assistant
While you may not think that an assistant is within your reach during the start of your home business, it might be a wise choice. Even if you hire someone temporarily, the extra help during the startup phase can be a lifesaver.
A good place to start might be your local high school or community college. Reach out to teachers who lead business courses and inquire about students who might be interested in part-time work. The student will get practical experience, and you’ll have an extra set of hands.
Get Your Affairs in Order
Before you begin it’s important to be certain that you’ve covered all of your legal and accounting bases. The last thing that you need is to discover after that fact that you’ve missed or overlooked something critical in either of those realms.
Many legal services that are relevant to home business owners can be found cheaply and reliably online; however it might be better to hire a professional. Legal and accounting services don’t have to be expensive, and in many cases the same person can meet your needs in both areas.
If you’re unfamiliar with the taxes associated with your business, it is absolutely imperative that you receive expert advice. You don’t want to have your business sidelined by tax issues before you even have a chance to get started.
Establish Reachable Goals and Expectations
It’s important to have realistic goals for yourself and your business, especially in the first few months. Your business is a work in progress, and if you expect too much in the initial stages, you’re likely to be disappointed.
A wise choice might be to spend your startup phase focusing on customer service and quality control. Establish a meaningful dialogue with your customers and ask them to be honest about the level of service that you are currently providing. Listen to their feedback and implement necessary changes as soon as possible. Happy customers will recommend your business to others, and that’s what you really want.
A successful home business is not an easy task to accomplish, but it can certainly be done. Start slowly and carefully and seek help when you need it, make sure that the legal and financial portions of your company are adequately looked after, and focus on establishing a satisfied customer base. With these basic steps covered, you’re on the best possible path to success.