Starting a home business is indeed great idea nowadays. Unemployment rates worldwide continue to rise. Major countries are witnessing floods of refugees, legitimate and illegal migrants.
A good college or university degree is no longer sufficient to net you a dream job. Education or even good skills are no guarantee you will continue working. In this scenario, home business is an excellent option provided you plan meticulously and take a few basic precautions.
Advantages of home business
Internet opens broad vistas for anyone wanting to enter business. People now look for products and services nearer home. Nobody is willing to travel several miles to buy something, unless it is exceptional or rare. You can open an office, store, workshop or online business. They serve the same purpose- to get you sufficient money.
Fail to plan, plan to fail
As the old axiom aptly states, failing to plan is planning to fail. Success of your business will depend upon how well you plan. There are various stages of planning. You need to put them down on paper for quick reference. Making notes on a computer or smart phone is also helpful. It allows you to save paper costs.
Survey the market for similar products and services
This is extremely vital before you actually embark on any venture. Find out who is offering products and services that are similar to your offerings. Get to know details about their pricing policies, discounts, type of clientele and customer loyalty.
Learn about their unique selling points. They are in business before you. Yet, at some time, they too were beginners. Further, once you launch, you will be pitted against them directly. You need a few aces up your sleeve to carve a niche, survive and thrive.
Find a suitable revenue model
You will need to develop a proper revenue model. This means, you need to meticulously find out how much a competitor is paying to procure raw material, pay for utilities, staff and other related expenses. And, you will need to know about how they generate revenue. It is not necessary to ape their revenue model: You can design your own. Capitalizing on any business is the most difficult part.
You need to juggle between costs and income. Especially, soon after launch you can find yourself short of customers but laden with goods or staff waiting to provide a service.
Getting permits and licenses
Once you decide on your business, the next step is legitimizing it. You will need to register your business with appropriate government authorities. These permits and licenses are useful while filing taxes or availing subsidies, opening bank account etc.
A legit business means you can promote it with confidence. It assures customers that you will not flee with their money or provide substandard services or products. Documentation, however tardy, lends credibility to your business.
Equipping your office
Unless expressly permitted by a vast budget, home is the best place to launch your business. A small room or its section will suffice as office for your start-up venture. A variety of compact furniture including wall desks and foldable sofas are available at affordable rates. Your home-office must reflect the seriousness and ambience of a workplace rather than comfort zone.
Avoid getting into loans
The biggest myth of business is taking a loan for launch. Loans can best be described as money spent before earned. Loans accrue interest. You are liable to pay instalments as soon as the repayment holiday is over. Taking cash loans is known to spur overspending. Look for alternative methods of financing your business.
This can either be your own savings or money borrowed from close family members and friends. Check whether you are eligible for community loans, given for improvement of a specific geographic or ethnic group.
Avoid overcrowding your business
Regardless of whether you operate from physical location or cyberspace, avoid overcrowding your new business. It simply means, offering a few select products and services to begin with.
At all costs, avoid getting into stuff that perishes fast or has short expiry dates. Foodstuff, fresh flowers and cosmetic products have definite ‘best before’ dates. In the unfortunate event you are unable to sell the stuff, it will need to be thrown away or sold at loss.
Marketing at social gatherings, religious shrines
Social gatherings and religious shrines are excellent venues for marketing your company. People are relaxed and do not mind spending a few minutes to get acquainted with you personally or your business. Find a list of such social gatherings where you can gain free access or set up a small stall free. A few brochures and samples or brief introduction works miracles for any new business.
People attending religious shrines on weekends are also amenable to listen as compared with those rushing for work on weekdays. Relaxed people are known to take better, faster decisions.
Staying focused on objectives
Many a new businesses close down or fail to flourish merely because the owner was not focused. Shortage of money, lack of customers, fears over loss of investment, daily and recurrent expenses are sufficient to scare the hardiest investor. They are enough to send you scampering in search of alternative business. Panic selling is a common indicator of losing focus or vision.
Regardless of the time it takes for a business to prosper, staying focused on why you began in the first place is necessary.
Staffing your business
A common mistake many newcomers to business make is hiring friends as employees. Avoid this blunder at all costs. The ups and downs of business can translate quickly into permanent downs of friendship or otherwise cordial relations. The best staff you can find is at colleges and technical institutes, depending on the nature of your business.
Trainees are often quick to learn, settle for smaller pay and do not concern themselves with profit and loss records. If needed, they can be fired without affecting friendship or relationship.
Astute accounting skills
Money matters the most for any business. In fact, that is the very reason you are in business. Keeping astute records of every penny that comes in and goes out by the hour is required.
You can download various tools like accounting and budgeting software and apps that are available free on the Internet. Proper accounting helps you to eliminate ostentatious expenses and curb costs while stretching every penny for maximum mileage. It enables you to maximize profits while reducing losses.
Meeting people who matter
Networking helps you meet people vital for survival and flourishing of your business. Try fixing appointments with local community chiefs, eminent personalities and other local who’s who in your area. Try getting them to endorse your business. Such endorsement serves to popularize your business. But ensure you do not embarrass them in any manner. This can prove very damaging to your business.
Get busy on social media
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube are free resources you can use to promote your business. Check out social media presence of your competitors and businesses in your area. Offer discount coupons for first-timers through reputed websites. This drives customers or at least a few enquiries to your business. Stay away from emailing because often this can be seen as spamming.