Home businesses are quite common these days because people choose to transform their houses into their personal offices to save money. As the work-from-home trend is rapidly growing, an increasing number of people say goodbye to their 9 to 5 jobs, and start something on their own. Thanks to job directories they can make a living in pajamas.
But as appealing this idea may seem to you, ensure you understand the steps you need to follow to run a successful venture. Before starting a business at home, ask yourself what makes you an expert, do people look for someone with your skills and knowledge, do they need the product you plan to sell and does this idea passion you so much to invest time and money.
Identify your market and competition
You’re subjective, so it’s no doubt you think your product is exquisite, but having a great product doesn’t guarantee success. You need to know your market, what their needs are, what products they use, and what inspires them to buy, to determine if they are interested in your products.
Discovering your target market is crucial. They tell you what your competitors are, and what their advantage is. To understand what your market wants, answer the following questions.
- What needs does your average client have?
- Do you sell to individuals or businesses?
- Do other companies offer the same product?
- What makes your product different from your competitors?
- What benefits does your product bring?
The answers can help you make a marketing plan to promote your venture and attract clients.
Prepare your office
The secret to creating a productive workplace is to designate an office. Pick a private space, out of the way where you can work without anyone bothering you. If you don’t have a spare room you can transform into an office, consider converting a corner of a room with dividers and screens.
Outfit the home office with all the tools and equipment you need to complete tasks. Start with office furniture, a telephone, printer, and computer. If you craft products at home, you’ll also need storage space, so consider cleaning up the garage or renting a storage space.
Set a schedule
Even if you work from home and you have the entire day to complete your tasks, setting a schedule helps you stay organised. It’s challenging to work from home when you don’t have a strict schedule because it’s tempting to work late or spend more time in front of the TV when drinking coffee.
Build freedoms in your schedule, but ensure you set a schedule that supports you in achieving your goals. You are new to this, so scheduling specific work hours can help you.
Separate work and home
When at home, your family is tempted to spend time around your office and prevent you from focusing on your work. The best way to create a productive work-at-home environment is to tell them your office is a private area and they need to allow you to work.
Also, don’t let other things to distract you. If you go to the kitchen for a cup of tea and your cat is purring around, don’t end up petting her for hours because she is too cute to close the door behind you. Resist the urge to handle house chores during your work schedule because they’ll eat up your work time, and you’ll be late with your deadlines.
Working from home is peaceful, relaxing and productive, or it should be. If you base your business at home then you need adequate insurance to protect your equipment and work.
The average home insurance policy covers many of the items and furniture you have at home against damage, loss or theft, but you need to check with your provider if they include home business items in their coverage. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you probably have Florida flood insurance, so you need to supplement it with an all-risks policy to cover the business equipment. This policy covers all the items you use to operate your business when they’re damaged or taken away from home.
To be productive you need to eliminate or at least limit distractions in your office. Children are often a distraction for parents working from home because they run around the house. Even if it’s important to spend as much time as possible with your kids, you need to focus on your business during work hours. Ask your spouse, parents or friends to care for them while you work.
Television, music and noisy household items can also distract you. Don’t turn on the washing machine, close the door to your office when the children watch cartoons, and close the windows if your spouse is mowing the lawn. Limit inside and outside distractions as much as possible. Encourage your family to offer you privacy while you work and soundproof the room where you plan to install your work station.
Comply with the law
Check your local regulations to find out what rules you need to meet when you start a business at home. Depending on the specifics of the business you may need a business license or work from home permit to run your company. Some municipalities establish the type of foot traffic you can have through your home if you use it for business purposes, so make sure you research all these aspects.
Understand the legal forms of business organization and decide if you want to operate it as a limited liability corporation, sole proprietorship or corporation.
You need to contact your city to get a business license, get in touch with the state’s occupational regulatory agency to determine if your company is regulated and if it needs additional licenses and permits, and get a sales tax license if you sell tangible items.
If you create something trademark or patent it, to protect it from intellectual theft. Get in touch with a business consultant to support you during the process because you lack the knowledge and you may miss a step.
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