21 Steps to Starting a Home Business (Part 2)

November 29, 2013 | By | Reply More

Read 21 Steps to Starting a Home Business

start a home businessStep 6. Gather Information

Lay the groundwork by gathering more information about your particular business and researching your potential market. Spend a few weeks researching home-based businesses. Colleges, universities, vocational schools and professional groups may be sources of education about the business that you want to enter. A library or bookstore can provide numerous books on business basics to aid you in the course of your own home study. Some would-be entrepreneurs even sign up for internship or apprenticeship opportunities to train themselves in running the business and learning the procedures they can later adopt.

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Step 7. Check on Zoning Restrictions

Check if zoning approval from the local municipal authorities is necessary for your business. Find out how your property is zoned, then call your City Hall and ask what regulations apply to home businesses in that zone. Also, if you rent or live in a condominium, check the lease or homeowner’s association rules to be certain a home business is allowed.

Also, it is important to know of any neighborhood restrictions regarding shop noise, chemical usage, odors, signage, deliveries, traffic or parking, or any other deterrents from running a business at home. Know what you can and can’t do right from the very start; complaints from your neighbors may result in your having to close down.

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Step 8. Pick a Business Name and Register It

Your business name is your first opportunity to make an impression on potential customers. If the business you choose is different form your name, file an assumed (or fictitious) name certificate with the county. You are notified if another business already has that name, so you can select a new one.

Do this before investing in expensive stationery and brochures. It costs only a few dollars to file, and it protects the business name from being used by someone else in the county.

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Step 9. Write a Business Plan

A good business plan serves as a blueprint for your new business as it helps clarifies your ideas and establishes a plan of action. A good business plan should include a description of what you are selling, your background and qualifications, who the prospective customers are and where they can be found, what is needed to build the business, how you plan to promote, and how much money is need for start-up costs.

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Step 10. Get an Identifying Number

If you are the sole proprietor of the business and have no employees, you may either use your Social Security number or an Employee Identification Number (EIN) as the business number on

official forms. If you have employees, or the business is set up as a partnership or corporation, you must obtain an EIN. To do this, complete IRS Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) and file it with the nearest IRS Center.

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Step 11. Obtain a Sales Tax Permit

If the product or service you sell is taxable, you need a state sales tax permit. Call the local tax agency, explain the type of business you have and what you sell, and ask if you need to collect sales tax. If you do, they will send you the necessary information and forms to complete. You also use this tax number when your purchase items for resale. (Read our detailed article on this topic)

Step 12. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Make sure that you investigate legal requirements thoroughly. It is very important not to overlook any necessary license or permit. Laws regarding licensing and certification are area-specific and usually differ for various kinds of businesses. For example, some cities and counties require a general business license, and most have special laws regarding the preparation and sale of food.

Call City Hall to find out what is needed for your particular business and situation. In addition, you may also wish to check on your local Chamber of Commerce for information on city, county and state licenses and permits.

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Step 13. Create your marketing assets

Select your business cards, stationery, brochures and other marketing materials. Spend time on the color, design and paper for these items. They make a definite impression-good or bad- on the people who receive them. If you are not certain what is most suitable and effective, consult a graphics designer or a creative printer whose work you like.

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 21 Steps to Starting a Home Business  Part 1   |  Part 2   |    Part 3


Isabel Isidro

Isabel Isidro is the co-founder of PowerHomeBiz.com. A mom of three boys, avid vintage postcard collector, frustrated scrapbooker, she also manages Women Home Business, Starting Up Tips and Learning from Big Boys. Connect with her in Google +.

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