Home-based businesses are accessible, affordable, and popular. But can they be successful? According to survey data, there are over 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S., and about 20 percent of them earn between $100,000 and $500,000 a year. Here are some tips to help your home-based business land in the success category.
Take Your Space Seriously
Although you’re working from home, the kitchen table or the couch is probably not the best location. Most importantly, you’ll need a space to work where you won’t be distracted by children, family members, or household chores that are waiting for your attention. Set-up your office in a separate room where you can close the door and shut out all distractions. If that’s not possible, choose a secluded corner and put up a room divider to give you a semblance of privacy. Make sure you have a comfortable office chair and your work surface and lighting are suitable for long periods of work.
Spend Money on What the Client Sees
While ergonomics are important, it’s best not to spend on status furnishings at first. Avoid the temptation to buy a new suite of office furniture, an expensive rug, or designer window treatments unless clients will be meeting you in your home office. Most home-based offices are only seen by the entrepreneur, and overspending on furniture will put you in the red before you even begin. It’s much better to spend on the aspects of your business that the clients will see, like your stationery, business cards, and website.
All entrepreneurship requires tremendous self-discipline, but home-based workers face extra challenges. It’s convenient to be able to wander out of your office during work hours to throw in a load of laundry or start dinner. But it’s also easy to turn on the TV during your lunch break and never go back to work or to pick up the kids from school and end your workday early instead of heading back to your desk. To be successful, you’ll need to build good habits early and maintain them meticulously.
Train in Business as Well as in Your Field
Many people start businesses because they are great at a particular skill, like accounting or architecture, but they ultimately fail because they lack business skills. Being a business owner is a lot of work, and you have to be prepared for it. In addition to your own skills, you’ll need to handle marketing, bookkeeping, customer service, legal requirements in your field, and a variety of other aspects of the business on your own.
You can get the training you need by reading business websites like Inc and Entrepreneur, or by taking classes through your local college. Larger business entities like Amway offer great business training for entrepreneurs who will be associated with them.
Become a Marketing Expert
Marketing is the most important skill for a new business owner to master. Oftentimes people start a business and assume that customers will flock to them if they’re good at what they do. Once you’ve made your first few sales to friends and family, how will you reach out to new customers? Do you know exactly who your customers are, why they buy, and where they’re most likely to learn about your business? Thorough research and a comprehensive marketing plan will be vital to your success.
Price for Profit
Pricing is also very important. You may be tempted to offer low prices at first in order to be competitive, but if you haven’t been meticulous about calculating the cost of each sale, you could lose money every time you get a customer to say yes. If you’re not sure how to set prices, meet with an accountant before you begin your venture.
A home office is the most affordable place to begin your new business. With discipline, good marketing, and a solid pricing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to success before you even begin.
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