In our previous post, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of running a home-based business. Among its advantages are being your own boss, flexibility in working hours, work-life balance, being closer to your family or kids, low investment capital requirement, unlimited income opportunity, and the fact that it can be started par-time. But these benefits also come with disadvantages, such as the lack of human resources, high discipline requirement, lack of social contact, personal privacy disruption, collision of family and business matters, and unpredictable income.
There may be several cons of starting and managing a home-based business, but inconveniences are inherent in any type of business, whether small or big. And just like any problem, there can always be things that we can do to solve them, or, at least manage them. The following are 15 tips that shall guide aspiring entrepreneurs in starting and operating a home-based business.
1. Be hardworking
Whatever endeavor we have, hard work is always an important element of success. Starting a home-based business will give you the situation where you don’t have enough human resources or employees to help you carryout the different tasks of running a business, such as marketing, accounting, manufacturing, selling, and delivery of your products or services to customers. Thus, you need to invest hard work to accomplish those tasks, especially if you still don’t have the resources to hire employees or outsource other tasks from third parties.
You should understand that startup is one of the hardest stages of doing business. Hence, you should also be hard – be hardworking. Here are some tips on how you can become a hardworking person.
2. Practice discipline
Having your own business and being your own boss will give you more liberty and flexibility in working. You can decide whom to serve and you can also decide when to start working. However, these privileges might be abused, resulting to loss of discipline and eventually business failure. That is why managing a home-based business requires high level of work discipline to carryout successfully.
Your success must begin within yourself. In other words, you business development shall begin from your personal development. You need to establish discipline by overcoming your worst enemy – you. You have to defeat your own indolence, impatience, and other negative qualities. You need to submit yourself to discipline and be a disciple of discipline. Here’s one of our interesting discussion about having a discipline at work.
3. Be fit and healthy
When your business or work is at home, especially when you spend the day sitting at your computer chair, you may end up gaining weight while diminishing body strength and resistance. A good health is a treasure for life. We can use it to perform our business more effectively and efficiently. Since being your own boss can give you the privilege to work with flexible hours, it’s wise to allocate a portion of your daily time to do regular exercise or workout. Further, don’t forget to have a regular and a balanced diet to supplement your goal towards a better and stronger body and brain.
4. Leverage the Internet and social media
A home-based business is considered a small business. But though small, it can still become competitive against its bigger competitors and can even look seemingly big by utilizing the power of the Internet and social media. You can use the following Internet and social media marketing strategies for your home-based business:
a. Creating a website or blog for your business. A website or blog is a good and an affordable investment every small and medium business should consider.
b. Optimizing search engines to target specific audience. Learn how to rank your web pages on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) to gain optimum and targeted Internet exposure for you business.
c. Utilizing a Facebook page to promote your brand. It’s free to create a Facebook business page on the world’s largest social networking site with over 900 million users, so don’t ignore it.
d. Using Twitter to promote your business. Twitter is a very popular and crowded micro social networking site that can be accessed by users on their computers and mobile phones anytime and anywhere.
e. Leveraging other top social media sites to market your business. Utilize other top social networking sites, like Google+, Youtube, Pinterest, Linkedin and FourSquare.
By leveraging the power of the Internet, you can still connect to the world and to your local community online even without going outside of your house. This also means that although you are spending most of your time at home, you will not loss social contacts online.
5. Maintain professionalism
Working from home doesn’t strictly require you to wear formal attire. You can even work with your pajamas if you want and as long as you don’t have clients visiting you regularly. But the issue on professionalism isn’t only limited to what you wear or only symbolizes a formal coat and tie. Professionalism is what you do and what you give to your clients or customers. Although your business is still small and operating from home, it doesn’t mean you should do it without prioritizing quality products and excellent services. Remember that when you enter in the business arena, you are entering a competitive ground. Hence, be professional. Be on time and do your job as you promised.
6. Build customers’ trust and confidence
Don’t be shy of your small and home-based business. But be honored for taking the challenge. Be honest to your customers. Don’t pretend to have a big business if you are actually running a small business. But impress them with the truth that even your business is starting small, you can provide higher quality products and services than your bigger competitors are providing. Besides, small business owners are more approachable than big businessmen. Thus, create a closer and more lasting relationship with them. You don’t need to be a giant corporation to provide outstanding customer service. All you need to do is to give extra time and care.
7. Separate home and business
Because your place of business and residence is sharing the same location, it is probable that your family and business matters collide. Kids running around your workstation, being distracted by television, and noisy neighbors disrupting your work, these are only some of the inconveniences of having your home the place for your business. To minimize these cons, consider the following ways to separate your home and business physically and beyond:
a. Set up a home office or workstation in a separate area from your personal and living room. If you can have a separate room for your business, then it’s better. Also have a separate telephone line for your business.
b. Use your home office for business work only and do not bring your business activities in your living room. Furthermore, wear working attire during your working hours and wear your house dress after business hours.
c. Educate your family about your business. Let them understand its limitations and how they can help you run it successfully.
d. Give enough quality time and moments for your family to balance your time for your business and for your family.
e. Set up separate bank accounts for your business and for your personal use
f. Keep your business records and account your business expenses separately from your personal expenses. This will also facilitate your computation of business expenses that are allowed to deduct from your taxable income.
g. Make your small business legal.
8. Make a plan
Can we start a home-based business without a business plan? Yes, we can. In fact most of home-based business owners don’t spend enough time in creating a strategic plan. That is why if you want your small business to stand out from the crowd… create a strategic business plan! The patience and diligence of a businessman or entrepreneur are pre-tested during this phase of business – planning. If you will fail to come up with a good plan, then you already initially fail your business. Business planning, including marketing planning, will give your business a clearer direction. It will also help you reduce the variability or the uncertainty of your income. So don’t ignore it. Invest time to create it. Here is a guideline for creating a business plan from Entrepreneur.
9. Choose your passion
Achieving success in business requires a lot of hard work, patience and sacrifices. And if you will do it without a great motivation and purpose, you might only end up in a failure. One of the best ways to start a business with a great amount of personal enthusiasm is to choose a business that is aligned to your passion. Don’t start a business just because it is what’s popular or it is where money goes. But start a business because that is what you love and want to do for life. Choose a business that you believe you have the talents, skills, expertise and potentials to excel.
10. Be a good manager
A good management is vital to every business, whether you’re a solopreneur or you’re handling a team of people. In the case of home-based business where you will probably employ some of your family members, good management and leadership skills are required to handle people who are your employees or business partners and at the same time your family members. It is important to balance your business and family affairs so that they wouldn’t become a conflict. To be a good manager, you have to learn how to be strict yet gentle, humble, and free from the greed of money and self-interest. Here are some ways on how you can be a good manager.
11. Understand accounting
Accounting is the language of business. So whether you are starting a small or big business, you have to understand at least the basics of accounting. You may hire an accountant to prepare your financial statements, but still you need to learn how to read and understand them. Thus, if you don’t have any background in accounting, strive to learn this knowledge. You may attend some trainings and seminars to learn accounting even if you are not an accountant.
12. Familiarize with business law and taxation
Legalize your small business. Understand the business and tax laws that are applicable to your industry. Since you are engaging in a business that will make you earn income, you may be required to file and pay your business and income taxes. Before you start your home-based business, you may consult first with a business or tax consultant to understand your business legality and taxability. You may also inquire with the government agencies that may put your business under their regulation or authority.
13. Consider outsourcing services
If you have the money, outsourcing services from outside sources can be a good step for your home-based business. It will allow you to concentrate on your core business activities by delegating other tedious tasks (i.e., accounting, legal matters and Internet marketing) to professionals or experts. You have to choose between giving up your time and spending your money. You may save some bucks by performing most of your business tasks instead of paying other people to do the job, but the question is… will it save your precious time?
Don’t save too much money if you will only spend too much time. For example, if you can work for a day on something that can generate a thousand dollar, then you better delegate or outsource your other tasks to someone whom you can pay a day for a hundred dollar.
14. Stick to your plan
Planning is wise. But without executing and accomplishing it, you plan will only go wasted. Hence, distract all your distractions and achieve focus. As long as you have a great business plan and have justifiable goals, no matter how difficult the challenges you will face, don’t give-up. The phrase “don’t quit” is perhaps one of the simplest and most effective secrets to success. Therefore, be consistent with your strategic plan.
15. Continue learning
Last but not the least, admit that you still need to learn a lot of things, whether it’s about business or about life in its entirety. Business icons, who may have already attained the pinnacle of success in business and entrepreneurship, still continue to learn new things to further develop their companies and themselves. How much more the home-based business owners, who are still aspiring to be recognized in the business world? Therefore, don’t stop reading or googling business information, learn from your business coach or mentor, and listen to your customers.
Operating a home-based business has a number of advantages and disadvantages. But a wise business person knows how to deal with those disadvantages. We may not find all the solutions to all our problems, but we can always find a remedy to all our unsolved problems. Therefore, be bold and start your small business sincerely! Make your home the birth of a future great business.