If you are considering opening a home based business, it is wise to do a fair amount of research beforehand on what to expect. Knowing whether your business plan would work as a home based venture is only one of the factors to consider. The following are a few questions that you should ask yourself, before taking the plunge.
When starting a home business, select a product or service that you are interested in. If you are passionate about what you are doing, the likelihood of your business becoming a success is substantially increased. As a bonus, you will enjoy yourself everyday, and your new business will not seem like work.
Set up a separate email account for your home business, and stay on top of any email received. You should respond to potential customers right away, and be professional and polite. Email should be checked frequently. If you ignore inquiries about your products or services, customers will seek to purchase from your more attentive competitors.
Once you’ve decided on a product to sell, do your homework and check out your competition. Look at their prices and study the quality of the goods that they are selling. Make sure not to price yourself out of the market, and figure out how to deliver the best value to your customers.
Find an area in your home that is peaceful and quiet, and make this area your designated work station. This should not be an area that already has a purpose, like the kitchen or your bedroom. Keep it private and free from things that will distract you from work.
Keep track of the business miles that you are driving, since the federal government assigns them a monetary value each year that is deductible. Business miles include all miles driven in order for you to be able to conduct business. It is best to keep a ledger in your car, and use it fanatically to log every mile. This will aid you greatly when it comes time to do your taxes.
Use an online credit card acceptance company while you are getting your business off the ground. Propay allows you $1,000 per month of credit card transactions for a low per-transaction price and minimal setup. Paypal and 2Checkout both allow you to accept credit cards on your website with no setup or monthly fees. As your business grows, you can move to a bank-provided merchant account if necessary.
Keep careful track of travel expenses, both on long trips (cost of tickets/gas and food) or for shorter, day-to-day driving. If you keep all of your receipts and deducting whatever you are entitled to write off, your savings will add up; careful record keeping will allow you to make these deductions without opening yourself up to legal trouble.
Once you decide to start a home business you need to get online. It is essential that you choose the right host for your site. The first thing you need to do is figure out what your needs are. Do you want a simple HTML site or do you plan on including features such as a discussion board, a database and ecommerce? Your hosting company must support all of the features you need at a reasonable price.
Before starting a home business take time to learn as much as possible about small businesses. There is a lot of information on this topic. The US Small Business Administration is a great place to start. You can visit them at www.sba.gov. There is a whole section devoted to home business.
You should always make sure your prices are competitive. Look at the websites of competitors and ensure that your prices are not only within range, but comparable for the quality and quantity of product people receive. You can then use this comparison to talk up your product practically on your website and promotional materials.
Beginning your home based business is not as difficult as you may think. You can use business models to run your own business out of the home, which can save you tons of money in overhead expenses. Is your community missing a particular business or service? If so, then provide it!
Follow up with your customers to find out what they think of your products. This will help you improve your business, and you can also use these reviews to create a new section of your website entitled ‘customers’ reviews’. Look for honest opinions and use the best ones on your website.
A great tip for your home business is to decide as soon as possible if you are going to be an online only type of business or if you are going to set up a physical location that customers can visit. This is essential to your entire business plan and must be decided before much else can be done.
Consider getting daycare for your children if you run a home business as it will help you to focus on your business and be a lot more productive. Small children need a ton of attention, so they can become a major distraction to you. Find friends or family who can help you out, or put them in an actual daycare so they can get some early education as well. Even if it’s for 2 or 3 hours a day, you’ll appreciate the break!
Consider everyone you know when trying to find people to give backlinks to your home business website. Any friend, family member, co-worker, or other associate can help you out. For example, ask your church to place a blurb about your company and website in their online newsletter, or ask your home owner’s association to recommend your services on their Resources page, in return to a link back from your site, of course.
Advice from entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes when they looked to start their own home business, can be some of the most important advice you hear before you embark on your own home based business plan. Not all problems can be anticipated, but being as prepared as possible can only be a good thing.