How to Run a Successful Business from Home
It’s no secret that America’s small business owners are some of the most motivated individuals. They create innovative products and services, employ half of all private sector workers, and work hard despite economic challenges. However, what some people might not know is that most small-business owners do all of this from the comfort of their own homes. While starting your own business from home may sound like an enticing endeavor, there are a few things to know before jumping in head first. Follow these tips to get you on your way if you want to run a successful business from home:
Determine the Profit Angle
While you may have great talent and skills for something, if people aren’t willing to pay you for that product or service, it simply won’t succeed as a business venture. To determine if your home-based business idea is a good one, ask yourself how much people would be willing to pay for it and if you can make enough money from it to sustain your lifestyle. Take into consideration how much time and money you will have to put into creating your product or service and how many you anticipate selling to determine your average monthly income. If that monthly income is too low, maybe that particular business venture isn’t a great idea. After all, business ultimately comes down to profit, and without it, you’ll never have enough income to pay the bills, let alone increase your wealth.
Create a workspace you feel good in
When starting a business out of your home, it’s important to carefully consider what environment you work best in. Research shows that dedicating a space in your home for work (and only work) is beneficial for your focus, productivity, and health. To maximize productivity, dedicate a permanent workspace in your home to properly separate work and home activities. If you don’t have the capability to transform a whole room into an office, opt to designate a ‘work’ desk or chair where only work activities take place. No matter the size of your space, keeping it organized is crucial for success. If you don’t have the luxury of spreading things out all over an office, keep your space tidy by digitizing as many tools as possible. Or consider trading in your paper version for a digital calendar that sends you notifications in place of a desk calendar to stay organized. Similarly, if you want to set up a business phone line separate from your personal line, choose Voice over Internet Protocol to make calls on your computer rather than buying a new phone and installing a second line. Using these digital options will keep your desk less cluttered and make your daily processes more efficient and transparent to prospective clients.
Make a Business Plan
Once you have your business’ service or product set, you’ll need a business plan. Even if you don’t need to ask for start-up money and plan to finance it yourself, a business plan can serve as a road map to your goals. It can help solidify in your mind your goals, where you’re starting, where you plan to end up and how you can get there. The business plan should be an organized description of:
- what you plan to offer
- what differentiates you from competitors
- how you plan to make money
- where you plan to find customers
- how you plan to deal with problems that arise
While not all issues can be predicted, it’s beneficial to have processes in place to deal with roadblocks if possible. Each of these sections only needs a few sentences that will help you build your foundation before getting caught up in the day-to-day. A clear business plan is a must if you want to run a successful business from home or anyplace else.
Keep finances in mind
When it comes to self-employment, watching your finances is key. After all, a lack of money is one of the top reasons small businesses fail. Ultimately, it’s not about how much money you make, but how much you are able to keep. It’s because of this that keeping overhead costs to a minimum is something to keep in mind. When first starting your business, take a hard look at your current financial status, how much it will take to launch and build the business, and what it will take to start profiting. It’s important to take time to work on your business, including finances, marketing plans, vision and strategy, and processes that will make your business not just successful, but thriving and sustainable. Within all of these sectors, there are things you can do to save money such as using free tools or apps.
Ultimately, for those planning to start a business from home, understand that it takes hard work and that there are no shortcuts. If you go into it knowing that you’ll need to work hard and follow these tips, you’ll have the potential to build a profitable and successful business from home.