From Idea to Ideal The Home Business Groundwork. Increasingly more and more people are earning money from home. Some are small enterprises, others are freelancers. All of them started somewhere. The idea tends to begin to sprout after a chat with a friend who is a freelancer, or from wishing that they could spend more time at home with their family. Unsurprisingly a considerable amount of the modern-day startups are from women who have young children. Finding themselves with a few spare hours between feed or school runs, what once might’ve been a hobby, suddenly becomes a fully-fledged business. The hard work starts early in the process, and it is easy to get a little lost with what you are doing. So here are some top-class tips about how to get your idea to a business.
You’ve had an idea for a while now, and you have rolled it around your mind for what feels like forever. It is time to assess your talents. Will your strongest personality traits be beneficial to the business that you intend to open? Are you a creative person, who perhaps wants to open a jewelry-making store online? A gift for communication and want to take on some local companies’ social media? Whatever your talents are, are going to be the thing that drives your business. If you haven’t been self-employed before then, you are going to want to do a little bit of a SWOT analysis on yourself. You will need to know your own weak points too. For example, if there is a lot of travel involved, but you have issues with timekeeping, then perhaps you need to make some adjustments. Think of your skills and talents as the foundation of your new venture.
If you don’t feel like your current skill set is there yet, then you have two main options – you can look for a course to teach you the skills and/or qualifications, or you could gather some materials, pop open YouTube, and start educating yourself.
Once you have married your business idea and your skills, you are going to start to write things down. Where will your business be based? How much do you project you’re going to earn in the first year? How much are your materials? What are your other running costs? Do you need start-up capital? Would you be able to get some? If you might have an issue with a standard business bank loan, then consider an OnlineCash4Payday® | Fast cash advance loans with quick deposit. Are there going to be other people working with you? Start to write everything down. You might like to head to Google and find yourself an excellent business plan template, fill it in and keep it. This will be your reference as you go and something to look back on in later years.
Choose your legal structure and get yourself incorporated and registered with any legal bodies required. You might choose to go as a Sole Proprietorship, which has zero protection for you in most cases, or you may opt for a Limited Liability Company (not great if you are seeking funding), or maybe even a C Corporation which might cost a fair amount to for but comes with some perks like protection from personal liability. Do some research and seek legal advice to get this bit right for your business.
Open a bank account with the sole purpose of running your business from it. Ideally, you should be opening a business bank account, to ensure that your personal and business expenses stay as separate as possible. For the time being, you might like to open the most simple of bank accounts, and you are unlikely to need any credit facilities or perks till you have been trading for a little while. The bottom line for choosing what suits you should be – what are the services, what are the fees and does it have easy online access and perhaps even a mobile banking app? You can change your account when and if you need to later down the line.
Research, research, and did we mention research? The target market is something that you are going to be very clear on. What is your product and who is it for? What problem does it solve for them? If it doesn’t solve a problem, why do they want it? When it comes to defining your target market, you need to factor in the following:
- Family Size
- Purchase Habits
Begin to build a customer profile. So when you do start running adverts or pushing out content, your wording and content need to speak directly to them. By the end of this process, you should be able to state with confidence that your target market is (for example): Middle-aged family women, ages 25-45, who frequently purchase XYZ, because they like the smell/price/texture, you will know how you market to them and their preferred channels.
While it would be wonderful to start a business and leave your current job, often it isn’t possible. With kids, a home, and bills that need to be taken care of, you’re probably going to need to run both simultaneously. Make sure there is nothing in your contract that prevents this, and be sure you’ve checked any impact it makes on your taxes. Ideally, you should aim to earn 60-70% of your employed monthly wage before you leave and do your home business full time.
Be big on DIY. You know that you’re going to need an online presence, and are super tempted to hire other freelancers to do it for you. Don’t. Right now, you don’t want to plow your personal cash into the business if you don’t have to. Much like the skills above, you can, spend a few hours on the internet and learn a few new ones. Social media is going to be a big part of your business, so don’t discard it as too complicated. There is no harm in making use of month-long trials as long as you remember to cancel them. For managing your tie and social media, you should take a look at things like Buffer, MissingLtr, Social Oomph, and Hootsuite. They help you build campaigns. You can curate content from your own business and other points of interest around the web. When it comes to your website, be clear on what you need. Wix is a great drag and drop option, and WordPress is very easy and has excellent wizard functions to walk you through everything. It is a great idea to get to grips with a basic accounting package too. The more you can do yourself, the more profit you can retain until such a point that you‘re going to need to hire a professional.
You know the competition. It is very rare that you can create a business with no competition at all. Sun Tzu wasn’t wrong when he said: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” And while that maybe wasn’t intended for a new crochet hat business, it still makes sense. You need to know which companies operate around you, or if they aren’t local, where are based, and why people buy from them. It is pretty easy to gather information about your competition:
- Google Them
- Go to their place of business and buy something – to see how they treat their customers (not to dupe them into anything)
- Use social media and see what people say about them
Pick a dedicated space in your home to work. The lines between work and personal get muddy very quickly when you work from home. Keep your mind focused and your time for work and play as separate as can be. Or, before you know it, you’ll be working from your bed on a laptop into the early hours of the morning – and that is probably not the reason you wanted to start something up for yourself, is it?
Test the waters. Once you have everything set up, use your social media (and your friends and family) to talk about a limited run you are doing of your product. Or, if you are selling consultant time, that you have a few slots open at half price for a short while. While it might be tempting to hit the ground running, you might just price yourself out of the market and burn out. Pricing for a startup is a dangerous thing so your market research, competitor research combined with the test will give you the best price point to work with. All too often business new to the market undervalue their product and have trouble increasing their price later on – avoid that trap. There is no harm in offering a few free products or taking on a free project just to test the waters. It is all about gaining experience, and the feedback will be beneficial to you.
Have fun. It is far too easy to get lost in the details and miss out on all the fun you can have running your own business.