Many people dream of starting and owning a work from home business. Unfortunately, for most, it remains nothing but a dream. Even for some who actually get to the open-for-business stage, the reality of being a business owner quickly becomes overwhelming. There just seems to be so much to do in order to have a successful work from home business plan.
From their first days as a scout, Boy Scouts are taught the importance of the 5 P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. That simple strategy also holds true for anyone thinking of starting a small business. Proper planning is key, not only to getting the business off to a good start, but also in keeping the business going beyond the first few months.
If you are considering starting a work from home business, there are several steps you can take to help ensure your success:
Self-evaluation is often overlooked, self-evaluation is critical to the success of any business. Are you a leader? A self-starter? Consider how much you know about your prospective business area, and how much you still need to learn. Think about whether you are willing to spend the amount of time necessary for operating the type of business you are thinking of, and whether you are willing to make sacrifices until the money starts rolling in, however long that may take.
Be sure that you complete market evaluation. Take the time to evaluate the market potential of your work from home business. If you are thinking of opening a screen-printing business, for example, check the local phone directory and the Internet for similar businesses. If you have several competitors, then simply hanging your sign is not going to be enough to ensure the success of your business. If you have a unique idea, consider the need for your product or services. If you specialize in gift baskets for women who love tulips, you will have fewer competitors than if you carry gifts for gardeners, but you will also have fewer customers. You need to have customers, as well as the potential for repeat business, if you’re going to be successful.
Financial evaluation is extremely important. Take a long, hard look at your finances. Do you have enough money to start a small business and keep it going for six months to a year? If not, make a list of friends or relatives who might consider loaning you money or going into business with you. Check with your bank and your local Small Business Administration to find out whether financial assistance will be available to you. If your work from home business is going to include physical products you have to evaluate whether shipping costs will be worth it.
Every business requires paperwork. A formal written business plan will be required by any potential lender. Different types of businesses require different types of licenses. Taxes must be filed and paid. Hiring employees carries another set of paperwork with regards to withholdings and worker’s compensation. Financial records are essential. If you do not have any bookkeeping skills, consider getting a bookkeeping program for your computer.
Owning and operating a work from home business is not always an easy job, but it does not have to be painful. Taking the time to plan properly before opening day will help you make your dreams a reality.
Oscar Salcedo writes on a variety of subjects.