Over the last couple of years, home-based businesses have become a very popular way for people of different profiles and backgrounds to finally take ownership over their careers and become self-employed. Eliminating some of the obstacles that are associated with startups (e.g. high startup costs), they have seen a rapid rate of development with one new home business starting every two seconds in the United States.
As you would expect, though, not everything is milk and honey and home business are not devoid of some growing pains. Here are a couple of things you should do to pass these roadblocks and set your business on a solid foundation.
Research the market
This is the absolute first step you need to take before you throw yourself into a venture that can cost you a lot of money, time and effort. The most important things you need to find out are the presence of competition, the demand for the product or service you want to push, and finally, the purchasing power of the local population. Since you are probably going to operate in a small local market, most of these things can be learned as you go. Still, there are more than enough free online resources that can help you along the way.
Write a business plan
Operating on a smaller scale doesn’t mean you don’t need to have a comprehensive written plan that will cover some of the company’s most important issues. Generally speaking, business plans can be divided into three large sections:
- Marketing plan – The portion of the document where you will write the concrete methods you are going to use to reach out to clients.
- Financial plan – The part that analyzes various financial aspects of your business (pricing model, maintenance costs, income sources, etc.) and tries to determine if your company is able to reach the breakeven point.
- Long–term analysis – This is the place where you’ll consider your business’s mission statement, long-term goals, and revenue projections.
Stockpile enough material
People often take small things such as office supplies for granted. Only when they see the first spike in operations do they see their supplies dwindle, and then they need to halt everything they’re doing in order to restock. Don’t make this kind of mistake. Websites such as Winc online are filled with office items you’ll need sooner rather than later, so be sure to supply your company properly. The same goes for the rest of the materials you are going to use for daily operations that are more business-specific.
Learn the legalities of the business world
This goes way beyond applying for various permits you need to apply for before you even legally register your business. Some of the topics you’ll need to research are the different types of insurance, retirement plans, the legal implications of contractual obligations, how the outsourcing contracts are made (pay special attention if you are going to outsource abroad), and many things more. If you want to make sure you haven’t missed something important, ask for help from a fellow home business owner or even a legal advisor.
Set up a separate bank account
Mixing your personal and business finances is highly discouraged, to say the least. One of the best ways to draw the fine line of separation between these two worlds is to open up a dedicated bank account. Some of the basic steps you should follow are:
- Determine what accounts you’ll need (income, payroll, credit card merchant account, etc.)
- Choose the bank based on the requirement list set up around your business’s needs
- Register your business name with the US Patent and Trademark Office
- Assemble the necessary paperwork (ID number, social security number, etc.)
Build yourself an online presence
No matter how scaled-down your company is going to be, doing any kind of business without a solid online presence in 2019 is virtually impossible. And what do we mean by a solid online presence? Well, you should at least make sure to build a functional website and create profiles on all relevant social media platforms. These channels will later be used for day-to-day communication with your clients as well as a launching pad for your marketing efforts, so be sure to do them justice.
We hope these seven tasks gave you a perspective of some of the important tasks you need to cross off your to-do list before you finally declare your business open. Of course, every one of them can be broken down into smaller chunks and we highly encourage you to further explore each of these topics. But, don’t think for a second you are ready to leave your current job and make a leap of faith if you’ve left some of them unchecked.