There are a number of goals you can make when starting a home business or small business, but only a few actually make a difference. Follow these steps and revisit them every year, perhaps on your start-up anniversary.
Starting a home-based business involves planning, key financial decisions, and a series of legal steps. The 10 easy steps below can help you plan, prepare, and launch your business. Click on the links to learn more from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Don’t forget to consider a business name and verify if the name is already in use. Chose a short, catchy, memorable name that sounds good and is easily marketed and branded. A tag line or catch-phrase for your business is important too. Do it once, do it right, never do it again.
Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws. Home-based business owners are subject to many of the laws and regulations that apply to other business owners. These include: traffic, noise, changes in physical appearance, and nature of the business.
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started. Other sources include using part of a retirement plan, crowd funding, personal savings, and friends and family.
I've seen one or two deals that offer systems to get rich quick. Too many of these are on the web. It sounds enticing. Work two hours a week from home, and soon you'll earn a few thousand dollars a month until you can quit your day job.
I'm all for getting rich quick. I'm also all for getting rich slowly.
From previous posts, you’ve learned that starting a home business is not expensive, competition is easy to research, and help is available from many sources. But what about revenue? I need to make money too! In this post, we provide a simple way of roughly calculating what your income needs are and compare them to expenses. Thanks to Jeff Williams of bizstarters.com for providing the general calculation example.
1) As with any budget, the first step is to write down minimal personal income needs. Take this figure and multiply it by 1.5 to cover taxes, expense, and the unexpected. A great free source for budgeting and related tools is http://www.mint.com.
2) The next step is to figure out how much money is gained per sale of product or hourly fees from consulting. This exercise requires personal experience, market research, and contact with industry peers and colleagues in similar positions. Search engines such as Google and Bing are great resources for general wage or sales ranges.
3) Take the above amount per sale and divide it in half to account for taxes, benefits, and any other miscellaneous expenses related to receivables. The extra expenses might include travel costs, subcontractors or technology.
Compare #1 above to #s 2 and 3. This will provide a rough estimate of how many sales are required – or consulting hours worked – to determine if the business idea is practical.
A Simple Consulting Example:
Monthly Expenses: $2000 (personal and business)
Multiply by 1.5: $3000 (ongoing total monthly cost)
Consulting Fees: $100/hour (we will use 30 hours per week)
Total consulting: $3000/week
Divide by 2: $ 1500/week or $6000/month (income after taxes)
= $6000 (income) – $3000 (expenses) or $3000/month after taxes and expenses to live on. Is this doable for you? It certainly can be for many!
We assume many numbers here, expenses, income, number of hours worked, etc. Each situation, position, and individual is unique. Run your own set of numbers to determine if self-employment is feasible. This rough estimate is also useful for part-time work. If a “regular job” covers living expenses and a desire exists to supplement income, use only business expenses in step 1. You may determine that an extra $200 per week is adequate for a nice safety cushion or extra toward retirement income.
Remember too, that benefits – medical, dental, IRA – are not included in this basic calculation. You might consider a part-time job with benefits in addition to the business you are planning!
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not represent itself as a professional finance or accounting entity. The numbers and examples provided above are for illustrative purposes only. Actual figures may vary significantly and research for each situation should be performed in all cases. Homepreneurs accepts no liability, assumed or otherwise, for statements made above.
Pop-up shops are temporary businesses that set up shop, sell their services and then ship out. From your summertime lemonade stand to a brick-and-mortar bakeshop, pop-up shops come in all shapes and sizes. Here is a guide to starting a pop-up shop — however big or small. A good resource for pop-up stores is popupinsider.
Plan your concept
Since pop-up shops only have a limited time to generate a customer base, you need an extra effort to help your store stand out. After all, a pop-up shop is an event, so you should make people excited for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. This does not mean you have to turn your shop into an amusement park. Simply choose a central and unified concept, such as holiday crafts or environmental sustainability. This will keep you focused when planning decorations, inventory and marketing.
Melissa Gonzalez, the founder of Lion’esque Media, which specializes in helping clients open and market pop-up businesses, says when it comes to a concept, ask yourself what story you want to tell in the shop. “What is the lifestyle message of the brand?” asks Gonzalez.
Consider your shop’s purpose
Depending on the purpose of your pop-up shop, you may already have a concept in mind. If you want to start a pop-up shop to sell remaining inventory, you might even be able to design a concept around the items. Some businesses open pop-up shops to try out a new idea or test a neighborhood’s demand for a particular product. In this case, the concept may already have germinated inside the pop-up shop’s purpose. Inspiration can strike any number of ways, and the important part is having a strong, cohesive plan–much like a mini business plan.
You may already have inventory to sell, or you might need to start completely from scratch. Whatever your situation, gathering and organizing your stock will take a good deal of legwork. The amount of stock you will need depends on the size of your retail space and the length of time you will be in that pop-up shop. Remember that you might be in a small space for a short time, so anticipate moving inventory and supplies in and out of your space.
Rent a space
Pop-up shops generally appear in spaces that would otherwise be vacant, such as a store that is in between a lease. When considering a space to rent, make sure all of your business needs are met. For example, if you wish to open a pop-up bakery, you may need a refrigerator on the premises. As with any business, location is a central feature of a successful pop-up shop. Try choosing a place with a lot of foot traffic. Shopping centers often have transitioning shops that are temporarily empty, or you can seek out a store front on a main street. If you intend to start a private pop-up shop for exclusive customers, you should opt for a more discreet location.
Consider your neighborhood carefully, as you may find yourself deciding to stay for the long-run. “You have more leverage if you could become a potential long term tenant,” Gonzalez says.
Spread the word
Start marketing for your pop-up shop before it even opens. Drum up excitement for the store. Gonzalez recommends having a wine and snack sponsor, hosting a VIP blogger night or having a charity event.
You can also use social media to heighten the excitement by creating a Facebook event, starting a Twitter account or giving people discounts for signing in on Foursquare. Maybe use your local newspaper, fliers or a newsletter. When you do open, have business cards ready so happy customers know where to direct their friends.