Homepreneurs was very fortunate to be interviewed on Unity FM radio today by Karyn Pettigrew for her program, Beyond Blind Spots. The program’s topic: The Joys and Pitfalls of Homepreneurship is one very familiar to Homepreneurs and its readers. Briefly, we discussed the trend toward home business, options for entrepreneurs, and the relatively low-cost of starting a basic home business. We also covered some tips that I feel every small or home business owner should know before starting. The audio interview is available for download to iTunes or in Interview – MP3 Format. A summary of the tips discussed is below.
1) Emphasis on Planning
– Research the product. The basic premise of a business: does the business idea solve an existing problem or provide additional value to an existing solution?
– The market niche. Is the product or service viable in your geographic area? If a service, do you have enough potential clients to turn a profit?
– Competition. Who and where is your competition? What can your offering provide that is better than your competitors? How will you provide value that someone else isn’t?
– Start up Cost. A home business can be started with a cell phone, email address, and home computer. Even a home computer is not absolutely necessary; use the local library or community college computers if needed. Business cards are free through Vista Print. Social networking – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – are wonderful public relation tools. All are free.
– Simple Business Plan. A one page document for a basic home business is probably enough for starters. A business plan will keep you focused on the product or service you are selling. Remember, that a plan is a living, breathing document that should change if conditions warrant. If you intend to take a loan out, the lender will likely want a formalized document.
2) Professional Business Team. Every good business needs a team to be successful. Some of the team members may include:
– Lawyer to help with contracts, business structure, legal agreements, litigation
– Accountant to provide tips on taxes, deductions, IRS issues
– Mentors to answer questions, provide guidance, and give feedback. Good sources are SCORE, SBA, and industry peers.
– Clients! Your customers are often the best resources available. Their buying habits, verbal feedback, and requests for product options will tell you more than any questionnaire or survey.
3) Consider starting a business part-time first.
– Is running a business the best idea for you? Do you have the interest and aptitude?
– Test market your product and/or service and find out if people want to buy it!
– Determine income potential at this time. Full-time business probably won’t turn a profit for 7-12 months. Do you have the savings needed to cover expenses for this time?
– Work a part time job with benefits while working on your business part-time. Best of both worlds: chase your dream but still have health insurance and retirement benefits.
– By Dion D Shaw
Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.