9 Important Steps to Start a Home-Based Business
With your home serving as a launchpad for your business, it is quite easy to give in to procrastinatintg on the planning part and jumping into getting things started. However, this might turn out to be a costly mistake at a later stage. While you have waited all this while to get into a venture, it is only wise to allow yourself some time to fully develop the idea and map out the plan before launching the business. Here are some significant steps to consider.
1. Shortlist the Business Ideas and Zero-in on One
Take time to evaluate various business options, toy with the idea of a couple of them, and then finalize one to work on. The major factors influencing your decision would be your interests, experience, education, skills, capital requirements, budget and risk-taking capacity.
2. Define Your Target Market/Audience
Once the business line is crystallized, the next major step is to define the target audience. The target audience is the people you are aiming to cater to through your business. For better clarity, picture an ideal customer persona, their profile and preferences, and what they would seek from your offerings.
3. Know Your Competition
Create a list of the businesses you will be competing with directly as well as indirectly. Invest time to research the strong and weak points of each of your competitors and keep taking notes. During this process, you might stumble upon some ideas that are worth applying to your venture.
4. Identify Your Business’ Sweet Spot
After you are equipped with all the necessary information about your competitors, it's time to think about what differentiates your product/service from others-this is your unique selling proposition (USP). What is the one thing about your offering that will provide you a competitive advantage.
5. Weigh up Your Skills and Hire Hands, If Necessary
Running a business will require a million things to be done. You would like to do the things that align with your skills and hire people for other tasks. This allows you to keep focused and avoids slowing down the results. E.g. In the case of a restaurant, you might want to hire people for delivery instead of using your time.
6. Figure Out the Financials and Build Infrastructure
Your home business will require some capital and infrastructure to get started. Make sure your estimates are realistic and your sources of funding are sorted. You could invest all by yourself, have a partner, ask for help from friends and family, or go for a business loan. Once this is figured out, invest in the basic things you will need to begin. Get a work station. Dedicate a part of your house and spruce it up to a home office. If your business requires major modifications to space, get that started. E.g. child-proof your house if you are to offer daycare facility.
7. Taking Care of the Name and Legalities
Choose a name for your business. This will be the identity of your venture and will form a part of all major documents like brochures, sales collaterals, quotes, invoices, etc.
Have your business filed as suitable legal vehicle and ensure that all the requirements are in place and compliance is adhered to. Seeking expert legal advice is strongly recommended for this purpose.
8. Get your Product/Service Reviewed
It would be a good idea to get your product/service reviewed in terms of quality, quantity, price, etc. by a sample of your target audience and polish your offering before the commercial launch. It could also involve a quick review from neighbors, friends, and family.
9. Announce the Opening and Engage in Marketing
Choose the right platforms not to just announce the opening but also to market your business. Ensure to propagate on mediums that your target audience is likely to use – press releases, flyers, social media, or a radio announcement. Request family, friends, and associates to spread the word. Build a web presence to make information about your new business accessible. Create social media pages using your business name and keep them regularly updated.
Starting a home business can be an overwhelming and rewarding experience with its share of issues, frustrations, and unforeseen situations. The whole idea is to ‘Start Small and Think Big’. Plug as many holes as possible, be ready for surprises, and find your feet as your business grows step by step.