Many people dream of starting a home business. The promise of flexibility and a very short commute holds great appeal—especially in contrast to the rat race of corporate America. As great as it sounds, though, there are some drawbacks. For one, turning a profit can be a challenge—especially if you lack organizational skills and self-discipline. To help you avoid the pitfalls and succeed with a home business, we’ve put together a list of six tips.
Get Off Your Hiney
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” – Tony Robbins
Being comfortable in the workplace can yield complacency, so if you want a successful home business, you have to get off your hiney and do some work. No excuses.
Hit the pavement and network, network, network. Look for other local companies and consider pairing up your goods or services to benefit each other. If you lack certain management skills, enroll at a local community college and take courses in management, organization, accounting software, or bookkeeping. Research and refine your marketing techniques, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new outreach.
“It’s a lot harder to get someone OUT of your life than it is to let them IN, so please…be selective.” – Mandy Hale
As a business owner and entrepreneur, you have an incredible amount of control over who you let in and out of your company, but you need to learn how to be selective. You may feel pressure from friends, family, or former coworkers to grant special favors or offer employment, but this is the time to be discriminating.
Carefully weigh out a person’s qualifications before making any offers of employment, and don’t add inventory or services just because your grandma wants you to. It might not make you popular in the short term, but being selective will help you keep your business focused and on track.
Keep Customers in Mind
“There is only one boss. The customer – and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
Your customers are the lifeblood of your company, and you need to take care of them. Some research shows that it is seven times more expensive to find a new customer than to retain an existing one, so keeping your current customers happy should be your top priority.
Start by being dependable and delivering on your promises. Don’t skirt the issues, and take the time to actually communicate with your customers. Reward loyalty through discount codes, customer appreciation days, or even punch cards. Take the time to ask for and respond to customer reviews, and seek to do everything in your power to keep your customers happy with your product or service.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee
Getting distracted can wreak havoc on your dreams of a successful home-based business. If you want to be successful, you need to focus, focus, focus! Start by setting aside a special place in your home to use as your office, and invest in high-quality tools right off the bat. It’s hard to focus on your company when your living room is cluttered with stacks of business paperwork, and your equipment is subpar. Also, develop a business plan and stick to it. That said, you should realize that it is a living document and you are allowed to make changes to it. But remember that even a heavily edited plan is far superior to no plan at all.
Do Your Research
“Research is creating new knowledge.” – Neil Armstrong
As you’re working to improve your company, you need to take the time to do your research. To start with, be sure that your home is appropriately set up to run a home-based business. Depending on the kind of business you operate, you may need to research local zoning laws. Keep in mind that your neighbors may get upset if there are a lot of clients coming to your home. Also, remember that a successful online business is only as good as its internet connection so make sure you have arranged for this in advance. Also remember that positive family relationships will have a bearing on your ability to work effectively from home, so make sure that your work habits aren’t infringing on the other members of your family.
Research will also come in handy when it comes to deciding what to delegate. Calculate how much your product is worth and how much you are worth. If your time is worth a lot more than what you can sell your product for, consider hiring some part-time help to do the non-essential tasks. That way, you’ll be free to focus on the things only you can do.
And of course, you should monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing well and how they can improve. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so if you see things that are working for someone else, strive to incorporate these approaches into your own business.
Rethink Your Advertising
“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” – David Ogilvy
Many home-based businesses don’t have a lot of extra funds to spend on expensive marketing campaigns, but luckily, you don’t need a boatload of cash to be successful. By thinking outside the marketing box, you can gain exposure without shelling out a lot of extra money. Here are some inexpensive ways to add some punch to your current marketing campaign
- Create and maintain an attractive website. Write informative blog posts to help educate your clientele while building relationships of trust.
- Partner up with other local businesses to create bundled deals for loyal customers.
- Offer classes in your field through the local Chamber of Commerce, community groups, and library.
- Maintain an active social media presence, and don’t be afraid to try new platforms.
- Use magnetic advertising on your current vehicle.
- Offer discounts (wholesale, punch cards) to loyal customers.
If you’re tired of spending hours idling in traffic or dealing with rigid work hours and lack of autonomy, a home-based business may be for you. While not everyone can succeed because being an entrepreneur is not easy, you can be one of the success stories if you approach your venture with adequate preparation, discipline, and ingenuity.