Many people express the desire to run their own business at some point. For most, however, it often remains a pipe dream for a variety of reasons, usually financial. Of those who do make the leap, nearly 70 percent are home-based because there are so many work from home opportunities these days. Of the successful home-based businesses 3 years and older, 59 percent continue to be home-based because there are many obvious advantages to this method of operating.
However, just because a business is doing well doesn't mean that it's reaching its full potential. Many entrepreneurs just go so far and then stop just short of bringing it to the next level. Sometimes it's fear of upsetting the apple cart; most times it's just laziness. Presuming that you already have an ongoing business, such as a dropshipping operation, you can probably do much better with a little more effort.
Today, we'll find out how you can make the most of home business opportunities; you might be surprised at the results.
Establish a system
Flying by the seat of your pants may seem exciting, and the rush of pulling off what may have been an impossible feat is incomparable, but it is not sustainable. You need to establish a system for everything that you do, from selecting products or services that you'll be offering to making use of customer information and increasing sales.
Yes, it does mean doing a lot of documentation and research before you can come up with workable and comprehensive systems appropriate to your circumstances. In the long run, however, it will pay off in efficiency and sales. At the very least, having a system will help you avoid problems with the tax man.
With your systems in place, you can streamline operations and make it a simple matter to organize data in order to run your business more efficiently and quickly expand. When this happens, then you'll really need a system to keep up with the ever increasing onslaught of consumer data. It's a self-propagating activity.
For example, if you have a dropshipping business, establishing the parameters for products you'll be selling will narrow down your choices to those that are salable at any particular period to avoid seasonal fluctuations.
Once you've chosen products, a system for listing will get the work done quickly and the fulfillment system will handle processing orders, coordinating with suppliers and customers, tracking deliveries, and documenting sales and expenses. Your system will also need to note which products sell well and what moves slowly.
You can send emails to past customers with offers and promos for similar or related products that they have bought before to move products faster and increase the probability of referrals.
You can use many analytics and marketing tools to help you in establishing this system. Universal Analytics, for example, has dashboard tools that can track and display most of the different data sets we've mentioned above. Mailchimp has automated email delivery that you can apply to certain customers on your list via filters based on parameters such as loyalty or past purchases.
When you begin exploring the possibilities, you'll quickly realize how open your options actually are. Even so, it's important to apply yourself in a regimented manner.
The tendency for many home-based entrepreneurs is to work when they feel like it. While this is one of the perks of a home business, it smacks of a lack of discipline that will eventually manifest in the quality of service.
You should establish a regular schedule for work to keep you focused and in the zone when you need to be, and discourage procrastination. In addition, people you do business with you need to know when you are available and when not bother you during personal time.
You should also choose and furnish a work space where you can conduct business and keep your files. Make it off limits to other household members and let them know that you shouldn't be disturbed when you're in there.
Having a time and place to manage your business gives you a sense of purpose. You will find that you will get more work done and more efficiently, and have less stress overall.
Taking it one day at a time may work when you're trying to quit smoking, but not when you are running a business. Aside from getting day-to-day tasks done, you should also establish long-term goals as well as shorter ones that will get you there.
If you sell on eBay for example, you can improve your exposure and credibility with customers by becoming a Power Seller. That can be the long term goal. Only about 4 percent of eBay sellers ever attain this status. Those that do make the grade enjoy not only the spotlight but also exclusive discounts and perks.
To become a Power Seller, one of the requirements is to generate $1,000 in sales in one month. That can be one short-term goal. Another requirement is to have a minimum of 98 percent positive feedback. Customer satisfaction can be a parallel ongoing goal. After three months, you could be eligible for Power Seller status if you satisfy all of eBay's requirements.
Establish a business identity
Unless you plan to keep your home business a mere side gig, you need to think about your business structure in anticipation of expansion. This can have significant consequences, especially taxation. Most startups keep it simple by registering the business as a sole proprietorship. This is fine; it is easy to upgrade a sole proprietorship to a corporation, but choosing the right type of corporation will determine what tax benefits you can reap.
It isn't really easy to make sense of business and tax laws; you're more likely to make a costly mistake if you try to do it on your own. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in business and taxation in your state to help you establish your business structure, just to be on the safe side. It would also be advisable to have any legal documents drawn up by a professional.
In terms of getting professional help, you should also get an accountant to set when filings should be done and to prepare your tax returns. You don't want to pay any fines or get into any type of tax trouble. At the same time, a tax professional will know of any tax benefits that you may not know about.
A common mistake is failing to plan for the future in terms of their finances. Many entrepreneurs tend to spend as much as they earn; worse, they spend in anticipation of what they will earn. Spending beyond your means is always a bad thing, but it's especially bad for someone who owns their own business.
You need to establish a savings fund that you can use as a fallback in times when you don't do as well. Alternatively, you can use the money you save to buy additional stock, upgrade your equipment, or to otherwise expand your business.
Home business opportunities abound, but the follow-through is much more important. Making the most of your home business depends on extensive planning and preparation. It's a pain in the behind when you're all fired up and feeling euphoric about how well things are going, but it can all come crashing down in a hurry if you don't get organized and plan for contingencies. You need to plan for success; it just doesn't happen by itself.
Do you have any insights you want to share about your own home business experiences? Please do!