6 Steps to Starting a Lucrative Home-Based Business

Running a home-based business is the opportunity to work comfortably doing something you enjoy. As your own boss, you set the hours, make the rules, and keep all the profits. You can even make time to spend with the kids. That is why more and more people are considering starting a home business.

However, when starting any type of business, you have to prepare thoroughly: make a business plan, find investors and potential clients, appropriate workspace etc. A home-based business is no different – besides the workspace part, you’ve got that taken care of. In order to make it a successful one, there are steps you need to take before the opening day.

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Make a Wise Decision

There’s a difference between talents and skills. Talents are traits, like creativity. Skills are things you learn, such as coding apps or building fireplaces. It’s the combination of the two that translates to a business.

Use your skills as business ideas, but eliminate anything that’s wrong for your lifestyle, such as spot-welding in the living room. You can also disregard your corporate skills like “office manager” if you’re planning to work on your own.

You will need talents like initiative, innovation, discipline, and a sense of organization. If you can’t work efficiently and overcome obstacles, you won’t be in business for long.

Find the business concept that best fits your abilities. Whatever choice you make, it should be something you feel passionate about: you’ll have to invest a lot of time and energy into making your business a lucrative one, make sure you enjoy that time.

2. Legalize It

While you may have new-found freedom in your work, federal, state, and local authorities still require accountability. Find out what your business requires for proper licenses and permits.

Inquire about your tax obligations. As a sole proprietor, you’re responsible for your company’s taxes and debts. Compliance with tax law, licenses, insurance, and federal or state regulations can be complex. It’s always a good idea to consult with a business attorney to find the right solution for your business model and goals.

3. Set up the Office

Before setting up the home office, check if local ordinances allow you to conduct your business from home. Then, as you start planning, consider the surroundings. If you’ll meet clients there, both you and your house need to make a good impression: wearing clean clothes isn’t enough when you work at home. Your property must be well-maintained, clean and comfortable. A neat workspace tells clients that you will also take care of their business in an organized and dedicated way.

Even if your business is conducted mainly online, you’ll want a dedicated spot to work in. A separate room is best for minimizing distractions. If you don’t have one, set aside ample space in the living room, bedroom, or kitchen. You have to set boundaries with your family members to avoid distractions. A physical barrier is the easiest way to achieve that – if you don’t see each other, it will be easier to resist the need to hang out. In a separate room, you can be completely dedicated to work during working hours and give all your attention to your family when you close the office door.

4. Mind the Security

Don’t assume that homeowner’s insurance is enough to cover your business assets. You may need a separate policy rider for designated business assets.

To secure these assets, consider burglar alarms and surveillance cameras. You should always have a home-wired smoke alarm and fire extinguisher in your office. If you’re expecting to receive packages, a post office box might be a better idea to reduce the risk of theft.

Digital security measures should include firewalls, anti-malware, encrypted messaging and data storage, and strong passwords. Be sure to back up critical data regularly to devices like external hard drives or flash drives in the event of power outages or computer viruses.

5. Get Acquainted with Technology

In addition to security, you should become familiar with business technologies. Every task you can automate or streamline improves productivity. For example, stick to digital documents rather than paper ones to reduce office expenses, wasted effort, and clutter.

An effective technical strategy might include cloud services, business software and apps. You’ll find free online storage, but you can also invest in affordable paid apps that provide more features. Expense-tracking apps will help you keep organized records. Some include features like identity theft protection and data breach alerts.

You should also have a company website that serves your customers 24/7. Take the time to find the web hosting, site layout, and content that works best with your brand and your market. Consider using apps to track your social media efforts so you can determine which platforms and posts are working best for you.

Take advantage of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) solutions as a cheaper, higher-quality alternative to traditional phone exchanges. You should be able to add useful features like video chat, audio recordings, and automated menus to improve customer interaction.

6. Develop a Work-at-Home Attitude

In some ways running your own business is harder than working for someone else. It takes self-discipline. For instance, it’s harder to get up and start work each morning when you always have the option of sleeping late.

Regard running your home business as you would working for another company. Try to keep to a productive work schedule and ask family and friends to respect it. Establish priorities and keep a daily to-do list. But allow yourself some time to unwind or your stress levels will keep climbing.

In conclusion, a home-based business could be a great opportunity. Just be sure you have the right business idea to suit your particular skills and talents. It’s important that you can stay motivated and be productive. While there are a lot of elements required to start and manage a business, working profitably from home is possible through thoughtful planning and developing good work habits.

 

Author Bio:

michelle_lauryMichelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.

Knowing What’s What When It Comes to Taking on Employees

As your business expands and demand for your products and services increases, you may find that you struggle to keep up with the entire workload on your own. This is when you’re going to have to consider taking on full-time staff of your own. You’ve likely worked hand in hand with self-employed individuals for one-off jobs, such as web design or marketing, but having employees is a whole different matter. So, before scouting for staff or taking on workers, here are a few things you should make sure you’re well aware of and up-to-date with to ensure that you and your staff have the best working relationship possible.

Employment Discrimination

When it comes to the workplace, the same as any other situation in life, you need to ensure that you are as inclusive as possible. Nobody should be discriminated against during the application process or their time of employment with you. Bear in mind that all people are entitled to full and equal employment opportunities regardless of their: age, ancestry, colour, disability, domestic or sexual violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, retaliation, sex, or sexual orientation. For more information on this (especially concerning disabling conditions or issues), contact a reliable, professional lawyer, such as David Chermol. Nobody should be denied a job or promotion outright on the basis of any of these aspects of their identity. All workers should be employed on equal terms with nobody receiving preferential treatment or favourable employment terms.

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Pay

All of your workers have the right to be paid for all of the work that they do. This goes without saying. However, there are a few more details that you need to bear in mind. They also require at least $7.25 for every hour that they work. While your staff will have contracted hours, you may find that you need some members to work overtime: this is any work that exceeds forty hours a week. Any overtime entitles staff members to one and a half times their standard pay (after all, they’re doing you a favour by taking on extra work). You cannot deduct anything from any worker’s pay for any reason other than legal deductions such as deductions for health insurance, union dues, and taxes.

Family and Medical Leave

 If your business has more than fifty employees and an employee has worked for you for at least twelve months and has completed 1250 hours of work for your company, they can take up to twelve weeks off each year for the purposes of maternity or paternity leave, to care for a spouse or parent with a serious medical condition, or for personal health reasons. This doesn’t have to be paid. They should give you thirty days notice of their need to take leave if possible. However if the problem is sudden, they should just let you know as soon as possible.

Bearing this information in mind will ensure that your employees have a satisfying job role and that you uphold their worker’s rights.

How to Encourage Impulse Purchases in Your Store

Before your customers decide to make a purchase, there are several phases they go through. It starts with becoming aware of a need or pain point, how your product satisfies it, and assessing information for making comparisons of value such as price or perks that impact the decision-making process.

Impulse purchases, however, are not so involved. Here you’ll find some tips on how to encourage impulse buying in both online and offline stores.

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#1 – PHYSICAL STORE LAYOUT vs. ECOMMERCE WEBSITE DESIGN

A physical store needs to be visually attractive and the layout well-organized so the customer feels comfortable in spending their time shopping. The traditional brick-and-mortar store should also be sanitary and look completely safe. Debris, dirt, clutter, and tripping or safety hazards, like loose wiring, present an unprofessional and unsafe atmosphere that will discourage relaxed shopping.

In addition to making the surroundings seem visually inviting, you could also make them seem more fresh and pleasant by providing some appealing scents. Fragrance affects us more than we realize, and at an instinctive level so that shoppers will associate your signature fragrance with your brand in an emotionally positive context.

That’s why many retailers utilize scented branding. While candles provide visual appeal and a range of aromas, they should be considered a fire hazard. Even when they aren’t lit they may emit some scent, but keeping candles all over the store isn’t really practical or cost-effective.

With aroma diffusers in your store, however, your customers will associate a smell at your establishment with a pleasing outcome, for instance freshly cut grass with a lawn equipment retailer. These compelling smells will inspire customers to make a purchase without even thinking about it. Human reactions to scent is automatic and highly intuitive.

Just as in a physical store, an ecommerce site needs to be attractively designed and logically ordered. Customers should have no trouble in searching your line of products. That’s where “webmospherics” are concerned. It’s a term that refers to website attributes that impel the customer through the buying experience without too many considerations or distractions. This includes features like one-touch checkout, appealing photos as product links, and search and filter capabilities.

Creating a positive environment on your website is just as important to encourage online shopping as it is in a physical store. Optimizing your site for smartphone shoppers is important to boosting sales, as that is where millions of consumers are doing their shopping. A mobile-responsive website is programmed to adapt to any device that accesses it in order to provide the best shopper experience.

#2 BE STRATEGIC ABOUT CHOOSING IMPULSE PRODUCTS AND THEIR POSITIONING

In either physical or ecommerce stores, product displays and placement should be simple and intuitive. If customers have to stop and think about what they’re looking at, impulse buying is restricted. Impulse items should be small and inexpensive so they don’t represent an imposing financial choice.

Attention-drawing signage is an important element in impulse sales. For instance, one with a smiling toddler near a bottle of baby shampoo attracts more customers. In physical stores, impulse items should be located near checkout.

Colorful displays that are amusing or educational entice the customer to focus on the product as they’re waiting in checkout lines. They can also be placed next to best-sellers as related or cross-merchandising items. Seeming out of place can draw attention to certain items.

In online shopping, product photos or videos can appear on the homepage or landing page, or be used in social media profiles as quick links to your site. Including product suggestions on the checkout page as “buyers also liked” lists will boost impulse purchases of those items. Suggestive captions can also work for cross-selling items, such as “try this hot look” for clothing.

While ecommerce sites can track individual user actions and personalize the shopping experience to optimize sales traditional stores have to rely on observation and experience to find out what works best.

#3 DON’T FORGET ABOUT DIRECT MAIL/E-MAIL MARKETING

Direct mail marketing has always been a successful tactic for brick-and-mortar retailers. Sending out brochures and catalogs creates interest through visual appeal and keeps the seller in the customer’s thoughts. It can also create strong associations through scented paper, card-board pop-ups, or full-page photos.

Ecommerce sites, on the other hand, tend to rely on emails. They can send out notices of special deals, digital coupons, or abandoned shopping cart notices to spur impulse buying. These tactics are intended to catch the customer at their most receptive and stimulate them to take action.

However, the content of the email needs to be carefully crafted. This means personalized messages, catchy subject lines, and friendly, helpful language to improve the chances emails will be opened and not simply deleted.

Overtime, these interactions will help to build brand recognition, trust, and strengthen consumer relationships. Both email and direct mail campaigns help your brand maintain visibility and develop a more engaging customer experience.

FINAL WORDS

There are certain factors that will help you to improve revenue from impulse purchases. This includes providing a pleasant, well-organized environment both on your website and physical store. Good strategies on product placement and promotion draw more customer attention, while direct mail or email campaigns help to stimulate impulse buying and improve customer relationships. Effective management of impulse shopping can make a big contribution to your bottom line.

 

About the Author:

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88

Get More Out of Your Online Business Today

If it feels like your online business is starting to get stuck in a bit of a rut, it’s important to take action to change that. You can’t expect your business to remain on an upward trajectory forever; there are always going to be bumps in the road. It’s how you respond to and handle these bumps that matter. Be proactive and take steps to drive your online business forward and get more out of it today. Here’s how.

Put More In

To get more out of your online business, you first need to put more into it. By putting more into the business, you’ll find that you eventually start to reap the rewards. But more of what? It can be more financial investment, it could be more time or it could be other resources. But don’t let your online business remain static for too long because that never ends well. 

Learn the Value of Analytics

Analytics can’t be ignored any longer. If your online business is not currently making use of analytics tools, that has to change sooner rather than later. There is no getting round the importance of this. So, if you want your company to succeed, start using the right analytics tools. You can approach embedded BI and analytics from many angles. Get informed and work with people who know what they’re doing.

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Consider the Way Your Customers Use Your Site

 Your website should always put the needs and wants of the visitor first. These days, people don’t just sit at their desktop when they want to buy something online or browse your website. Instead, they use smartphone screens and tablets. You need to be aware of these trends and allow potential customers to use and interact with your website in the way they want to.

Improve Scalability

Scalability is one word that you should become more familiar with if you want to push your business in the right kind of direction. This often applies to the logistical side of your business’s operations. You can’t expect your company to keep growing if you don’t know how to scale things up and keep producing strong outcomes. Learn more about this and clean up the logistics that your business relies on each day.

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Cut Out the Middlemen

Middlemen often serve no real purpose. If you have a lot of people acting as intermediaries for your business, you will find that cutting them out and getting to the point saves you a lot of time and energy. There is no need to persist with people that are offering you nothing in the way of value and contributing very little to the success of your online business. Many people feel they’re necessary, but that doesn’t mean they are in practice.

There are so many ways to get more out of your business and help it to grow. These 5 ideas offer you a good starting block. From there, you can develop your own methods to get more out of the online business going forward.

Smart Digital Marking Methods That Can Make Your Company A Success

Starting an online business can be a very smart venture. But if you really want to make a success of it, you have to work hard. Because setting up a business isn’t enough to make it great. You have to really work at it in order for that to happen. From creating a website with content that your customers are not only going, but also find easy to use, to coming up with effective and creative ways to make money, there’s a lot that you need to work on to ensure that your business is going to do well. And that’s often enough to put even the most determined people off.

So you know that you want your business to do well, and you know that you want to make a lot of money, but are you happy to put the work in? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Because in order to make some money and ensure that your business can go from strength to strength, you have to focus on your marketing tactics. Whether you’re new to the world of marketing or not, here are some of the most effective digital marketing methods that can take your business to where you need it to be.

Affiliate Marketing

The first thing you’re going to want to think about using is affiliate marketing. Whether you’re a content site or a business, you can use affiliate marketing to make you a great passive income, or generate you more sales. Affiliate marketing is something that a lot of businesses swear by, so if it’s not something that you’ve already looked into, it needs to go straight to the top of your marketing methods list. It may take some work to initially set up, but once you’ve done that and your traffic is flowing, money can make itself.

Display Marketing

From here, you may also want to think about using display marketing. As a brand, you can gain a lot of traffic and sales by using this tried and tested marketing technique. And when you’re a content site, you can earn some great amounts of commission by using it. Display marketing has a lot of depth to it. As long as you’re prepared to tailor your campaigns and work with the best companies, you have the potential to earn well!

PPC

Next, up, you have PPC. Of all the different kinds of digital marketing methods, PPC is a great choice if you want to generate yourself some warm traffic. Because sometimes, traffic isn’t all that you need, you need to ensure that you’re attracting consumers that will genuinely be interested in your product to your site. And with PPC marketing, you can definitely do that, whether you do it yourself or outsource to an agency.

PPV

Then, you’ve also got a similar idea to PPC, but instead of the payment being based on a click, the payment is based on a view. So, if you hadn’t guessed already, PPV marketing is based on things like YouTube adverts. And when you think about it, there are not only millions of YouTube videos out there, but there are also millions of people watching them too. So, capitalizing on the ad space available via PPV is a great way to make money.

SEO

And of course, you’re definitely going to want to include SEO in your marketing plans too. But don’t automatically think that you have to outsource it, because you may be able to take on some of it yourself. This beginners guide to SEO, for example, will be a really worthwhile read for you. You may be able to pick up some of the basic principles yourself to then apply them to your work and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Social Media Marketing

And, of course, what good list of digital marketing methods would be complete without including social media marketing too? Because social media is so popular with both consumers and business, you have to be able to harness some of that power in your promotional strategy. You should definitely think about trial paid social options too, to see if they work for your business.

Sponsorship

And finally, there’s also sponsorship or collaborations to consider too. Whether you’re a brand looking to advertise, or a content site looking for advertisers, sponsorship can work really well if you’re matched with the right company. You may find that you benefit from more traffic as well as sales and extra income too.

 

Turn Your Online Business Into A Fortress

The internet has made it possible for so many people to build businesses from their own home; it saves them on paying rent for a premises, it makes it cheaper for them to advertise their products and services, and it gives them a wider customer base to buy their products. Unfortunately, no one really considers that online businesses have a few vulnerabilities that aren’t usually seen in physical stores. Whether you’re conducting your business part-time, or you depend on it as your sole source of income, here are a few vulnerabilities that could affect your business, and how you can protect it like a fortress.

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Cyber safety

Since 2016, there has been an increase in reports of online businesses being targeted and held to ransom by cyber-criminals. Experts are warning that small businesses are fast becoming their favorite target because most of them are woefully unprepared for hacks to their online domain. Don’t make your business a weak target for cyber-criminals – this is your livelihood, so protect it like a fortress. Invest in antivirus and encryption software that automatically updates to patch vulnerable spots in your security, blocks spam, and detects spyware. Companies that sell this type of software include McAfee, Norton, AVG and Avira. Cyber criminals also look for exploits in WordPress and popular plugins, so it’s vital you keep them up to date if you’re using this to host your website.

Get insurance

Depending on the kind of service you offer, you might want to consider professional indemnity insurance; this will protect you if a client accuses you of providing  inadequate advice, services or designs that resulted in a financial loss. You can get professional indemnity insurance to cover both defence costs and any liability found owing in the event of a claim up to the limit of indemnity. There are different kinds of insurance for different services, so make sure you do your research to ensure you’re properly covered.

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Secure payments

If you’re selling something online, enabling mobile payments such as PayPal can increase your sales by allowing more impulsive purchases. You’ll also receive prompt payments rather than dealing with a billing or invoicing system. A good merchant service provider can sort you out with an online payment system for your eCommerce store. But more importantly, they can help you set up secure payments. The minute your customers enter their card details into your system, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks. You need excellent encryption software and top of the line credit card security to keep these details safe from cyber thieves. No one will use your store again if they’re worried about their details being stolen.

Reputation

The best kind of protection you can provide for your business is building up a solid reputation. Establish yourself as a reliable salesperson, a provider of good quality products, and someone who responds well to customer feedback. Customers are usually very trusting of online businesses, but once they hear of any hacking incidents or lawsuits, they are less likely to return.