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.

Technology Tips To Improve Your Business

Let’s face it: these days, technology is absolutely the future. We work using our phones and tablets, we can do a whole day’s work from our beds or our sofas or even on trains or planes, and more and more businesses are based online even now the dotcom boom is pretty much over. Even if your company isn’t completely based around technology, there are absolutely ways that you can use technology to improve the services that you provide. Here are some tips to help out…

Go Paperless

Going paperless is good for the environment – and it’s also good for you, for a number of different reasons. A lot of offices are huge simply because of storage – and if you go paperless, then you have a lot less paper to keep safe in filing cabinets, so you can pay less rent and go for a smaller office. It’s also important to make sure that your business is as green as it possibly can be. A lot of people consider eco credentials when they’re figuring out who to work with, and if you’re as paperless as possible, this will be a huge plus for you.

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Create Back-Ups

If your business relies heavily on working online, it’s important that you have back-ups for everything. Technology is largely reliable but we all know that nothing is perfect, and if your servers go down then the people who use your site will want to know that you have back-up servers to continue to provide the service even when you’re experiencing technical difficulties. You should also go for some preventative measures like power inductors which will ensure that your tech stays in good shape for as long as possible.

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Improve Your Site

One of the most important things about business is that you have to keep getting better. Don’t rest on your laurels – keep developing your site until it runs as quickly as possible and it’s also as intuitive and user friendly as it can be. Even if your site is mostly just there to give out information instead of providing an actual service, make sure all the pages are clearly labelled so that people can navigate it as easily as possible. Ensure that all your contact information is up there, including your phone number, email address, and postal address.

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Work Remotely

Finally, one of the absolute joys of technology is that it will enable you to work remotely, meaning that you can be as flexible as you possibly can be with your employees – and with yourself. A lot of people who are balancing their work lives with their home lives find flexibility to be one of the most important aspects of the jobs that they’re searching for, and the ability to work remotely in the evening after their kids have gone to bed is something that a lot of busy working mums are searching for particularly. The ability to work remotely will mean that you get a higher calibre of staff applying for positions at your company.

Are You Ready For The Next Step?

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If there’s one thing that you can guarantee about your business, it’s this: if it’s not moving forward, it’s falling behind. There is no such thing as being able to settle down and stay still in the world of modern business. As soon as you decide that you’re comfortable where you are, your business is going to stagnate, and your competition is going to leave you in the dust. Every business owner should be looking forward to the next stage in their business’s evolution, ready to face whatever it is that’s going to come along. Of course, the doesn’t mean that you should throw your business into the future without thinking about things carefully. If you try to push it forward without thinking carefully, then you could well end up in a pretty precarious position. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when trying to make sure that your business is ready for the next step.

How can you reach new customers?

If you want to grow your business, then you need to expand your customer base. Otherwise, your business simply won’t be able to sustain its growth and will end up collapsing under its own weight. There are plenty of ways to reach new customers, and each come with their own unique challenges. You might want to expand to new demographics, in which case you’re going to need to put a lot more time and effort into creating effective marketing strategies. Perhaps you’re looking at expanding into more international territories. If that’s the case, then you’ll need help from one of the UK’s leading translation companies so that you can be sure that you’re communicating effectively with customers no matter where they are in the world. Being able to understand the challenges involved in reaching new customers is the only way to avoid making obvious mistakes or losing out on potentially profitable markets.

What new additions does your business need?

As a business grows, so do its needs. This could be in terms of your employees, technology, or financial support. Figuring out how any form of expansion impacts on the structure of your business isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth doing if you really want to get the most out of any given situation. Do you need new employees? Then you need to figure out how many and where they’d be best utilised. Is your company’s tech not up to scratch? Then you’re going to want to figure out what technology will benefit your business most and whether or not you can afford it.

Do any existing elements need adjusting?

If there’s one mistake that many businesses make more than any other, it’s assuming that their existing business is strong enough to build on top of. If the foundations that you’re building on are crumbling, then everything’s going to come crashing down. Look at the infrastructure, workforce, and working methods of your business and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The things that work can act as the basis for all future developments to your business. The things that don’t need to either be adjusted and fixed or left behind entirely. Refinement is one of the most important things in your business.

Soup Up Your Business With Software

Running a business can be difficult and time-consuming, but you can make things easier if you choose to use the right software. By investing in the best software for your company, you can cut time wastage down in your business and make your entire model more efficient and effective. You will also be able to ensure that your company is easier to manage. There will be no issues with getting staff on the right page or setting goals to be pursued. But what software should you be investing in for your company? We think these pieces of software are vital whether you are running a small company or a massive corporation.

Windows Office

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Windows office includes several tools that you can use for management and running your company. For instance, Excel is fantastic for organizing data such as sales info and invoices. Alternatively, you can also use Excel for managing content and controlling when or how it is released. It’s a planning tool. Obviously, Word is still the best software out there for any word processing needs that you might have within the office. You might think the Office is outdated now that Google Docs is on the scene and more importantly, free. However, there are certain capabilities that you will lose without Office so it might still be worth that small investment.

SharePoint

SharePoint is commonly marketed as a way to store and share files. But, if you know how to use it, this software can be so much more than that in your business. You can use SharePoint to create a hub in your company online where information and content can be shared between employees. Think of it as a digital playground where ideas can be formed, assessed and approved. With expert SharePoint consultants, you’ll be able to access the full power behind this software, and you’re not going to be disappointed by what you discover.

Any Antivirus like Norton

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An antivirus software is a crucial tool for any business operating on the market today. Without it, you will be leaving your business exposed to viruses that could easily tear down your business model. You might think that this is an exaggeration, but you’d be surprised. A virus can contain a dangerous trojan software. On the service, it might look as though the cause of the virus is an E-bomb. Beneath that, the software could be stealing your files or simply erasing them.

Ecommerce like Shopify

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This will be particularly important for a business operating purely online. But it could be useful for any company. An ecommerce software will allow you to sell your products easily online. It will create a platform that is easy for customers to use, view and understand. This will ensure that you get plenty of purchases online and it’s not just for purely online companies. With ecommerce software, you can give customers the option of another way to buy. This is always going to be beneficial because it will allow you to attract a larger audience.

Using this software you can keep your company firing on all cylinders.

4 Best Examples Of Lean Startups

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We have often heard a lot about lean startups, how they are different than the usual startups and how do they exactly work. But today I was just thinking to talk about something far more valuable, in fact something practical which might end up giving some good courage to all the entrepreneurs delaying their launches out there.

The best part that the lean startup approach is that you launch the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for a small chunk of market rather than the marketing to masses. This acts like a sample test before developing or launching the actual product. This is more like A/B testing of the product where the performance has been tested in the market. Now imagine how much costs this sample can save before launching the actual product.

Yes, it does. It does wonders actually.

Now today, you are going to witness some amazing real life examples of the Lean Startup Approach which used MVPs. These are all product examples which are really doing great in their specific fields.

Now this is going to give you a new vigor to come out of your shell and start walking towards your big idea through adopting the very best lean approach.

Check out this Lean Startup Planning Worksheet to help you out in creating a customer-oriented product: Lean Startup Planning Worksheet.

 So without any further talk, now I will be introducing you to these amazing examples which will make you believe on how effective can a lean approach be…

 Here you go with Four Best Examples of Lean Startups:

  1. Buffer:

Buffer is a very interesting app which schedules all your social media posts. It’s a quick way to organize your social media accounts and the social media posts.

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Now the interesting thing that Joel Gascoigne, the founder of Buffer did was creating a minimal viable product (MVP). Joel decided not to directly launch the app but to see if the consumers really want it or not.

He created a landing page and gave a ‘Plans and Pricing’ button to see if the visitors really click it or not. Later he also added prices with different packages and it turned out that people clicked on those packages too.

This make him clear that his product was in actual demand and there are people who would actually buy it also. That is when he thought of actually developing such app.

Isn’t it both cost and time saving?!!

  1. Dropbox:

Dropbox is one of the very famous startups that has grown immensely with lean startup approach. This file transfer service just started as a MVP which later reached over 500 million users around the globe.

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Dropbox just came out as a screencast initially. The most helpful were the comments provided under the first video because that helped the developers to shape up the product as per the actual consumer demand.

This is how the minimal viable product in lean production helps the development team to make actual correction as per the customer needs in a quick time. Today, most of the internet users use dropbox for transferring big files which cannot be transferred through the simple mail.

  1. Pebble:

Pebble is a smartwatch company which people love using and staying updated. The people who created this wonderful watch also tested the demand first by creating a pre-launch page and seeing if people would actually buy something like this or not.

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Pebble is now doing a wonderful job because the proper research and development was done later when the demand was observed. This is how lean approach made this new technology a hit.

Pebble was basically launched through Kickstarter first. Kickstarter has given many startups a platforms to check their demand first before even being launched.

  1. Zappos:

Another awesome example of lean startup is Zappos. Zappos is an online retailer which sells a huge variety of bags and shoes.

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Zappos didn’t just become a million dollar business overnight in fact Nick Swinmum, Zappos founder, used his idea in a great manner. In 1999, when Nick thought of launching an online shoe retailer, he did not have anybody to set as a benchmark, the online retailing business was new.

That is when he didn’t hurry up investing everything into and developed a minimal viable product of online shoe retailing. He just used a basic online shoe selling website, put some picture and waited for the orders, as soon as he got the orders, he ordered those shoes from the original shoe brand and delivered it to the customer.

The time when he realized that people really took interest in this online retail business, that is when he bought his actual first stock. This is how lean approach secures your startup.

As it turns out,

Lean startup approach is not “All Talking”, but it is an actual and practical approach. In fact it adds to your success 10 times more than a traditional working approach.

I am sure these wonderful examples that I have given above will help you out in how you want to go about your startup. The examples come from different backgrounds. Buffer is related to social media marketing while Dropbox is about file transferring. Pebble is a smartwatch company and Zappo is a shoe retailer. There are other companies also which adopted the lean startup approach and showed a fantastic performance. The companies include General Electrics and Toyota.

You see, the competition is tough today. You have millions of products launching every month. You simply cannot afford to put a further delay on to your idea.. So just put your idea out there in front of your target audience and start checking its viability in the market.

I am assuming you would do this asap!!

Also, I would love to have more examples from your people if you have any. Do not hesitate to mention those examples in comments below.

I would also love to have your views about the examples I have given in the article.

BONUS: Lesson Learned- Lean Startup.

Guest author, Hammad, is a tech entrepreneur with a passion for technology and online marketing. He’s currently focusing on a new startup TruConversion , a SaaS application in web/mobile analytics space. Check out his blog HammadAkbar.com.”

Watch Out For The Bend! Keeping A Business Ahead Of The Curve

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The industry is saturated and full of competitors trying to consume your market share. To survive, you have to stay one step ahead at all times. Who said business was easy? Whether it is easy or hard, it is important to keep creating and manufacturing excellent products and services. Only then will you have the breathing space you desire. The obvious question is, how do you stay ahead of the curve? Again, it isn’t easy, but it is possible with the helpful tips.

Forget About The Long-Term

A tip like this might not make any sense because the long-term is the future, and the future is what you are trying to secure. In a weird twist of fate, however, it is short-term that will help you succeed in the long-term. As a small business, you don’t have the resources to throw at long-term projects. Companies like Apple can preach about five-year plans all they want, but that’s because they have the iPhone and iTunes. Your money would be better off going into projects that have a quick turn around.

Be Adaptable

One reason the market leaders of cutting edge technology are where they are today is they are adaptable. Quite simply, they saw an opportunity and seized it with both hands. To do that, they undoubtedly had to make a lot of changes and flip their company upside down. In the end, it was well worth it because they got into a profitable venture on the ground floor. It would never have happened, nor will it happen, without flexibility. Rigid companies die out, and that’s a fact.

Never Commit

Some commitments are inevitable, like a lease for your offices. But, apart from the necessary, there should be no other commitments according to www.inc.com. Commitments make it hard for you to adapt to the industry because you are locked in. Those that aren’t can change direction whenever they like because they have zero ties.

Take Risks

In today’s culture of analysing statistics, taking a risk will seem old school. In fact, it will seem reckless. The truth is, every business that succeeds has to take a chance. Sometimes, there isn’t enough information to fill in all the gaps, yet they continue all the same. That’s because they trust the information they have, as well as their vision for the future. No one is saying you should risk it all, but a risk is inevitable. After all, you can’t cover all of the gaps. If you try, you will lose the opportunity.

Keep An Eye Out

It isn’t will the industry change – it is when it will change. Change is coming because it is inevitable. Who would have thought http://webfullcircle.com would focus on digital marketing methods in 2017? Ten years ago, digital marketing wasn’t even on the agenda, but now it is the agenda. The companies that see the change coming are the ones that can react the quickest and take advantage. Never get complacent because nothing stays the same. That is the nature of business.

The bend is always there, so how are you going to react?

 

Putting Your Customers First Never Gets Old

When it comes right down to it, your customers are the reason you even have a business to begin with.

Stop for a moment and think about where you would be if it were not for the dedicated customers who buy products and/or services from you on a daily basis. In many cases, you’d be out looking for work.

With that being the case, no matter what line of business you are in, you have to give customers the attention they want and deserve. To not do so opens you up to problems, some of which you may not be able to overcome.

In always putting your customers first, make sure you do it in a way that gives them reason to reward you over time too.

Happy Customers Tend to Be Longtime Customers

So that you keep your customers around for as long as possible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Customer service second to none – First and foremost, your customer service must be nothing short of stellar on a daily basis. Remember, it just takes on bad customer service experience to send many customers fleeing; fleeing that is into the arms of your competition. Yes, you will have some customers who will feel that they got short-changed in terms of the service your business provided them, but do your best to reassure them that is simply not the case. In the event there is an issue with the service you gave them, do your best to give them reasons to stick by you. One of the ways to do this is by providing them a discount on their next purchase. You may have to twist an arm or two at times, but it will prove worth it over the long haul, notably for your company’s financial health;
  • Your niche truly does matter – What line of work you’re in certainly plays a major role in how you go about customer service. For instance, if you reside in the transportation industry, you know all too well how important timely and satisfactory service proves to be. In many cases, you only get one shot with a new customer to provide them with a winning experience. Drop the ball on this and there is a good chance they drive off elsewhere for their needs the next time around. In the event you offer ride sharing technology for your customers, make sure it is working properly, not a recipe for disaster. With millions of people needing to get from one place to another on a daily basis, your ride sharing operations need to be stellar, especially when it comes to delivering on-time service. From making sure the drivers do their jobs to your riders getting picked up in a timely manner, the key is to put forth a smooth operation. When you do that, customers tend to come back again and again.

Let’s Make a Deal

  • Deals are always a winner – Finally, are you offering your customer specials as often as possible? Although you can’t continually be lowering prices, you should put deals out there whenever the timing seems right. For instance, if you have some long-time customers, do you reward them? If not, what incentive do they have to stay with you for years to come? You can give them periodic discounts when they bring in new customers etc. By doing so, you give them more reason to not only stay with you, but also look around among friends and family to see who else they can get to do business with you.

If you have been a little lax up to now when it comes to putting customers first, the time to change that has definitely arrived.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about business topics on the web.