The 4 Pillars of a Home Based Business

Starting a home based business is a good option for those who want to have a great work life balance. Care should be taken to make sure money is not poured down the drain in the name of starting a business. People preach the many pitfalls that can be avoided and the wise do take heed and tread with caution.

Is it all Doom and Gloom?

The fragile world economy features in the news everyday and so does how things are expected to get even tougher. A lot of people are anxious about how to support a decent lifestyle. For most families it is almost impossible to cover expenses on two salaries with increase in food costs, household bills and other basic needs. A home based business is a great consideration for anyone who wants to supplement their income or create flexible working hours to meet family demands, get rid of unemployment or solve other issues.

Working from home is a great way to earn some extra income and for some people their entire income comes from their home business. The best thing about this type of set-up is the low start-up costs. A home based business is not as easy as it sounds though; it requires a lot of planning with the right knowledge and skills.

Pillar 1 – If It Is Too Good To Be True It Probably Is

You probably have seen a lot of adverts online about how someone made £10,000 in one day. We will all like to strike it lucky and find that deal of a lifetime. But beware, if you are thinking of working from home, do not get sucked into these false claims of making millions in a few months. There are businesses that generate a healthy profit but think about it, if those claims were true everyone will be doing it. Consider the risks involved before you take up any offer for a home based business. Carry out adequate research about the business before you commit funds to it. Search yourself, if this is what you really want to do or if you are doing it for the love of money. Remember the love of money can only satisfy temporarily.

Pillar 2 – Start With Minimal Cost

Starting a home based business should not cost the earth. Just because you are not renting an office space, does not mean you should blow your budget on a state of the art computer system, an executive desk and a recliner chair with a built in massage service. Manage your budget effectively especially when starting off as money may not come in immediately but bills still need to be paid. Beware of the stationery habit; it can spiral out of control especially for those who work from home.

Pillar 3 – Dream Big Start Small

Don’t bite off more than you can chew when starting a business from home. Consider your working hours, family schedule, space within your home and other important factors before you commit to your customers. Do you have the space to store the raw materials for your products? Can you manage more than 10 clients a month without impinging on family time? These are some of the important factors you need to consider when you start your home based business. Remember your business reputation is at stake if you do not deliver on your promise.

Pillar 4 – Easy Maintenance

Many people who choose to work from home are probably tired of the status quo. So why complicate things even further by setting up a home based business that is too complicated to run. This opportunity should give you the chance to follow your passion and run a business too. Working from home should be a pleasure not another daunting task you hate to wake up to. You should set things on your own terms and within certain guidelines. If you intend to laze about the house and pretend to be working, you might as well stay in your current job. It takes a lot of dedicated hard work to get any business off the ground – a home based business is no exception.

All these pillars might sound like child’s play when it comes to starting a home-based business, but one wrong turn can lead to a frustrating experience. Make sure you follow your passion when starting a home based business and understand the basics of running a business. Consider the 4 pillars stated above in addition to other relevant information when starting out to help you stay on the right track and enjoy the process.

I wish you good success in your chosen endeavours….Temi. 

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk we are passionate about adding value to your passion.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Temi_Koleowo

Photos by Ifonono and Lewy2005 sxc.hu.

Analyse Your Business Plan

Hello Fellow Business Owners,

It is always a privilege to be able to write to you.  I enjoy sharing my thoughts and what I have learnt in the world of business start up and development over the weeks and months gone by. 

This week let’s talk about your business plan.  To a lot of people, this is a daunting task that requires many sleepless nights, toiling over what to write about your mission, passion and vision.  Starting and running a business requires constant analysing, planning, changing and adapting.  A business plan however informal is a good place to start your business concept.  Starting a business without a business plan is like going to a new place without a map – surely one is bound to get lost. 

Your first business plan is your perception of what you expect your business to be.  It forms the basis on which you launch out into the business world.  It might contain a lot of expectations, hypothesis and forecast.  When you start your business some of these assumptions will change, reality sets in and you now have to adjust the plan. 

Don’t be discouraged if your business doesn’t go according to plan, pat yourself on the back for crossing the biggest hurdle of starting off!!! Now you need to focus on what works and enhance it. 

Analyse the Plan

At least after the first three months of business you should review your initial business plan, take a critical look, alter what needs to be changed and set a new plan.   

Sales Forecast

What was the initial sales forecast?

 Is the business meeting up? 

If things are not working to plan, do not let it get you down.   You should look at other sources of income for your business.  What commitments can you let go of?  Think of how you can reduce your expenses whilst you work hard to increase business awareness and hopefully more sales.  

Products

If your products are not bringing the expected income for your business,  then think of what you can add to enhance these products so they no longer stand alone.  What will people need in addition to what you provide?  For instance if you have a nail bar, will your clients like a neck or head massage whilst they get their nails done?  Do you have a fast track service (at an extra cost) for those who can’t wait? 

Customers

Are you targeting the right customers?  Sometimes the people we think will buy our products are not actually those who need them.  Look closely at the people that patronise you, what are their needs, what other services do they ask for?  Studying your customers and adapting your products and services to meet their needs is the best route to customer satisfaction and repeat purchase.

There are many aspects of your business plan that needs to be reviewed after the first few months of trading.  Go through the whole plan and ask yourself what should change and what should go.  There are other aspects of the business plan that are worth your consideration and these we will address in another blog entry.  Until then, I pray you are able to rise above the current economic situation and make a success of your venture. 

BusinessFirstSteps provides business plan writing and review service to help you navigate the first steps of the business world. Have a look round our website, we will be glad to be of help. 

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

Emails and Time Management

If you have a work inbox, you most likely will get emails everyday. Some from your clients, your suppliers,  email listings and some unwanted.  So how exactly are you suppose to deal with your inbox on a daily basis so it doesn’t take over your business life?

Choose a Time Slot

Find a time slot in the day when you choose to open your emails.  If you are easily distracted, do not make it the first task in the morning as it may spiral out of control if something catches your fancy.  I choose to open my emails first thing as it helps set my mind for the day, especially information from my clients and email subscriptions.   Allocate a specific amount of time to deal with your emails, mine is twenty minutes maximum. 

Filter Your Emails

Some of your email will be urgent, some will be for further reference and some are meant for trash or junk mail.  Try to read through the important ones rather than save them for later.  Reduce the mail in your inbox as you go along – do not be afraid to hit the delete button.  Compartmentalized them into folders such as resources, email subscriptions, junk etc.  Make sure that your ‘read later’ pile is kept to a minimum and do ‘read them later’.

No Entry – Friends and Family  

                                                

Politely ask your family and friends not to send personal emails to your work inbox.  Less mail from loved ones can drastically reduce your workload and sifting process.  If they must send one (for business), ask them to make it short and to the point. 

 

Reply in a Jiffy

If you need to reply to an email, summarise your points  and do not go into an elaborate write-up. 

Maintain Good Practice

  • Once an email is read, remove it from your inbox either into another folder for reference or delete it. 
  • Try to keep your inbox as clear as possible, if an email is lingering there for too long – maybe you do not need it after all. 
  • Unsubscribe from email listings you no longer find useful and keep subscriptions to  a manageable level.
  • Make it a habit to junk the mail you did not solicit for or need.  
  • Keep your work inbox for work and not for leisure activities, if necessary create a mail box for that purpose and make sure you notify people to use it for your personal emails.   
  • Shift through your inbox once a week to weed out emails that have been lingering unread for days. 
  • Show junk and spam mail no mercy as they are major time-wasters. 
  • Do not visit your inbox too many times during the day, I visit mine thrice a day morning, lunchtime and before I close shop for the day. 
  • If you are expecting an important mail, then be strict with yourself to check in and check out without loitering!

Don’t forget to glance through your junk mail as some important mail might slip through the net.  As you tackle your inbox this week, be firm so you can spend your time doing what matters. 

Wishing you every success.

Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Coming soon to a site near you – Time Management Tips for a More Effective You.

Photo courtesy of sxc.hu Kveselyte, WR-fife

Before the Business Plan

In the Beginning of Business Start-up

At the start of the year you probably decided you wanted to start your own venture.  After contributing to your employer for so long and not being fulfilled, you are about to take a leap into the world of self-employment.

 As stated by the Prime Minister and the Start-up Britain initiative, http://www.startupbritain.org/ this might be the best time to start a business. This is good news, at least there is a guarantee you are not alone on this quest for self –expression.   

So pardon me as I jolt you out of your entrepreneurial dream for a short while and ask you these two important questions:  

Can You Cope Without A Regular Income?

If you intend to say goodbye to your employer, be ready to say goodbye to a regular income – ok maybe for a short while.  Before the money starts rolling in there is a lot of ground work that might be required as well as many sacrifices – including financial ones. 

You certainly can’t continue to spend money like you used to after all it is now about effort in = profit out.  So if you have got some savings stashed away somewhere, now might be a good time to revisit your household budget and find out how you can survive for the next 6 months or so.

How Much Time Can You Dedicate To This Venture?

If you are serious about growing a business, you can be rest assured that your time will no longer be your own. If you have a family there is every possibility that you will be torn between two parties – trying to meet your family obligations and spending time developing your concept.                        

Starting off a new venture can be tough in the beginning as you try to get off to a successful start.  You should be realistic about your commitments, explain to your nearest and dearest how your life will change.  Rearrange your schedule so your building process does not impinge so much on other commitments.

We won’t discuss social engagements as they may be non-existent for a while!

 

Despair or Inspire

If the above questions have not been able to dissolve your resolve, maybe just maybe you have what it takes for such a huge leap!

Don’t despair if this sounds daunting, if you do your homework properly the initial drought season might not last long though it may occur again at some point during the life span of your business.  Once you conclude that you intend to make the business work, you will find the determination and strength to push through every obstacle.  

The good news is if you work really hard, the money you earn is not to pay someone else’s salary.  It’s for you to decide what you want to do with it – even reinvest it in your business.

Maybe now I have got you thinking a little bit deeper or help you banish the doubts and the fears (ok maybe temporarily!).  Next stop… let’s think about the viability of your business idea.

At www.businessfirststeps.co.uk, we are passionate about concept development and business start-ups.