3. Create a strong team. “Work with experts on parts of your business where you are not an expert,” says Cathi Brese Doebler, a home-based business owner for 10 years and author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. “For example, if you are not good with computer hardware, hire someone to help you set up your computer network. Or, if you are not an expert on taxes, find a good tax advisor. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength, and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness.”
Running a business consulting company is a great option for those who’ve been involved in the process of building a business before. Whether you’ve gained your experience through working with a number of different startups or learned the secrets of business management in a more corporate environment, helping other entrepreneurs achieve great results can include everything from business planning and forecasting to liaising with banks and institutions.
After creating a plan for the home-based business, the entrepreneur is ready to put the plan in action. One of the earliest steps involves preparing family members and enlisting their support. The loss of a reliable source of income may cause some anxiety or resentment among other members of the household. In addition, the creation of a home office will probably necessitate changes in family members' schedules or lifestyle. Dealing with such issues in advance can help avoid problems later. Another important step is to establish an area of the home as a business office. The most important consideration when choosing a location for a home office is that it allow the entrepreneur room to work comfortably and efficiently without too many distractions. The office should be as physically separate from the living area of the home as possible, and should project an air of professionalism to potential visitors as well as to its occupant.
Like other forms of self-employment, home-based businesses face a number of challenges relating to financial management and tax compliance. Part of the business plan that is prepared prior to forming a home-based business is a financial plan detailing how much it will cost to begin the new venture and keep it running. After the business has been established, it is vital that the entrepreneur set up a good bookkeeping system to manage cash flow and ensure compliance with tax laws. Bookkeeping systems can be manual or computer based. Experts also recommend that entrepreneurs set up a separate checking account for their home-based businesses in order to better document business expenses. Canceled checks, paid bills, invoices, sales slips, receipts, and other financial documentation should be kept on file in case of an audit. Another important aspect of financial planning for a home-based business is tracking working capital—the difference between current assets (cash, accounts receivable, and inventory) and current liabilities (operating expenses, debts, and taxes)—in order to maintain a realistic picture of where the business stands financially.
Perhaps you love children. Perhaps you have children of your own and the idea of taking care of a few more for part of the day appeals to you. Child-care needs continue to soar in the United States. Many people prefer the option of their child being cared for in a home environment while they are at work, opposed to a more institutional-like setting. These things mean that a homebased childcare business can get off and running immediately.
77. Structure your schedule. “Just because you may not have to attend meetings or structure your schedule the same way that you would if you worked in an office with others, you still need to provide structure for your schedule,” says Doebler of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. “When I have larger projects, I set time aside in my calendar to focus on them. This helps me to stay on schedule and finish projects on time and with high quality.”
Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients. [10 Things Every Freelancer Should Know]
But many people put themselves in a very similar position by starting home-based businesses without considering the profit angle. Business is about profit, and without sufficient profit, you'll never have enough income to even pay the bills, let alone generate wealth. (For more on creating a business that actually produces income, see Change Your Business Model and Watch Your Profits Soar!)
Getting familiar with the tax laws will be necessary as a home-based business owner. The more knowledgeable you are, the more likely you’ll be able to save yourself major bucks when filing your taxes. Paul Robert Edwards highlights 10 top deductions for home-based businesses, but consult your accountant to make sure you apply them correctly to your company.
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