Your home business may be small, but it enjoys one great advantage big conglomerates can only envy: very low overhead costs. You have no rent to pay, no payroll for an army of workers to disburse every month, and no office furniture and equipment for each one of your staffs to buy. Instead of paying for overhead costs, you can channel your limited resources to making your business grow and flourish. Your concentration should be to spend on items that will give you multiple returns for your money.
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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.
Try to avoid some of these common start-up mistakes: not writing a business plan; not conducting adequate market research to see if a profitable market exists; inadequate marketing; poor customer service; and poor money management and attention to your cash flow. Business mistakes are inevitable, but if you concentrate on each aspect of your home business and follow the advice of your experts, your home business will survive where others’ might fail.
Another big suggestion is finding small and easy ways to test business ideas and assumptions. I think this is implicit in your post. For example, if you have an idea for a digital course, you may do a free webinar on the same topic first. If you can’t get enough people to show up for a free webinar, then there probably isn’t enough interest for a paid product on the topic.
While the spiders do index sites and pages that haven’t been submitted, you certainly don’t want to leave this to chance. A spider might find your website and index it next week–or it might be two years before that finally happens. So take the time to submit your site to be sure you’re included. Once your site’s been submitted, expect it to take two to six weeks for your listing to appear.
Non-profits, universities, hospitals and other community organizations all have a great need for grant money to supplement their budgets, but grants are notoriously tricky to write for the first time. If you have experience writing grants or are willing to learn how to do it by practicing your skills without pay for a few non-profits, you can start a lucrative freelance grant writing business. According to eHow, grant writers can make anywhere from $40, 300 to $67,000.
Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).