Starting your home business is different from going to an office every day in many ways; you can save the travel time and cost, be more productive, save a lot of office overhead costs and more importantly, you can work in flexible hours. However, it may backfire if attempt to start a home office without proper planning.
You will need to discover what your talents and skills are to form the basis of your business, do proper research and have a foolproof business plan in hand before you start. And yes, you may need to invest in materials, equipment, and home office space. Although daunting at first, you can run a successful home business. And in this article, we will guide you through a list of essentials for starting a home based business.
1- Home office setup
You will have to invest some of your money into equipment and materials. The type of your business niche will also determine what specialized tools you will have to buy. For instance, someone running a computer or auto-repair business will have to invest a lot more than someone starting a podcasting business. And some only need a phone and internet access to start their dreams.
Whatever the kind of business you’re starting, you will probably need the following equipment.
A computer or a laptop – most of today’s businesses need computer equipment to complete daily tasks such as administrative work or file storage. You can also use computers to market your business online, especially on social media and with a blog. You can also communicate with clients and prospects online.
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Depending on your needs, computers range from $400 for basic administrative work to $1500 for graphics-intensive jobs. Count in fast and reliable internet access here.
A fax, scanner, printer, and copier – for offline marketing; printing flyers, brochures, and other marketing materials. And lastly, don’t forget ergonomic chairs and desks. You will spend a lot of time working on them, particularly when you are just beginning your business. The right chair will directly impact your overall health.
2- Home office and storage
If you decide to be retail-based, you will need a garage or a shed to put your inventory in. And not just for storage – if you don’t have space in your living room or a place directly in your house for a home office or a workshop, you can always construct a garage or a shed for it.
Settle only for the best on the market, like those made by Best Sheds, as spending all your working hours in a place that’s hot and small won’t result in maximum productivity. You may find that some of the benefits of having a proper home office are more difficult to replace than others.
You can also outsource warehouse and distribution services, like many other businesses, so you can keep your focus on other aspects of your home-based business.
3- Discover your talents and skills
Talent includes things that come naturally and easy for you. Things you are good at. Think of them as your personality traits. Maybe you pay attention to details, maybe you’re creative, communicative or never get tired. Your talent will be the foundation of your successful business, including your home-based one.
You may also need some more self-testing to find out whether you have the right personality to be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Common character traits for successful entrepreneurs are perseverance, self-discipline, initiative, being positive and relying on yourself.
You will need to write down what skills you’re good at, too. Unlike talents and traits, which are broad and delve into many things, skills are specific activities. You don’t start with them, but learn them over time.
For instance, one who is good at math and remembers stuff may have good bookkeeping or organizational skills, while an artistic person is good at graphic design or writing. Starting a successful business will require both your talents and your skills.
4- Research your competition
Whatever your market may be, you will need to see which companies are competing with you in your niche in order to find something that differentiates you from them. Every business has direct competition. You can start the search on Google. Find the local competition there. Visit their websites, pay attention to their copywriting, and watch what business model they use. Also, watch for featured clients and contact details.
Call your competitors. Call your competitors and ask them about their business. Just be careful what you ask. Question them what makes them different from the competition, what their unique value proposition is, how they started their business. Pretend you’re a potential customer to avoid suspicion.
Lastly, use social media. While not everyone runs a proper website, there are over 60 million business pages on Facebook alone. Not to mention Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. See what their business profiles look like, what design and language they use, and what people write and comment about them.
The Bottom Line
Many big businesses today had a very humble beginning, i.e. most have started in their garage, from Zara to Amazon and Apple. Don’t be afraid to start one yourself. Build a strong foundation, grow a customer base, make them your priority, and the sky will be your limit.