Having a home-based business is a growing trend, but keeping it organized may be difficult for some. Each simple tip included in this blog post explores new and unique solutions to help business owners improve their business. The tips below will help you create a firm foundation for your business, while giving you proven information to help you plan and grow.
Being a business owner from home might not be easy, but it can be a very successful form of entrepreneurship. According to the Census Bureau, more than half of businesses in the United States are home-based. Some of the most recognized brands like Apple, Ford Motor Company, and Mary Kay Cosmetics all started as home-based businesses. Here are five tips that will help you develop, grow, maintain your business from home:
1. Keep Work-Life Balanced with a Dynamic Working Environment
Creating the right working environment will be pivotal to your success as home-based entrepreneur. First, you should find a place that is quiet and separate from the living areas of your home, so that you aren’t distracted when working. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, turn it into your office. Make sure it is equipped with all of the tools, technology, and resources you will need to keep your business organized and efficient. Try to keep your work area as a place for work-related activities only.
- Plan time away from home. If you are an author, you might try spending time at a Starbuck or some place similar writing where you can sit comfortably. I like to schedule my time on Sunday afternoons and write for 3-6 hours.
- Balance out your life by doing something that’s opposite of what you do in your business. If you are analytical in your business (i.e., programming, accounting), then do something creative in your downtime. For instance, I’m a web developer and in my downtime, I like to write paranormal romance novels.
2. Build a Stronger Business with a Virtual Assistant
Understanding that you can’t do everything on your own is one the most important lessons entrepreneurs must learn. Hiring a virtual assistant to help with tasks that need to be completed for your business can be very beneficial. VAs can be found using services like UpWork.com, which connects businesses with independent contractors. Delegate small to moderate tasks to your VA, so that you can focus your energy on accomplishing major objectives for your business.
- Create a list of team members that you will need to keep your business strong and that you are open to outsourcing some of your tasks to.
- Use services like Freelancer.com or Upwork.com to find virtual team members. You can post jobs that would help your business grow. When you choose specific tasks that you want to outsource, you can assign them to your virtual team members.
- If you choose to use Google Apps, set up generic email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can reuse the email addresses in case you have a team member who needs to be replaced. Then you can just change the password for the new team member to use.
3. Stick to a schedule
Plan a work schedule that you can stick to. Try to start and end your day at the same time so that you can become accustomed to focusing strictly on getting work done for your business during those hours. Online tools like Google Calendar, Asana.com, and Teamwork.com can help you set deadlines for task and plan your work days. There are only so many hours in a day, so time management is a vital skill to grasp.
- Set business hours that work well with you keeping a work-life balance. When you have set hours, you, your team, and your clients will understand when you are available for business.
- Keep your team members abreast of any changes in your schedule. Especially if you have a personal assistant, you can share your calendar with them. By keeping them in the loop about your changes, it will help them manage your calendar better.
4. Use tools that can help your grow your home-based business
There are many tools available to home-based business owners that can help your business run smoothly. One resource is The Small Business Administration (SBA), which offers business owners tools to help get businesses off the ground, including developing a business plan. Google is another resource that offers assistance to business owners. Below are a couple of the resources that can help you research your industry, and even connect with others via startup communities.
- Check out the business plan building tool that the SBA offers to help you Build Your Business Plan. The SBA Business Plan Builder will help you map out your business step-by-step. In fact, the SBA will also teach you how to manage and grow your home-based business.
- Use Think With Google (TWG) to do deep research for your specific industry. You will find that they can provide data research, trends analysis, forward-looking perspectives and behind-the-scenes looks at digital campaigns — across industries, platforms and audiences.
- Checkout the startup communities provided by Google For Entrepreneurs website. Their focus is to create startup communities for entrepreneurs where they can learn and work.
5. Operate your business as a legal entity
According to the SBA, registering your business name is a key step to legally operating your business, and will allow you to receive certain aid from the government. Once you’ve established your business as a legal entity, you should be able to access any federal and state licenses and permits you will need to run your business. To learn about the law and regulations that may pertain to your business, visit the SBA’s website at sba.gov. These five tips will help you grow your business and keep you from being overwhelmed by your home-based business.
- Learn more about choosing and registering your business
- Learn about registering your business in your state
- Think about getting a business license
- Learn about doing business with the government