Top 10 Tips
on Starting a Successful Home Business
Copyright 2002, Angela Wu
based businesses are rapidly gaining in popularity.
Not only do they offer you the opportunity for freedom
and the flexibility to set your own work terms, but
you also have control over your financial independence.
What do successful home businesses have in common? Here
are a few tips...
Research Your Market.
try to force a new product or service on an unwilling
market. Research your intended market first, then create
a product or service to fit that market.
another way, you can't force people to want what you
have to offer... but you can offer them what they want.
research should also include an in-depth look at your
competition. Is there too much competition for the area
that you plan to service? Can you offer something that
your competition cannot, while still making a profit?
By analyzing your competitors, you'll be able to learn
from both their successes and failures.
Don't Try to Be Everything to Everyone.
will never make everyone happy, no matter how hard you
try. So don't; instead, focus your efforts on one particular
segment of the population.
example... let's say you run some sort of business related
to gardening. Gardeners range in skill from the rank
amateur, who can barely manage to keep even the most
robust houseplant alive; to the serious professional
who is able to nurture and coax exotic and fragile flowers
of attempting to offer every type of plant or information
to all types of gardeners, you could instead
narrow your focus to one specific group: for example,
amateurs who are interested in colorful, low-maintenance
and easy-to-grow plants.
on a niche market allows you to more easily build a
unique and solid reputation for your business.
Keep Your Spending Under Control.
overhead costs low, and don't spend frivolously. There
will always be necessary expenses - for example, if
you're running a business online, you'll need a good
computer and a reliable Internet connection. But would
you also need new, top-of-the-line home office furniture?
the other hand, don't balk at spending money when you
need to. Figure out which expenses are true
necessities, and which are luxuries. As cash flow improves
you can look into purchasing other items
you may need.
business can't be successful unless people know about
it. That's where marketing comes in. All businesses
require hard work - and even after you've established
your business, you will need to continue to work hard
in order to make it grow. At times, the hard work may
be necessary just to sustain your current level of profitability.
Have a Contingency Plan.
go through rough times. Sometimes it will appear to
happen "all of a sudden", but there are always
warning signs. Learn to recognize the signs of trouble.
By pinpointing potential problems before they occur,
you can try to prevent them from occuring at all.
a well-thought-out contingency plan to keep your business
running with a minimum of lost time, effort, or profits.
Learn From Your Mistakes, and Build On Your Successes.
as you will experience success in some of the things
you do, you will also make some mistakes. In both cases
you'll have an opportunity to improve your business.
Ask yourself what you did right (or wrong), why it worked
(or didn't work), and what you could do differently.
yourself questions. What kind of startup capital do
you need? What are your estimated monthly expenses?
Is your business making the profits you expected? If
so, what are you doing right and how can you improve
upon it? If not, what can you do differently? What are
your competitors doing and how can you convince customers
to switch (or stay) with you?
types of questions will help you to make smart, educated
business decisions -- decisions that will help your
business to grow and flourish.
much easier to sell to a happy customer, than to try
convince a new prospect to buy from you. Be professional,
courteous, and always deliver a quality product or service.
Your customers will be thrilled and much more inclined
to come back.
Target Your Marketing.
goes back to the research you did before you started
your business. Know who to target in your marketing
efforts. You want to attract people who are interested
in what you have to offer -- not just curious 'passers-by'.
can see great examples of targeted marketing by looking
in your mailbox. If you've ever ordered from a mail-order
gardening club, you've probably received additional
catalogs from them *and* from other gardening clubs
who purchase the customer lists. They know that you
have an interest in
their products, so the chances of you ordering something
are much higher than if they were to send a mailing
out to a random bunch of addresses.
Take Your Business Seriously.
are lots of images floating around that show relaxed
'home business owners' reading a book, playing
with their kids, lounging in a comfortable chair, etc.
There's a tendency to think of a 'home business' as
'not real work', or not as serious as a 'real' (corporate)
start and build a successful business, it needs to be
treated like a business - not a hobby. Take it seriously
and work hard to achieve your goals.
Do Something You Love!
is what it all boils down to. Find something that you're
passionate about, and will enjoy doing. Business doesn't
have to a daily grind; it can be a true pleasure!
is the editor of Online Business Basics, an exclusive
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