1. Wait for the Light Bulb to Come On
Inspiration is all around, all you need to do is take notice of it. For instance, maybe you’re driving down the highway and spot a billboard advertising a bed & breakfast. Suddenly you realize you have a large, roomy house, you can cook, and you have excellent customer service skills, BAM! You decide to open a Bed & Breakfast for weary travellers. Does it always happen this way? No, but it can. Your light bulb has come on.
Look for inspiration everywhere. Read blogs, surf the internet, notice small businesses in your town, people watch, be observant to your surroundings and chances are your home business idea will rear its head when you least expect it.
2. Time to Plan Ahead
Now that you’ve been inspired, do you really need a business plan? Most people you ask would choose yes since it’s often better to plan ahead. The beauty of a business plan is that chances are you have a ton of ideas buzzing around in your head. It’s a good idea to draft up a list of your ideas, even if you think you can remember all of them. Plus, seeing it on paper and being able to read it may help inspire you to do more.
According to Professor William B. Gartner from Clemson University in South Carolina, writing up a plan can increase the chance you’ll open your own business. He also says “you’re two and a half times more likely to get into business and that people who write business plans also do more stuff.” The ‘stuff’ included in his statement ranges from market research to preparing potential projections, to researching bank funding. Preparing a business plan often helps entrepreneurs to follow through and open their business.
3. Attach Value to Your Business
Unless you are paying for everything out of your own pocket, someone will have to put value to your business. Suppose you find investors and they think your business is worth $1 million, then it could very well be. No matter if you believe it is worth more and can show assets adding up to more if your investors believe it’s worth one amount that is usually what you’ll have to agree to.
Adding value to your business is similar to pricing a home. Luckily, in today’s digital age, there are many websites you can research to compare the value of your business to others in a similar industry or location. You could even ask lawyers or accountants that are experts in the industry or the area. Which leads us to our next tip.
4. Location, Location, Location
When searching for commercial real estate, the location has always been a number one determining factor. Retail businesses frequently scope out new locations for their franchises or stores. It should be no different with your home business, even it if is a small business, you still need to consider if you’re in a prime location or not. Granted, it is a home business, but determining location is an important step in understanding whether your business will be valuable or just fade away.
Look around your neighborhood traffic, the different shops, the foot traffic, and who your competitors are. All of this information will help you decide if your location can turn profitable or not. If you’re the only bed & breakfast within 10 miles, then good for you, profits should be easy to get. But if you’re the tenth sandwich shop within a few miles, do not let that deter you because you may still profit from your competitors marketing efforts and customer base. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, it could be the best choice you’ve ever made.
5. Time to Find Your First Customers
Your first customers could be the key to showing the world that your product or service matters to someone and that there really is a market for what you do. Aside from them being a boost to your revenue, the can prove to be a valuable feedback source. Their feedback can help you make improvements to your business bringing in more customers and more revenue. This is especially important to small businesses when they are just starting out. Remember to ask customers if you can use their valuable feedback into testimonials for your business.
Where do you find your first customers? You reach out to everyone you know, friends, family, acquaintances, former co-workers, former employers, other people in your community, your dentist, your local librarian, the employees at the stores you visit, literally, everyone you come in contact with. The formula is simple, you tell them, they’ll tell their friends, their friends will tell their friends, and the domino effect takes place.
You might also consider sending each contact a personal letter or email announcing your business, products, and services. To sweeten the pot, you could offer them a discount of some kind when they come to you for their needs, or you could offer a free consultation depending on the type of home based business you are opening.
Choosing your marketing strategy might be hard, but it isn’t. Now that you’ve gotten a little money in your pocket from your first customers, get out there and start marketing your business. Some quick and easy marketing ideas include fliers, business cards, sample products, discount coupons, BOGO (depending on what your business is), and more.
New business owners are more inclined to engage in digital marketing but don’t forget to do some traditional marketing also. Most people use digital marketing, but traditional marketing methods are not dead. If your budget allows for it, you should implement both types of marketing into your business, each has its own way of adding revenue and profits to your home based business.
Here are a few ways you can employ marketing efforts into growing your small business. Remember not to take any of them for granted as they can all prove successful for getting the word out about your business, products, services, and brand.
Digital marketing — this marketing method includes most anything online. Start with sharing the information on your social media channels like Facebook or Twitter and others. Consider adding a tagline to your emails with your business name or even an image of your business card. The most obvious method of digital marketing is to build a website or blog about your products or services. Think about the groups you might be in online, forums, message boards, instant message programs, all of it can work for your digital marketing efforts.
For those business owners with a larger budget, you might want to consider radio advertising, television advertising, or creating videos, podcasts, or webinars introducing who you are, what your business is, and why consumers should use your services instead of competitors.
Traditional marketing — marketing that is done the traditional way including newspaper ads, fliers, coupon offers, fundraisers, business cards, and even promotional items including mugs, pens, magnets, clips, postcards, and more.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our six tips for getting your home business up and running. As with any home-based business, a little creativity and planning and your home business could be turning profits within days or months. These six tips are designed to get you started, where you go from there is up to you, hopefully, it will be straight to the top!