Starting a small business or a home-based business is not something that should be entered into lightly. More often than not you'll go through a long period languishing while trying to make your business viable. As with many big decisions in life, starting a business is a very big risk. There's never an assurance of success. Rather, it is expected and statistically likely that you'll fail. However, if you're willing to work at beating the odds and fulfill a professional goal, this may still be the route for you.
I'd worked in libraries for over a decade. I spent the majority of that time in library administration. I knew a good deal about how to run a small business because I'd essentially been doing so for quite some time. However, when you go out on your own there are many pitfalls that can be made in your businesses' infancy. Contrary to the popular song lyrics, the best things in life aren't free. Shortcuts will likely come back to haunt you and so too will not putting in the sweat equity needed to not only financially succeed, but to also feel emotionally and psychologically empowered.
If you want to start a small business it has to be a deliberate process. However, it doesn't have to be an expensive one. It doesn't hurt for you to do some research. The Small Business Administration is a great free resource. So too are the books. Really, there are any number of tools to help you start-up or navigate the waters of small business. If you're like the almost 75% of all U.S. business who are non-employers (self-employed with no additional payroll or employees), then you can be sure that there is plenty of information to help you achieve your goals.
Running a small home-based business can be inexpensive, not cheap. Don't scrimp on the stuff that can really make you appear more professional without breaking the budget. Here are a few startup tips for your business:
1. Get a domain name.
You may not need to register your business's name with the state. The fact is, that process may be unnecessary and It can be costly depending on the nature of your business. However, it helps if you have a domain name so that you can have a traditional online storefront and presence. That isn't to say that you need to sell products through your site, it just means that you have a place that you can send people to online to find out more information about you and your products and services.
2. Use social media.
No longer can people lament about how they don't use Facebook or Twitter, being on social media also lends an air of credibility and savviness to your business. Using social media is inexpensive and easy. There are plenty of online tutorials on how to use social media and by getting yourself out there by using the social media networks, it opens you up to more clients and the ability to interact in real-time with them as well. Also, don't simply have a presence on social media, depending on your demographic, there are still some people who simply aren't using social media. Thus, you must also have an easily accessible webpage as well.
3. It doesn't hurt to use old school marketing tools.
Professional business cards as well as marketing items are now nominal in cost. Don't just settle for free cards, pay that little extra to brand your items. This way you can be fully in charge of the message you're putting out there. Think about it, what did you think of the person who handed you a business card that were clearly free ones?!
4. Use accounting software.
Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Nutcache and the list goes on. You can even use Excel if you're so inclined. Regardless, it's imperative that you start consistent and accurate record keeping from the very start. Make sure that all of your transactions, big and small, are in a place that will make it easy for you come tax time.
5. Work in the cloud and back it up.
Cloud-based software is available for everything. It also doesn't hurt to use free ones in this case. Google is the gold standard when it comes to free. However, document creation and retention aren't the only things you can do in the cloud. Accounting software, website administration, almost anything you can think of can be done in the cloud. Plus, it makes your data accessible anywhere that has an Internet connection. And don't forget to backup your work. If you're saving your work to your computer or saving it to a virtual drive in the cloud, be sure that you have a backup. Redundancy is key and it can also be very economical. A good rule of thumb is to have a physical and virtual off-site backup because Murphy's Law always happens.
6. Be virtual.
Depending on the type of services you offer, there are companies out there that can assist you in getting jobs/projects. Companies like Upwork provide you with a place to offer your services to others and provides you with an online workplace. Being a freelancer has never been so easy. As a freelancer, you don't have to limit how and how many clients you have.
7. You have to pay some to get some.
Yes, you can start a new business with no cost, however, by investing just a little money upfront you'll almost ensure a return on your investment. Pay for a virtual fax service, marketing materials and other little things that will go a long way in ensuring that your business isn't like every other "mom and pop" business. Just be careful not to go all in too fast. Recurring costs, though small, can add up fast. If you have recurring costs it means that you have to earn at least that much money per month.
8. Be tax savvy.
You must be cognizant of what kind of tax impact there will be as a result of your business. It's common, depending on the type of business you have and if you don't have employees, for you to not withhold any taxes during your first year. Getting a baseline for what your business will be like is important, just don't forget that Uncle Sam may hit you with a large tax bill at tax time. Visit the IRS website or speak to a tax professional to help you with getting this sorted out before it becomes a very expensive mistake.
9. Make time for yourself.
When you commit to owning a small business the one thing you're guaranteed is that it's going to be hard. Despite how challenging it is, you have to take time for yourself. It's easy to work long hours and to forget that we aren't machines. Even if it's just a 15-minute walk each day or something else that will break up your workday, you must not forget that sometimes it's best to literally walk away to clear your head. This will do wonders for your mood and your process.
10. Be disciplined.
Sure, we all think that working for ourselves would be the best job in the world. But it's not until you're actually doing it that you realize just how easy it is to be trapped by the pitfalls of having no other boss than yourself. That quick television break inevitably turns into a television marathon, sleeping in one day turns into not setting the right habits you need to be successful. It's easy to say that you're going be disciplined and fully devoted to the success of your business, but old habits do die hard.
Each day brings challenges and uncertainties. You have to be willing to fail spectacularly. But you also have to be willing to love and nurture your business even on the days when you just don't feel like it. If you don't work, you don't get paid. Despite that, the sky's the limit and your earning potential is limitless when you've devoted yourself to doing what it is that you are passionate about. It's important to remember that you're not to give up when it gets hard. Those are the times you have to really dig in and remember why it is that you're doing it in the first place.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/LaToya_Davidson-Perez/2279450
1. Construct an impressive website
There are numerous companies that offer complimentary entry to website builder, free domain, and no-charge hosting for the completed website. All you need usually is to register as a member to make sure you could use the free services endlessly. There is an option to upgrade to Premium account which has a minimal monthly charge.
2. Get your own paid domain name
The free domain that goes along with your free hosting, such as, "http://yourcompany.freehost.com", gives the harmful perception regarding the credibility of your company. In comparison with a paid domain that bears only your company name, for example: "http://yourcompany.com", your company can look more dignified over the internet. Your host company definitely also provides a paid domain. However, even if you want to purchase your domain from another company that gives an inexpensive price, it is possible to mask it and have it re-directed to your current complimentary website. That company definitely has easy-to-follow instructions in order to do the work.
Your domain should match the type of business you are in. For small businesses, the dot com (.com) extension could be appropriate. GoDaddy offers the most affordable domain, so far.
3. Use a Corporate Email Address
Free email addresses such as, "firstname.lastname@example.org" or "admin@Google".com also create an unfavorable impression. Bundled as part of your paid domain is one (or more) free email address, for example, "email@example.com". Such a company email address gives a more professional feel and look.
4. Make use of the pronoun "We, Us" rather than " I, My"
Give the customers the impression that you are a team, instead of you working alone (at home). This kind of technique tells everyone that your current organization is run by individuals with expertise crucial to run the company competently.
5. Use a high-status business address
Unless your abode is situated in a high-end business location, making use of your home address as your business address could give you a negative perception in the event you are planning to create a picture of being big. To address this issue, you may avail of the services of a virtual office that provides a business address in impressive business areas of your country. In addition to the use of the address, the package includes the usage of facilities like conference room, a corporate office to personally entertain your potential customers, receptionists who are able to take care of your calls proficiently and forward them wherever you might be, and quite a few more that you can see in a typical office. What else, you can also make it come out that you maintain offices in numerous locations not only in the city but around the country or all over the world.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Victor_Gerente_Teves/2137942