If you’ve been sitting at home wondering about starting a new business, there really couldn’t be a better time. The world is more connected, and there are so many more ways to earn an income from home, whether it be as a part-time side hustle or you want to develop a new business that will grow to become a full-time job or more. But it is always essential to start right, and in this post, we’ll give you seven things that you need to do before you start your home-based business.
1. Deciding precisely what you do
When you talk to marketers, they’ll tell you that one of the hardest things they have to deal with is when clients have a relatively vague idea of what they do.
But our advice is not to think about what you do but switch this to what value you provide for your customers and clients.
For example, you may want to start a telephone answering service, but by looking at the value you provide for your clients, you come to understand that you are much more of a Virtual Assistant. By fully understanding the value you provide, you can often find extra services you can offer and can more accurately set your prices.
2. Deciding what your ideal customer looks like
This is often called an ‘avatar’ or ‘persona’ in marketing speak. An avatar is a simple description of who your ideal customer is. Where do they live? What do they do? Where do they hang out? What problems do they have? Answers to these questions will be critical when you start your marketing and…
3. Doing your research
Time spent researching your target market is never wasted. Speak to people about the service you are going to offer and get their feedback. However, don’t make the mistake of just talking to family and friends as they will often not want to upset you with bad news. Instead, use the avatars that you devised in tip 2 and approach people who fit the description of an ideal customer. Ask them how they feel about the service you are potentially offering. Ask them if they would pay (and how much). Ask them what problems they have and how you could help.
4. Speak with an accountant and a lawyer
So far, you probably have spent very little money on setting up your home-based business. But you are going to start to spend money soon, and so this is the best time to find an accountant and get some advice regarding what type of business you are going to set up. Do you need to be a Corporation, or will you act as a sole trader? What is the most efficient tax set up? How should you do your accounts? When should you register with the tax authorities? Most accountants will offer a free initial consultation, so we’d suggest talking to three or more and taking the time to find someone you like and trust, which will be very important to you in the future.
Please speak with a lawyer and explain your idea and ask them to give you a checklist of legal things you need to deal with. 0Get things like your terms and conditions, contracts, etc. all written up. And if you are forming a corporation, then get shareholders agreements or for a partnership, a partnership agreement. Lawyers and accountants are expensive, but they are like insurance, you only really understand the value when things go wrong. You can also get their help…
5. Writing your business plan
As with research, time spent planning is rarely wasted, and writing your business plan is a useful process because it forces you to articulate what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Some of the questions your plan will answer are.
- What benefits will your customers get from using you?
- Why are you better than the competition?
- How will you market your services or goods?
You’ll need a business plan if you want to raise money, attract investors and often for renting premises or leasing equipment and so it’s worth making sure this is of excellent quality.
6. Organizing the practicalities
Working from home is excellent, but one of the things that people often report is that there is no separation between work and home. Having a dedicated workspace is a good idea, especially if you can dedicate a room for your business because you can close the door at 5.30 pm and unwind.
You’ll need to have desk space, a computer and any other equipment that is specific to your type of business and so having a particular area is really useful.
Don’t forget to get the necessary permissions. Check your rental agreement and make sure you’re allowed to work from home and make sure your insurance covers you, and if not, then upgrade your policy.
Don’t wait until you are up and running to think about money. Organize a business bank account and make sure you have easy ways for your customers to pay, such as UTP’s eCommerce Payment Gateway (for more info check www.utpgroup.co.uk). Research shows that the more comfortable you make it for customers to pay, the more likely they are to do so!
7 . Set your start date
The truth is that although now is a great time to start a business, there is never a perfect time. Many people get so focused on all the bad things that could happen that they never actually start a business. There will always be something that is not quite right, but if you have all the basics in place, then you can refine the rest later. So set your start date, let the world know, and jump into the world of business ownership!
Now is the right time to start your business from home
These then are our best tips for things to do before you start your home-based business.
It’s not an exhaustive list, but we’d say that as long as you have an enquiring mind and are always learning, then owning your own business is one of the most rewarding and positive experiences you can have. We wish you the very best of luck with your new business.