One of the growing trends in entrepreneurship nowadays is that of the home-based business. Ever since the advent of the World Wide Web, people have discovered that the business reach that the Internet provides offers a lucrative gateway to the world of doing business without having to leave one's home.
Take a look around you and see whether you already know some people who have ventured into a home-based business and are doing well in it. This is one of the fastest ways by which to get into the business yourself. Find someone to be a coach or a mentor or at least someone who can be your role model and pattern your own home-based business after his or her experiences.
You may think that having your own business will provide you the flexibility of having your own work hours, controlling when you go to work and how much time you spend, and this will in turn give you a lot of time to spend with your family and doing other things that you have longed to do. Yes, having your own business may eventually lead to this but be realistic enough not to expect this to happen within the first few years that you are starting on your own. You may have to put in a lot of work at the start but eventually the payoff of your efforts will all be worth it.
So let's establish what things you need to work on so that the learning curve of getting to a successful home-based business may be hastened and you avoid some of the pitfalls that others suffered because they did not plan enough.
1) Have a separate work area for your business.
Being home-based does not mean that your business has to encroach on your home environment. By setting a separate work area for your business, you manage to delineate your home activities from your business tasks. The beauty of having a home-based business is that it saves you the commute time but make sure that you put boundaries between your home and your business even if they are just a few steps away from each other.
2) Set clear goals for yourself and for your business.
Write down the things that you would want to achieve for the coming year and make this list of goals quite visible to you every day. Set both short-term and long-term goals and put it in a place where you can see them every day. Making it visible will give you that sense of direction each day and will give you that necessary boost as you see your goals being accomplished.
3) Learn to be a marketer.
Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that the lifeblood of any business is sales. But sales will not happen if you do not know how to market. First decide who your target market is based on the products or services that you want to sell and find out the best way to reach your target audience. Ask questions like "How do I attract my target market?" and "Who is my ideal customer?" Invest time and effort to boost your knowledge about marketing and hone your marketing strategies by studying how the experts do it.
4) Don't just manage your time, manage yourself as well.
Time management is really all about how we manage ourselves and how we prioritize our activities. Even if we list down all our activities and plan to allocate time for each of them, some personal habits tend to creep in the process and distract us from keeping to our schedule. Procrastination is also another big culprit and if you do not learn how to discipline yourself, you might lose out to bad habits that eat up your time and determination to accomplish your goals.
5) Network with people who can help your business grow.
Always be on the lookout not just for customers but also for people who can help you get more customers. Getting into joint ventures with businesses who already have established markets is a fast way to expand your own market base. Leverage other people's connections to reach markets that you may not otherwise reach yourself.
6) Feel, act, and look like a business person.
Even if you are running your business from home, don't scrimp on things that will make your business look professional. Don't mix your personal finances with your business account. Have a separate bank account for your business. Get a second phone line or dedicate a mobile phone just for your business. Spend on your marketing materials to make them look more business-like.
7) Learn how to automate your marketing process.
You have to learn how to do and achieve more with your limited time and resources. Automating your marketing process is one major key to optimizing what you have. Once you are able to automate most of your processes from prospecting to closing the sale, you are more likely to gain bigger returns from your efforts and you will be on your way to bigger and bigger success for your home-based business.