Thinking of starting a work from home business this summer? You’re in luck, because there is no better time than the present to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. There are ten essential steps required to start a work from home business. If you want to start making money to fund your upcoming summer vacation or just to pay your bills (and possibly live your dream lifestyle), put these steps into practice to start a business – and start doing it today.
1. Decide the Value You Will Offer
Before you start a work from home business, you must decide what type of value you will offer to your paying customers. Will you offer a product or a service, or possibly both? Whatever that offering is, it should be valuable and you should be able to get started selling your products and/or services immediately; that is, if you hope to get your work from home business started sooner rather than later.
2. Identify Your Target Market
Whatever it is you plan to offer when you finally do start a work from home business, make sure there are people out there who would gladly pay for such a product/service. Social media makes this easy. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any others and start searching for like-minded customers. You may have to search your competitors to see what they’re offering, and how they most appeal to your target audience, to get the best ideas on how to proceed.
3. Packaging, Pricing and Delivery
Whether you’re selling widgets or window washing services, you must identify how you will package and deliver your products and/or services to your buying customers. This is essentially the marketing aspect, which also involves how to go out and find new customers once you actually start a business and get going.
Don’t be afraid to take a page out of your competitors’ marketing guides to copy and use what works. All the major work from home business players copy and tweak to excel online; you might as well do the same.
For example, if you are offering a product, come up with packaging, a pricing system your audience can comfortably afford and start planning the shipping services you will use so that you know which price-points to offer your customers.
If you are offering services, decide how you will communicate with clients, how you will be paid, how much to charge and how to deliver your service to the customer in a way that always has them coming back for more.
4. Decide On Your Customer Service Methods and Policies
Before you start a work from home business, decide how you will put out customer service fires whenever they happen and how you will communicate with customers after they’ve made a purchase; just in case they have any questions or concerns.
For instance, you may decide that, to set yourself apart, you’ll film a Thank You video to each customer after they make a purchase. You will then follow up with every customer within fifteen days with a coupon to help them save money on any follow-up purchases.
The lesson is that, when you start a business, you should always be focused on new customers, but you should never neglect the ones who have already bought from you. Return business is some of the best business there is.
5. Make To-Dos and Routine Schedules
Pretend that you are about to start a business tomorrow and list out all the steps you’ll take. From filing paperwork to paying bills to purchasing domain names or web hosting space, your entire day should be laid out from morning till night. You should also plan your weeks, months, six-month and year-long intervals. Keeping on schedule will help your work from home business grow as time goes by, which we will discuss in greater detail in a moment.
6. Put Your Business Plan Together
Now that you have your work from home business planned out, put it all down on paper in an easy-to-read plan that you can then show to potential business partners and/or investors. Your business plan should include your mission statement, your market and competitor research, potential obstacles you might face, cash flow projections for the next few years and all those to-dos and regular routines we most recently discussed.
The mere act of creating a business plan will solidify the concept of your work from home business in your own mind. The idea will become more real to you than you ever imagined, and that realism is important if you are going to convince others that your idea has merit.
7. Surround Yourself With Great & Motivated People
You’ll never start a business, let alone a successful one, all on your own. Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, you will likely need the help of an accountant, a business coach and other professionals who possess expertise in areas you don’t. Find these people, show them your business plan and get the help you need. Even if it’s simply advice from the local Small Business Administration, you just might succeed in gaining valuable experience and insight that can help you in all of your future endeavors as a work from home business owner.
8. Secure the Funding You Need to Grow
Most people are afraid to start a business because they lack the funds required to get their business idea off the ground. Don’t let money keep you from living your dream lifestyle. Put your business plan in the hands of local loan officers and venture capitalists any way you can. Use social media to leverage connections to famous people. Ashton Kutcher, for example, is known for investing in innovative startups. You may also want to get a Kickstarter fund going; but whether it’s a loan, a gift, crowdfunding or an investment, seek out all the revenue you can to make your dreams of starting a work from home business a stark reality.
9. Start Your Business and Have Faith
Now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Your work from home business should be easy to begin once you have the plan to guide you. Think of your business plan as your road map to success when you start a business. You have your daily, weekly and monthly processes, you know exactly how to find customers, sell to them and please them on the customer-service side, and you’ve already devised a few ways of keeping them coming back for more. After that, there’s only one thing left to do.
10. Scale Slowly but Surely
You should be planning to grow your work from home business from the get-go. Don’t grow too quickly, however. Start off slowly and let your customer-base steadily expand. Then you can scale with all those new customers. Just focus on bringing new buyers into the fold and your business will succeed and eventually dwarf your initial efforts before long.