|Home based businesses are rapidly gaining in popularity. |
Not only do they offer you the opportunity for freedom and
the flexibility to set your own work terms, but you also
have control over your financial independence. What do
successful home businesses have in common? Here are a
=== 1. Research Your Market.
Don't try to force a new product or service on an unwilling
market. Research your intended market first, then create a
product or service to fit that market.
Put another way, you can't force people to want what you
have to offer... but you can offer them what they want.
Your research should also include an in-depth look at your
competition. Is there too much competition for the area
that you plan to service? Can you offer something that
your competition cannot, while still making a profit? By
analyzing your competitors, you'll be able to learn from
both their successes and failures.
=== 2. Don't Try to Be Everything to Everyone.
You will never make everyone happy, no matter how hard
you try. So don't; instead, focus your efforts on one
particular segment of the population.
For example... let's say you run some sort of business
related to gardening. Gardeners range in skill from
the rank amateur, who can barely manage to keep even
the most robust houseplant alive; to the serious
professional who is able to nurture and coax exotic
and fragile flowers to bloom.
Instead of attempting to offer every type of plant or
information to all types of gardeners, you could instead
narrow your focus to one specific group: for example,
amateurs who are interested in colorful, low-maintenance
and easy-to-grow plants.
Focusing on a niche market allows you to more easily build
a unique and solid reputation for your business.
=== 3. Keep Your Spending Under Control.
Keep overhead costs low, and don't spend frivolously.
There will always be necessary expenses - for example,
if you're running a business online, you'll need a good
computer and a reliable Internet connection. But would
you also need new, top-of-the-line home office furniture?
On the other hand, don't balk at spending money when
you need to. Figure out which expenses are true
necessities, and which are luxuries. As cash flow
improves you can look into purchasing other items
you may need.
=== 4. Keep Growing.
A business can't be successful unless people know about
it. That's where marketing comes in. All businesses
require hard work - and even after you've established
your business, you will need to continue to work hard
in order to make it grow. At times, the hard work may
be necessary just to sustain your current level of
=== 5. Have a Contingency Plan.
Businesses go through rough times. Sometimes it will
appear to happen "all of a sudden", but there are always
warning signs. Learn to recognize the signs of trouble.
By pinpointing potential problems before they occur, you
can try to prevent them from occuring at all.
Develop a well-thought-out contingency plan to keep your
business running with a minimum of lost time, effort, or
=== 6. Learn From Your Mistakes, and Build On Your
Just as you will experience success in some of the things
you do, you will also make some mistakes. In both cases
you'll have an opportunity to improve your business. Ask
yourself what you did right (or wrong), why it worked (or
didn't work), and what you could do differently.
Ask yourself questions. What kind of startup capital do
you need? What are your estimated monthly expenses? Is
your business making the profits you expected? If so,
what are you doing right and how can you improve upon
it? If not, what can you do differently? What are your
competitors doing and how can you convince customers
to switch (or stay) with you?
These types of questions will help you to make smart,
educated business decisions -- decisions that will help
your business to grow and flourish.
=== 7. Be Customer-Focused.
It's much easier to sell to a happy customer, than to try
convince a new prospect to buy from you. Be professional,
courteous, and always deliver a quality product or service.
Your customers will be thrilled and much more inclined to
=== 8. Target Your Marketing.
This goes back to the research you did before you started
your business. Know who to target in your marketing
efforts. You want to attract people who are interested
in what you have to offer -- not just curious 'passers-by'.
You can see great examples of targeted marketing by looking
in your mailbox. If you've ever ordered from a mail-order
gardening club, you've probably received additional catalogs
from them *and* from other gardening clubs who purchase the
customer lists. They know that you have an interest in
their products, so the chances of you ordering something
are much higher than if they were to send a mailing out to
a random bunch of addresses.
=== 9. Take Your Business Seriously.
There are lots of images floating around that show
relaxed 'home business owners' reading a book, playing
with their kids, lounging in a comfortable chair, etc.
There's a tendency to think of a 'home business' as
'not real work', or not as serious as a 'real' (corporate)
To start and build a successful business, it needs to be
treated like a business - not a hobby. Take it seriously
and work hard to achieve your goals.
=== 10. Do Something You Love!
This is what it all boils down to. Find something that
you're passionate about, and will enjoy doing. Business
doesn't have to a daily grind; it can be a true pleasure!
About the Author
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, an
exclusive newsletter for eBusiness beginners. She offers
a 'no hype, no bull' approach to building a profitable
Internet business. Every issue is packed with helpful
tips and useful tools, specially selected to fit a
beginner's shoestring budget. Visit her online today
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