Ever wonder if you could start a small business right at home? It’s more common than you might imagine.
According to Forbes, as of 2013, more than half the small businesses in the U.S. were based out of someone’s home. While this is encouraging news, you still might feel overwhelmed about where to begin. That’s why we put together this helpful list of six simple steps to starting a small business at home:
- Take inventory. Think about the things you bring to the table as a prospective small business owner. For example, do you work well independently? Most small business owners are driven to succeed and start off working alone rather than with a team of employees. Would you be able to stay motivated working from home instead of in an office environment? If not, you may need to reconsider your options.
- Develop a great small business idea. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, make a list of the skills and talents you bring to the table and consider how you could turn them into a home-based business. Are you good at creating business strategies and giving sound advice? Perhaps you’d make a great business consultant. Do you enjoy crunching numbers and filling out paperwork? You could make a living doing both as a bookkeeper or tax preparer.
- Do a reality check. Once you have a list of potential home-based business ideas, it’s time to take a long, hard look at whether you could actually make them work. For example, if you plan to build or make products to sell, you’ll need the right space and equipment at home to do it. You’ll also need to check whether your neighborhood is zoned for home business to ensure it’s legal to operate one there.
- Determine whether you can make a profit. This is where the rubber hits the road! Figure out your profit margin by determining how much you would need to first invest in and then charge for your products and services. If your calculations show you wouldn’t be able to make a living off your home-based small business idea, it’s not a viable option.
- Create a business plan. Once you determine your profit margin, you can develop a business plan. This entails doing a lot of research about your small business idea and putting it into writing. If, based on your findings, your idea would not be successful, move on to the next idea. Part of the process of creating a business plan is to determine whether an idea is worth pursuing.
- Use all available resources. There are numerous tools and organizations dedicated to helping make small business owners successful. Check out the website for the U.S. Small Business Administration for advice on getting funding. You can also look for additional support through your state and local government. Lastly, contact the local branch of your bank to learn about the products they offer designed specifically for small business owners.