How to Start Your Own Business from Home
A top financial advisor has tips on how to build on your big idea.
Have you ever wondered how to turn your dreams of owning your own business into a reality? We can help. Each week, as part of our Self Made series, we showcase female entrepreneurs—as well as their quality, handmade goods—and share their best advice related to starting, maintaining, and growing your own business.
There are few better ways to work from home than starting your own business. "Home-based businesses are the most convenient way to make money," says financial advisor Phylese Prince. "Growing your company from home provides you with the flexibility of growth opportunities, personal freedom, and more time spent with your family." While the benefits are many, starting a company from the comfort of your own home takes determination, discipline, and, above all else, a great business idea. "You have to ask yourself, 'What would I love doing at any time of the day?'" says Prince. "One specific home-based business that's thriving at this time is advising/consulting (in hundreds of markets)."
Dreaming of starting a home-based business? Scroll down for five tips from Prince to assist you with your launch.
Identify your market (and how to reach them).
Make no mistake about it: A business is only as good as its marketing. That's why Prince says it's so important to take your target market—and the ways you'll market to them—into account when deciding on a home business. "Identify the qualities of your ideal customer," she says. "A great way to market your business is by starting with your family and friends. Do you plan to use social media or word of mouth to grow your business? Launching a business website increases the credibility and professionalism of your business."
Pick the right price.
When deciding on the cost of your product, Prince says it's essential to price your product around market value. "Pricing your product correctly is directly correlated with sales," she says. "As your business reputation grows, so can your pricing. Don't be eager to make sales immediately after starting up. Build credibility and connections, your business will speak for itself."
Communication is key.
Prince says providing consumers with a positive customer service experience is every bit as crucial as the product itself. "Communicate with potential customers as often as possible," she says. "If people have questions about your product or service, be sure to reply back. If you're creating a website, be sure to add a Q&A section to minimize the questions asked to you personally. This will allow you to allocate more time on building your business rather than responding to customers."
Mind the legal matters.
As with any business, in-home or not, Prince says there are several legal aspects to consider when launching a new company. "Along with applying for a business license, which also includes naming your business, and an Employer Identification Number (EIN), check out the laws and regulations in your state relevant to the type of business you're starting," she says. "If applicable, apply for licenses and or permits and set up a business account with your bank, as well as a P.O. box."
Consider the costs.
Depending on the type of home-based business, Prince says startup costs can be pricey. Luckily, there are a few methods of funding that she says are common with first-time business owners. "If you can't fund the business with you own money, consider collaborating with family or friends to split the cost," she says. "You can also look into taking out a small business loan from the bank or financing your purchase order through the supplier (if eCommerce)."