Contrary to the hype, you probably wont make millions of dollars overnight while wearing your pajamas. Many new home-based businesses fail primarily because of poor planning and management, bad execution, or because of no market for their product. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), an estimated 33% of small businesses fail within the first year, 50% fail within the second year and 60% to 70% will fail within their first five years of operation. But dont let those facts scare you. There are thousands of home-based success stories. The difference between success and failure in business is careful monitoring, planning, and management. With some business savvy, a good product, and some clever marketing, anyone can make a living by working from home.
Here are some specific action steps to help you plan, organize, and implement your new business.
1) Business Plan: A sound business plan is your roadmap to success. Writing a business plan will help you to develop your business goals and strategies. It will help you get a better understanding of the marketplace, your business strengths and weaknesses, and provide you with an opportunity to measure up the competition. It can also include financial projections, historical data, and growth expectations. Your business plan should show who your target audience is and how your product or service will meet or exceed their needs and expectations.
To organize your business plan, break it into sections such as business summary, market analysis, product positioning, marketing strategy, customer analysis, financial analysis, and overall business goals.
Once the plan is developed, dont just let it sit in a drawer. Make it a working plan (a.k.a. your blueprint to success) and refer to it often.
Dont get frustrated trying to create a 20-page scientific analysis for your business plan. Keep it simple. Unless you are speaking to an investor, a very simple one- to two-page basic business plan will do.
Note: Get a free sample business plan by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Research: Before you invest your time and money in starting a
new business, research the market. Even if you are an expert in the field or the product or service you plan to go into, research will uncover recent news, developments, trends, tools, techniques, and statistics. This information can shed new light on your business idea, help you gain strategic information on your market and competitors, and give you some ideas on marketing and pricing your goods. All the information you need is accessible right from your desktop through the Internet!
Here are some resources to help you research your market before you start your business:
a. Search engines
b. Article directories
c. Targeted resource web sites (such as Internet Marketing resource
d. Surveys You can create your own market research by conducting
your own survey. Survey Money (www.surveymonkey.com/) offers a free survey tool.
e. There are also market research firms who can help you create a survey to learn more about your market and your products viability.
3) Find a Niche: The best way to ensure business success is by
finding and filling a true need. By finding your own unique niche and specializing, you become an expert in your field and greatly narrow down the field of competition. Using branding techniques, you can build a reputation as the authority in your field. Thats just what business coach/work-at-home mom Mershon Neiser did. If she did it over again, Mershon says that she would have carved out a niche for herself much sooner. In 1991 when Mershon divorced, she took on additional responsibility as a single mother of three. Needing a steady income, Mershon sought to find a type of home-based business that would generate a constant stream of work the answer was newsletters.
Mershon specialized in writing and producing print newsletters for other businesses. Because newsletters are consistent, it provided a regular source of income her family could depend on. Mershon built herself a reputation as The Newsletter Lady and is well known nationally in the industry. She also teaches a teleclass entitled 4 Weeks to an Email Newsletter, which can help any businessperson get their new online newsletter off the ground. If youd like to learn more, visit www.mershonbell.com/.
4) Why wait for success when you can schedule it on your calendar?
If you wait for when you can squeeze in time to work toward your goals, it wont happen. Make the space and time in your life to create the change. Create a timeline for when youd like to accomplish each of your business goals and mark the dates on your calendar. By writing your deadline down, you create accountability to yourself.
5) Quantify your goals: Quantify your business goals using specific numbers and put them in writing. There is a powerful magic that occurs when you are clear and specific about your goals. If you want to make money by the end of your first year in business, then pick a dollar amount and write it on your calendar. For example, I want to make $10,000 profit above and beyond my expenses in the next year. That calculates to $833 a month. Further break that down into a goal of $208 per week. That would break down to $41.60 profit a day and $8.32 per hour for a five-hour work day. By breaking down your profit goal to a smaller amount, which you can monitor, and measure, you make it easier to track your progress and achieve your goal.
6) Three ways to prioritize your goals:
a. Three-goal rule: Write down your top three goals for the day on an index card. Then commit to DOING those tasks! If you put it off for the elusive tomorrow, that day may never come. My personal system is to divide my to do list into three separate areas: one for my core business growth activities, one for my personal and family life, and one for my profit-making business activities. Then I resolve to DO those things.
b. Baby steps: If your goals are too big and general, break them
into smaller more specific easily accomplished tasks. Find a small step that you can take today to move one step closer to your dream. Just ask yourself, what one thing can I do TODAY to help bring me closer to my goals and make the most impact for my business?
c. Focus: Do you have a to do list a mile long? As a general
rule, you will always have more goals than time in your day to accomplish them. The key is to success, is to prioritize your goals.
Take time to ask yourself, Which of these goals will help make the greatest impact today? Then focus on those goals. When you simplify a list of 20 goals down to three key goals, it helps you stay focused.
When you accomplish your first task, then you can move on to the next one.
7) Build a personal support team: Behind every winning athlete is a coach! Similarly, if you want to be at the top of your game in business, a business coach, mentor, or personal support team can help you get there. A business coach can help you prioritize your business goals, cast a vision, make the most efficient use of your resources, and keep you on track. Additionally, I would encourage you to find someone to mentor you. An ideal mentor is someone who is highly successful at what you want to do. Ask that person if they would take you under their wing and share their secrets for success. Lastly, develop a circle of friends and business associates you can turn to for advice, support, encouragement, and accountability. A personal support team will supercharge your creativity, and provide a forum for sharing ideas and enriching your life.