Questions for a Home-Based Business by Dave Archer
Self-employment and the advent of home-based business is growing nationwide – as is the coaching industry. Most coaches are based out of their home. It would be smart to ask yourself if you have what it takes to have a home-based business. Consider these questions:
- Are you a self-starter? Can you truly set an agenda for yourself every day to complete the necessary tasks at hand without anyone else holding you accountable? If you think being a home-based business owner means working sporadically, think again; most successful home-based business owners log many more hours than they ever did at a traditional job.
- Are you happy working alone? Working in a quiet home office may seem like a dream come true at first, but if you’re a people-person and thrive on outside stimuli, you may feel isolated working alone.
- How strong is your financial picture? Many home-based businesses today are being founded by people who have been down-sized or forced from retirement due to dwindling portfolios. While a home-based business helps you avoid many traditional costs, you will still incur start-up and operating costs, and it may take some time before you start seeing a steady stream of income.
- Do you have the space available to conduct a professional enterprise? One of the toughest challenges is keeping your business and personal lives separate. This means having dedicated office space, specified work hours, and having a plan for handling distractions, such as children and pets.
- Do you envision having employees work for you, or clients visit you at your home office? You need to make sure you consider zoning, insurance, and neighborhood association rules. Far too many home-based businesses have been thwarted when they learn they must severely limit foot and vehicle traffic and on-site parking to comply with local zoning rules and regulations.
- Can you wear more than one hat at a time? Most small business owners juggle multiple responsibilities, some of which may not be your strong suits. As a sole proprietor or the lone individual in your LLC, you’ll likely start out being responsible for tasks including billing, accounting, inventory, sales and customer service, in addition to the everyday business operations.
- Do you have a Plan B? In today’s economy, it’s not enough to have one contingency plan; you need several. Many home-based business owners launch and grow their businesses while they’re still employed by someone else, so that you’ll have essentials such as a steady income, health insurance and retirement benefits until you can provide them for yourself.
- Do you have a business and marketing plan and budget? Developing an official business and marketing plan and a budget is the first step of starting any business. Who are your customers? Who are your competitors? And, establishing a working budget early in the start-up process will also help you with record-keeping, accounting and tax prep as your business progresses. Remember that while home-based business costs are tax-deductible, you must keep detailed, accurate records of everything, from utility costs to home repairs.
- What business licenses and permits do you need? You need a business license if you operate from home. The type of license you’ll need depends on where you live and what type of business you’re operating. You may also need special permits to launch a home-based business, such as home-use permits and permission from your homeowners association to operate a business at home.
- What insurance do you need? Insurance costs are one of a small business’ largest expenditures, so it’s important to consider your insurance needs prior to launching your operation. You’ll probably need specific homeowners insurance, and you may also need workman’s comp or additional liability coverage, along with health insurance for you, your family and employees, if you have them.
Coaches, consider these questions and your answers. It may also make sense for you to forward this email to some of your clients who are considering home-based businesses, as well.
© Dave Archer is the Chief Executive Office of NCET – Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps Nevadans start and grow their businesses by connecting them to the resources they need to succeed. NCET’s programs include the NCET Entrepreneur Expo and the Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition. You can find more information at www.NCET.org. NCET is not affiliated with the State of Nevada and receives no state funding.
And to help you get clear about communicating who you are, what you do, and why it matters, access the well-received teleseminar So, What Do You Do? Available for immediate download!