Negosentro.com | How to Start a Home Business | Maybe you’ve always wanted to work from home, or perhaps the thought never crossed your mind until COVID-19 hit. Either way, it’s an opportune time to launch a home business. But what does that entail? Besides developing a brilliant product or service idea, you’ll have to prepare the following before entering the market.
Create a Business Plan
A business idea, in and of itself, is not enough to launch a successful business—you need a plan. If you don’t know where to get started, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers instructions and templates for business plan writing. The website will walk you through writing a plan with the following sections: an executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, service or product line, marketing and sales, funding requests, and financial projections.
Register Your Business and Follow Legal Guidelines
Next, you’ll have to get the legal paperwork out of the way, including:
- Most businesses have to register their business name with the local and state government. You can also register with the federal government for trademark and tax exemption purposes.
- You’ll also have to choose your business structure. You can establish your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
- Next, you need to get a federal tax identification number, also known as an employer identification number, from the IRS. This number serves as a unique identifier for your business, much like an individual’s social security number.
- Depending on the type of business you open, you may need licenses, permits, or both from local, state, or federal government. These may include a general business operation license, zoning, land use permits, sales tax license, health department permits, and occupational or professional licenses. Not complying with the regulations could result in fines and penalties.
Create an Office Space
Regardless of what product or service you offer, you need a space to conduct your work. It’s essential to create a space that makes you happy but doesn’t cause distraction. Having a dedicated office space is also essential for tax deductions. Generally, you should have:
- Any specialized tools necessary for your work
- An ergonomic chair and desk
- A dedicated work computer or laptop
- Computer accessories like a printer, scanner, an uninterruptible power supply, and a backup for your data
- Good lighting, virtual or traditional telephone service, a surge protector, a fire safe box, and a shredder for sensitive documents
Once you have an office space set up, ensure your technology is set up right, and make a plan for when your tech malfunctions. Remember, if your laptop or desktop breaks, it will halt business, so plan ahead for business computer services.
Build a Brand and Website
In today’s digital age, no business is complete without a website and an online brand presence. If you don’t have experience creating a website, you don’t necessarily have to hire an expert. Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress make it easy to customize a website starting from a template. To establish your brand presence, you need to SEO optimize your site, run ad campaigns, and stay active on social media.
Create Inventory or Build a Potential Client List
If you’re selling goods, you at least need some inventory to start. If you’re selling services, you’ll want an idea of whom to target and offer your services to, so start building a target client list.
An inventory allows you to have products that you can display or hand out as samples. It’s also a good idea to have inventory as a stock management policy or software, so you don’t fall behind on orders.
A portfolio is also a form of the inventory list for custom products or services. You may not have ownership of what you created, but you can still give customers a look at what you have made and give them an idea of your skills.
Grow As You Go
Once you’ve taken these five steps, you’ll have an official, operational home business. Keep in mind that 50 percent of U.S. businesses are home-based, so you’re not alone—you can network with other entrepreneurs, seek guidance from professionals, and hire other talented individuals to help grow your business.