In the post Ideas For Homeschool Entreps, we suggested some common ideas for small home businesses that have potential for growing into larger ones. As a fourth generation entrepreneur, it seems pretty common sense how to start any of these businesses, but have discovered that 90% of Americans have no clue where to start.
A Cheat Sheet For Beginning Entrepreneurs
- Once you settle on an idea, you will want to compare what you want to do with what others are doing. Can you do it better? Cheaper? And still make a profit? Find your suppliers and figure out how much it will cost you if you are creating something, or the cost of operating your service. Subtract that from what you plan to charge and consider how much will you have to work to make a reasonable amount.
- If that works out, you’ll want to decide on a name for your business and what your advantage over other similar businesses would be. Order business cards and buy your domain name. (a .com is always recommended)
- Check your local courthouse for licenses, permits and the like you might need. Call them and they’ll direct you to who can answer your questions. SCORE is a great free resource that can help you find everything you need to get started in your state including a tax number. Go to Score.org.
- Set up a record keeping system. This can be as simple as a shoe box for receipts and some file folders. Keep good track of ALL your income and ALL your expenses, even if you don’t think it applies. Gas is a big deduction, so track any mileage you drive for any business related activity. You will also want to keep track of your customer’s name, phone number and email address if possible.
- Now, you need business! Depending on what business you are doing, you can pass out flyers, email all your friends and relatives, or what ever you think will reach the people that need your service. If you are blogging, the best way to reach your audience it to write guest posts for blogs your potential readers hang out at. Offering special deals, coupons and incentives like free gifts are time-honored techniques that work.
- Do your absolute best and make every customer feel like your most important one. Offer a discount for their next purchase or ask for referrals to keep the ball rolling.
- Once you are making money, you will need to check with an accountant, bookkeeper or SCORE about when and how to file your sales tax. This is important!
- You’re well on your way by now, and you’ll find a new obstacle at every turn. Don’t be discouraged, because this is what it’s all about. Problem solving, creative ways to stretch money, and keeping things rolling is part of the game.
- If you haven’t already, it’s time to create a website, a Facebook page and perhaps a Twitter account as an extremely cost-effective advertising method.Other things to consider are newsletters, email marketing, newspaper ads are others to consider depending on your business.
- If you need help, don’t dive into employing others yet. Hiring others on a contract basis relieves you of the responsibility of affording to keep them in work continuously. It also gives them the opportunity to work for themselves. Talk to your SCORE rep about the guidelines that are important to follow. You can’t treat someone that is contracted to do work for you the same as an employee.
This is the bare bones basics, and of course it varies so much by what business you’ve chosen that it may not apply very well to your biz. Find help if you are unsure how to proceed. SCORE is great for retail and service businesses, but are little help with online ventures. You can find lots of help for online businesses from others online if you search hard enough. Just beware, I don’t need to tell you how many …uh…how do I say…’wierdos’ online that will steer you wrong at best and rip you blind at worst. Know your sources. YouTube has some good info on some businesses, but same warning….
Enjoy the process, take time off, and remember to give back!
Let us know what you are up to and we’re happy to give you some free advertising!