How do I Start a Home Business?

Sheri Cyprus

To start a home business, you should first identify what it is you can do that people will want or need. Then, you should do enough research to be able to create at least a basic business plan. Checking with your local government office or city hall is important, as you'll need to meet zoning and other laws for home-based business ventures. Having the necessary equipment, operation schedules and financial security in place before you're ready to start a home business is crucial.

People starting a home business should have at least six months of savings.
People starting a home business should have at least six months of savings.

Many financial planning experts advise that people who want to become self-employed in a work at home job have at least six months of living expenses saved up first. Doing this can help avoid the consequences of giving up a steady paycheck to start a home business. While the pros of a home-based business include being your own boss and making your own hours, the cons include needing to generate an income as well as having to engage in substantial marketing efforts to accomplish this.

Typically, business licenses and related permits are granted at city hall.
Typically, business licenses and related permits are granted at city hall.

Marketing your business to get paying customers takes time; it includes promotion, advertising and just getting the company name plus contact details out to its audience. To start a home business successfully, you're going to have to make a considerable time investment. Creating a detailed schedule that includes all of the major steps that need to be accomplished to properly operate your business can help keep you on track time wise. If you'll have a business partner, you can then divide the tasks. Operation schedules should include who will complete certain marketing, accounting, writing, communication and other business-related tasks and on what specific deadlines.

Budgeting for start-up costs is absolutely necessary. While it can be tempting to overspend for the sake of having everything shiny and new, it's a much better idea to buy only what is needed at the time, preferably used or on sale. To start a home business, only the most basic office equipment is generally required as well as any equipment you'll use for your products or services. The better you are able to keep start-up costs down, the less likely it is you will suffer a profit loss.

Your business plan should state the goals of your company, such as what it wants to accomplish in the marketplace. It should mention research you've done on your competition and how your home business will thrive despite competitors in the industry. Who your customers are and what they need and want must be included in the plan when you choose to start a home business; if there is no demand for what you've chosen to do, you'll be likely to fail before your company even has a chance to really get going. You should also research and note specific legal necessities such as whether a business license is required.

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