Choosing the Right Home Business For You

Pay any attention at all to your email inbox and you’d be
forgiven for thinking that the only way to run a business
from home is on the Internet. Sure, many people are
running spectacularly successful Internet-based home
businesses. Many, many more are doing so even more
spectacularly unsuccessfully.

But what if you’re not interested in running an Internet
business? What if you want to start and run a home
business the old-fashioned way? Where do you start?

Actually starting any home business is the easy part.
The hard part’s deciding what that business should be.

So how do you even start the process of deciding on the
right home business for you? The key is to be methodical,
realistic, objective and patient.

Step 1 : Personal Inventory

The first place to start is to inventory your skills,
experience, interests, and personality characteristics.
These are what you have to work with – your raw
ingredients, so to speak.

Make a list of personal qualities and factors that you can
throw into the mix. Include things like:

=> your personal background;

=> training and education;

=> work and volunteer experience;

=> special interests and hobbies;

=> leisure activities;

=> your personality and temperament.

All of these qualities and factors make up what you know
and what you’re good at.

Step 2 : Identify What You Like

It’s one thing to know a lot about something or be good at
it. It’s quite another to enjoy it enough to want to make it
your life’s work. So, remove from the list you created in
Step 1 anything that you don’t really, really like doing or
which plain doesn’t interest you. No matter how good you
are at it. If you’re lucky enough to like what you’re good at,
as a general rule, stick with what you know.

Step 3 : Match Your Likes With Marketable Activities

If Steps 1 and 2 still haven’t suggested feasible home
business ideas, review the following activities that have
proven marketable for others and weigh them against
your “likes” from Step 2:

Crafts – pottery, ceramics, leadlighting

Health and Fitness – aerobics instructor, network marketing
for a health products company, home health care

Household Services – cleaning, gardening, shopping

Professional Services – attorney, architect, interior
designer

Personal Services – make-up artist, hairdresser

Business Services – business plan writer, meeting planner

Wholesale Sales – antique dealer, dropshipper

Retail Sales – children’s clothing, widgets

Computers – web design, internet training.

You get the idea. This is not an exhaustive list, obviously.
You can visit the AHBBO Ideas Page for a list of over 500
home business ideas at http://www.ahbbo.com/ideas.html .

Step 4 : Make a List of Business Ideas That Fit With Your
Likes From Step 2

By the time you’re done, you’ll have a hitlist of possible
matches between your skills and interests on the one
hand and home business ideas utilizing those skills and
interests on the other.

Step 5 : Research

Armed with your list from Step 4, identify those ideas that
you think have marketable potential and then research
whether that belief is accurate. In order to have
marketable potential, the idea must satisfy the following
criteria:

=> It must satisfy or create a need in the market. The
golden rule for any business is to either find or create a
need and then fill it.

=> It must have longevity. If your idea is trendy or faddish,
it doesn’t have longevity. Go for substance over form in
all things.

=> It must be unique. This doesn’t mean you have to invent
something completely new but it does mean that there has
to be some *aspect* of your product or service that sets it
apart from the competition. This is easy if you go for the
niche, rather than mass, market. Don’t try to be all things
to all people. You’ll only end up being too little to too many.

=> It must not be an oversaturated market. The more
competition you have, the harder it will be to make your mark.
It’s unrealistic to expect no competition, of course. In fact,
too little competition is a warning sign either that your business
idea has no market or that the market is controlled by a few
big players. What you want is healthy competition where
it’s possible to differentiate yourself from competing
businesses.

This all gets back to uniqueness. If you can’t compete on
uniqueness, you must compete on price (or convenience).
If you’re forced to compete on price alone, that just drives
down your profit margin. Not smart business.

=> You must be able to price competitively yet profitably.
The price you set for your product or service must allow
you to compete effectively with other businesses in your
market, it must be acceptable to consumers and it must
return you a fair profit. If any one of these three is off,
move on.

=> Your business must fit with your lifestyle. If you’re
a parent of young children and you primarily want to start
a business from home so you can stay home with them,
a real estate brokerage business that requires you to be
out and about meeting with prospective clients is obviously
not going to work.

You’ll instead need to choose a business that can be
conducted entirely (or near enough entirely) from within the
four walls of your home office. Similarly, if your business idea
would involve having clients come to your home, you’re not
going to want an unruly 3 year old underfoot as you’re trying
to conduct business.

=> Your financial resources must be sufficient to launch and
carry the business until it becomes profitable. No business is
profitable from day one, of course. But some are quicker to
break even than others. If your business requires a
considerable initial capital outlay to start – computer, printer
and software for a web design business, for example – it will
take you longer to break even than if the only prerequisite
was the knowledge inside your own head, such as working
from home as an attorney.

If your financial situation is such that you can’t afford to quit
your day job until your business is paying its way, this, too,
will mean it will take longer to break even than if you’re able
to devote every waking hour to your business. Just do what
you have to do. That’s all any of us can do.

Step 6 : Business Plan

Once you’ve gone through the above process and identified
what appears to be the right business for you, the final “gut
check” is to write a business plan for your business, much as
you would for a presentation to a bank for financing. Include
sections for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,
and set goals for what your business needs to achieve for
you, by when, and how you are going to get there.

There are plenty of good resources online about how to
prepare a thorough business plan. A great place to start is
at About.com (http://www.about.com). Just type “business
plans” into the search box.

Although it may seem like a waste of time and effort to
complete a business plan if you don’t intend to seek outside
financing, taking the time and exercising the discipline needed
to really focus your mind on the important issues facing your
business, you will be forced to take a long hard look at your
idea through very objective and realistic eyes.

If your idea passes the business plan test, then you can be
reasonably confident that this is the right business for you.
If you come away from this exercise feeling hesitant,
uncertain and unsure, either do more research (if the reason
for your hesitancy and uncertainty is lack of information) or
discard the idea (if it’s because you don’t think your idea is
going to fly). If this happens, just keep repeating Steps 5
and 6 until you end up with an idea and a business plan that
you’re confident is going to work!

Although it’s frustrating to wait once you’ve made up your
mind to start a business from home, this really is one situation
where the tortoise wins the race. By taking a methodical,
systematic and disciplined approach to identifying the right
home business for you, you give your business the best
possible chance for long-term survival, hopefully avoiding
some very expensive mistakes along the way.

Free Business Cards

Free business cards make an excellent statement as an advertising medium for your small business. Almost all business owners, whether the business is large or small, makes use of business cards constantly. If your business has a client base, or would like to have a client base, you can use business cards to distribute to anyone you meet who might be a potential client. You can use business cards to remind your existing clients of your name, business and contact information. You can also use business cards to post in places where people gather or typically look for information. For example, if you are a farrier, posting your business card at the local veterinarian’s office would provide good advertising for your business.

Most people are familiar with business cards and welcome the opportunity to have a reminder of where they can find a product or service which they need locally. Even in a social situation, people often hand a business card to a new acquaintance. This is a friendly way to meet people as well. Face to face communication coupled with an mini-ad for your business and also provides contact information about your business

When you are looking for business cards of a very basic type, you can actually find business cards that you nothing but postage and handling fees. Ordinarily, business cards are expensive. If you are short of funds and do not mind using a bare bones business card which just happens to cost you nothing, check on the internet for one of the free business card offers.

If, as a new business owner, you have been concerned about the cost of advertising your business or your product, why not kick start your advertising business with a free business card order?
Obviously, the free business cards which you receive won’t be as heavy when it comes to card stock, the selection of fonts and designs will be limited and you won’t get multicolor print jobs. Still, having these handy little cards to distribute to customers and potential customers can be a way of getting a lot of advertising for a very minimal outlay of capital.

In fact, shipping and handling fees are a very small outlay of capital for dozens of free business cards. You will be able to spread the word regarding the business which you have just begun, even though you do not have unlimited resources to spend in order to purchase advertising. Using business cards is a very inexpensive way to receive a tremendous amount of advertising for your new business.
You do not need to think that just because the cards are free, that they appear cheap or poorly printed. Printing businesses online that offer free business cards are relying on your satisfaction. If you are satisfied with the quality and design, the company knows you will be back when it’s time to purchase business cards using the advertising money from your business.

Free business cards will often have a quite substantial number of options regarding fonts, number of lines of print on the card, where names and titles appear on the card. You can usually always have good charges in colors, both background and type font color. The background design is very often a matter of many possible choices.

Most free business card offers on the internet guarantee that your order will be shipped within two to three days. Your order is guaranteed not to be held up by delays in shipping.
Another thing that clients are often concerned about is the issue of security for sensitive personal information. Even though the order does not cost you anything, you still want sensitive personal information to be kept confidential

Starting Your Own Internet Business

Many people who have thought about starting their own internet business do not pursue it, this is due to the fact that many people believe that that the opportunity to open a successful internet business has already passed them by. When you first think of starting a home based internet business, you must do the research on the product or topic you would like to start with. Then immediately after would be the name of the new business you are about to launch. Starting a home based internet business involves basically the same strategies that come with starting any other business.

Domain is the name of your online business, and the very first thing you need to have when starting a home based internet business (and any other internet based business as a matter of fact). Looking at the above statistics and statements, you must have gathered a basic picture in your mind on how important SEO can be to your starting a home based internet business. Before starting an internet business, or if you haven’t given your internet business the attention it deserves, you must have it in your mind right now that you need to treat your internet marketing business as seriously as your job or business.

One of the main tools for your websites promotion as well as marketing is SEO, when starting a home based internet business. This is a question which comes up many times when you are new to online functioning. When starting your business you will find it very useful to have sub-
domains.

The second main method for creating your own business on the Internet is selling other peoples products/services and is more commonly known as Affiliate Marketing. There are two main ways to make money through the Internet, (1) you can create a website selling products/services that you stock and distribute or (2) selling other peoples products/services via a referral that you will then receive a commission for sales and subscriptions. The number of products available for one to sell is almost limitless you don’t even need your own products you can make a great living just collecting commission for selling someone else’s products.

Online Store- Like an eBay business, running an online store can be difficult if you have to ship products to other countries. Although eBay is located in many countries, it might be a difficult business to run. If you have finally decided to start your Internet home based business and have done all your home work.

Start a business that you enjoy, you have to be motivated to wake up in the morning ready to start the day with your home based business, you are your own boss. Now that you are in the early planning stages of your new business, you will need to find out what, if any, licenses your new business will require. Starting a home based internet business will be easy for you.

Bringing your business ideas to the Internet can be a fruitful and inspiring process. Always remember it is a business and you are not going to get rich overnight. You must keep working at it, all the hard work you put in will reward you on a huge scale.