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Launch Your Home Business

First-time entrepreneurs often find it easier to start a business from home and grow it into a full-time venture complete with an outside facility or office. Starting a business from home is a good way to test the entrepreneurial waters while saving lots of money on overhead such as rent, utilities, insurance and more. Home work is booming. More and more people are starting businesses every week from their homes. These range from small part-time micro-business ventures to franchises. Local zoning boards are easing up on the stipulations that have prevented many living in residentially zoned areas from running an enterprise from home. Are you ready to join the boom?

Estimates vary but about 40 million people now work from home. This statistic includes telecommuters–those workers who enjoy the flexibility and liberty of working for someone else, but working from their home office. As these home-based workers experience the joys and pleasure of working from home, they might opt for starting their own home-based business.

Start on a part-time basis and develop this business into a full-time homemade success.

Before we get into our possibilities, we’d like to outline some of the basics of running a business from your kitchen table, garage, attic or spare bedroom. Use these basic tips to help you start your own business.

PICK A BUSINESS YOU WILL LOVE:
In searching for the right business to start make sure you choose something that you love to do. You will be spending a lot of time making the business work, so you must enjoy what you do. There are probably business ideas that will occur to you that would do well in your community, but if you don’t love that particular type of business, skip that idea and keep thinking. Find something you love to do and then figure out how to get paid to do it.

MAKE A LIST OF HOBBIES, TALENTS & INTERESTS:
In researching the type of business you’d love to start, make a series of lists of what you’re interested in and see what you’re good at. Are there are common denominators? Do you like sports, pets, fixing things? What types of businesses could you start that relate to your interests. An individual who loves parties and music might want to consider starting a mobile DJ service.

CHECK OUT ZONING RULES:
Communities have really relaxed their rules on residential and commercial zoning now that so many people are working from home. But if your home based business means that you’ll have to have huge trucks delivering goods, then beware, your neighbors might not like it and might turn you in to the local authorities. You will not be able to set up a restaurant at home or a dry cleaning business or a commercial parking lot right on your front lawn. To find out about local zoning laws, call your town office and county clerk’s office.

REGISTER YOUR COMPANY:
Take a trip down to your county clerk’s office and register your name. You will receive a Business Index number and can then use that Business Index number to open a business checking account.

ESTABLISH A PROFESSIONAL IMAGE:
Most of your customers might never see your home office, so impress them with your professionalism and attention to detail by selecting a good looking stationery system consisting of high-grade letterhead and business cards. Get a separate phone line so no one answers the phone and just says, “Hello,” which could turn off potential customers. Get a fax machine, an answering machine or voice mail and you are in business!.

CHECK OUT YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE:
Examine your insurance policy to see if you need to beef up your liability insurance or add on any other type of coverage. There are many add-ons to consider including: business interruption insurance, business property insurance, disability insurance, non-owned auto insurance, product liability and much more.

GENERATING BUSINESS:
Print up a flier, get involved in local clubs and other networking opportunities, send out a press kit to local newspapers, prepare a direct mail piece, try and place yourself as a guest –an expert–on local TV or cable, investigate advertising , become active in local civic groups and associations, offer to give a speech at a local club or gathering, send out discount coupons, send out holiday greeting cards, teach a class at adult education, attend trade shows as a guest or exhibitor. All of these methods will help you generate business and customers.

ACCOUNTING FOR SUCCESS:
Even though you might not plan to do your own taxes–and we do endorse the notion that you visit a professional accountant for tax assistance–it’s a good idea to get a grip on basic accounting principles and bookkeeping skills. Look into a local adult education course, browse through bookstores and find a “how to” manual or enroll in a local community college, but get a little accounting help under your belt.