When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, businesses all around the globe had to either transition online or cease operations completely.
While big organizations were trying to reorganize their operations to cater to the new ‘online era of business’, a new form of sustainable, low-investment entrepreneurship started to sweep the world’s markets. Everyone from college students to homemakers wanted a piece, and fortunately- the market adapted to accomodate these small scale business owners. And it seems as if that consumers have not and will not move on from the benefits of buying locally from home businesses even after Covid is all but gone. So, if you were considering turning your garage into the next big thing- there has never been a better time!
Starting a small business might seem like a big step to a lot of people; but trust me- the right idea and a little bit of effort can absolutely move mountains. And like any other good plan, starting your home business has to start somewhere. Here’s a comprehensive list of must-do’s that will have you well and truly on your way to becoming the next hit home entrepreneur:
Find the right idea
Alright, right off the bat, a great idea doesn’t necessarily have to be new; revolutionary or even unique. A good business idea is about recognizing demand- and creating a supply chain to meet that demand.
It helps immensely if you have experience, expertise or even a degree in the idea you are about to pursue- but it’s never too late to learn even you have none. Easy and low investment business ideas include baking, knitting and freelance. For those of you with a bit more experience- the SBA predicts that 70% of all IT and 68% of all construction businesses are based out of homes. Graphic work, data entry are also easy to learn skills that can help you get started on your very own marketing agency.
But before you’re dead set, do a quick mental check on if the idea is actually sustainable from your home. For example, a cooking business is easy to run from your kitchen while a catering one is almost impossible. If your business idea feels to grand, it’s probably because it is. Remember, it’s never a bad idea to scale down when you’re starting out.
The Business Plan
Now that you have an idea, it’s time to jump head first into buying the essentials and start producing, right? Nope, a business without a plan might seem poetic, but it’s a ticking time bomb. A good business plan will at the very least include:
A business overview
A market analysis
Product/ Service description
A pitch if you’re looking for investors
A marketing and financial plan
And as you make your business plan, you’ll notice a lot of details coming up that you missed during your primary ideation. These details will not only help you reanalyze your idea, but also give you more clarity as to where you want your business to head.
Finding an identity
Ultimately what helps your business stand out is rarely the idea, but more likely how distinguishable it is. This means marketing matters a lot, and good marketing requires a distinct and memorable identity. A brand identity must include:
A memorable or catchy name
An appropriate yet distinct logo
A brand color
These might seem self explanatory, but it is impossible to stress their importance. Consumers hardly ever remember your business via marketing content or reviews if your identity is not memorable. Don’t loose out on potential customers just because they forgot who you are!
License and registration
Now the type of licenses you’ll need depend wholly on the type of business you’re about to start. A home bakery- for example requires little to no licensing depending on where you live and the scale of your business. Freelancing requires none, while construction and IT businesses will require you to get trade licensing and equipment registration. If you plan to hire employees, an Employee Identification Number or EIN is also essential.
If your business is at a personal scale, it may require almost little to no funding. Larger businesses however, require greater funding depending on the business type. How you get your funding is completely up to you. If you need external funding, that is- investment from someone other than you and your immediate family members, a good investment pitch can never be overlooked.
And once you’re done gathering all the funds required to start your dream venture, it’s also important to separate your personal and business finances. Say, if you invest 50 dollars into your business, it is important to ensure that no extra cent comes out of or goes into that 50$. Open a separate bank account for your business and keep track your business spending to ensure a proper break even.
Marketing and sales
We’ve talked about this before- “BUSINESSES DEPEND ON MARKETING AS MUCH AS THEY DEPEND ON PRODUCTION.”
The type of marketing you set out to do changes significantly depending on your business type, identity and scale. For example, a home cooking business is bets marketed via word of mouth, whereas complex business require mailing and marketing to specific clientele. Either way, it’s always a good idea to reach out to agencies who specialize in marketing and branding.
Sales management is also essential to business growth. Your sales team (or, yourself if you’re not hiring) must keep track of daily order volume and predict growth in the future for your sales to keep up to demand.
Once you’re done with all of the above steps, it’s time to get into the fun part- production! Remember, a little bit of effort and concentration to the details will help your business get a head start in competitive markets. You reap what you sow, and a business with honest roots and established goals will surely take your portfolio to the next level. If you’re still undecided as to how to approach your business, check here for more resources.