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Top 10 Tips on Starting a Successful Home-based Business

Home based businesses are rapidly gaining in popularity. Not only do they offer you the opportunity for freedom and the flexibility to set your own work terms, but you also have control over your financial independence. What do successful home businesses have in common? Here are a few tips...

1. Research Your Market
Don't try to force a new product or service on an unwilling market. Research your intended market first, then create a product or service to fit that market. Put another way, you can't force people to want what you have to offer... but you can offer them what they want.

Your research should also include an in-depth look at your competition. Is there too much competition for the area that you plan to service? Can you offer something that your competition cannot, while still making a profit? By analyzing your competitors, you'll be able to learn from both their successes and failures.

2. Don't Try to Be Everything to Everyone
You will never make everyone happy, no matter how hard you try. So don't; instead, focus your efforts on one particular segment of the population.

Focusing on a niche market allows you to more easily build a unique and solid reputation for your business.

3. Keep Your Spending Under Control
Keep overhead costs low, and don't spend thoughtlessly. There will always be necessary expenses - for example, if you're running a business online, you'll need a good computer and a reliable Internet connection. But would you also need new, top-of-the-line home office furniture? Figure out which expenses are true necessities, and which are luxuries. As cash flow improves you can look into purchasing other items you may need.

4. Keep Growing
A business can't be successful unless people know about it. That's where marketing comes in. All businesses require hard work - and even after you've established your business, you will need to continue to work hard in order to make it grow. At times, the hard work may be necessary just to sustain your current level of profitability.

5. Have a Contingency Plan
Learn to recognize the signs of trouble. By pinpointing potential problems before they occur, you can try to prevent them from occuring at all. Develop a well-thought-out contingency plan to keep your business running with a minimum of lost time, effort, or profits.

6. Learn From Your Mistakes, and Build On Your Successes
Just as you will experience success in some of the things you do, you will also make some mistakes. In both cases you'll have an opportunity to improve your business. Ask yourself what you did right (or wrong), why it worked (or didn't work), and what you could do differently.

Ask yourself questions. What kind of startup capital do you need? What are your estimated monthly expenses? Is your business making the profits you expected? If so, what are you doing right and how can you improve upon it? If not, what can you do differently? What are your competitors doing and how can you convince customers to switch (or stay) with you?

These types of questions will help you to make smart, educated business decisions -- decisions that will help your business to grow and flourish.

7. Be Customer-Focused
It's much easier to sell to a happy customer, than to try convince a new prospect to buy from you. Be professional, courteous, and always deliver a quality product or service. Your customers will be thrilled and much more inclined to come back.

8. Target Your Marketing
This goes back to the research you did before you started your business. Know who to target in your marketing efforts. You want to attract people who are interested in what you have to offer -- not just curious 'passers-by'.

9. Take Your Business Seriously
There are lots of images floating around that show relaxed 'home business owners' reading a book, playing with their kids, lounging in a comfortable chair, etc. There's a tendency to think of a 'home business' as 'not real work', or not as serious as a 'real' (corporate) job.

To start and build a successful business, it needs to be treated like a business - not a hobby. Take it seriously and work hard to achieve your goals.

10. Do Something You Love!
This is what it all boils down to. Find something that you're passionate about, and will enjoy doing. Business doesn't have to be a daily grind; it can be a true pleasure!

Creating a Professional Image for your Home-Based Business

Like it or not, there is still a segment of the population who will erroneously assume that you and your business are less than professional and competent just because you run your business from your home.

You want their business? Well ... yes. OK, then you're going to have to play the game and beat them at it. Here's how to do it.

HARMLESS FICTIONS

The name of the game is creating the right image ... employing a few harmless fictions, in other words. First off, incorporate or register a fictitious business name. Nothing screams "PROFESSIONAL!" to Potential Client as a corporate or business name on your letterhead and business cards. Spend Rs 750/- to register a good domain name, it at least *looks* professional, and that's what counts.

OFFICE ADDRESS

The next problem you have with Potential Client is that you don't want your home address to give you away. What do you think looks more professional in Potential Client's eyes: 123-E, Major Commercial Street, BigCity or 123/3/E Small Town, SmallCity? Of course, the first one. Right? But, I know, you canít now afford it. You can get P.O. Box from the Post Office and use it for correspondence or use (with permission, of course) your relativeís office for this purpose.

TELEPHONES

The better way is to use Mobile phones. Once Potential Client becomes an actual client and you've proved to his satisfaction that you are professional and competent, you can tell him that you've decided to start working out of your home to reduce unnecessary overheads and give him your direct phone umber.

EMAIL

Something else to think about is the image of your email address. Which is Potential Client to consider more corporate/professional: telepk@yahoo.com or info@TelePk.com. It's worth spending Rs 750/- a year on your own domain name just for the professional email address, even if you never intend to create a website.

STATIONERY AND PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS

It goes without saying that your stationery, business cards and other promotional materials should reflect a professional image. If you have incorporated your business or registered a fictitious business name as recommended earlier, this is a good start. A company or business name on letterhead and business cards can't fail to convey a professional image provided they are professionally printed on quality stationery stock.

OFFICE EQUIPMENT

You donít need quality office equipment for your office, but a good computer with a normal printer is a must, because there are many things that you may need to print.

The Truth about Building a Business on the Internet

We've all read claims of fast money; the alluring siren-call of the Internet 'get-rich-quick' scheme can be hard to resist.

Most of us have also heard the saying, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is..." We know in our hearts that 'get-rich-quick' can't possibly work, yet we can't help but be planned by it.

Instead of practicing the fruitless search for a quick and easy way to make money on the 'net, drill the following into your brain right now: There is NO SUCH THING as 'get-rich-quick'. You CAN earn a solid income from the Internet, if you're willing to put in the time, effort, and money.

Here's a quick summary for those of you who are thinking about starting a business online. Let's start with the disadvantages first, to get them out of the way...

Hard work and long hours

Just like any business, building one online requires a great deal of effort. Most people do it while still working a full-time job elsewhere; you may find it hard to keep doing what you have to do when you're always 'exhausted'.

Always changing
What works online today might not work tomorrow. When you do business on the 'net you have to constantly 'keep up' or you may find profits beginning to lag. Educating yourself is a continuing process. If you hate change then the Internet is probably not for you.

Need to be able to cut through the 'hype'
You'll find plenty of misleading promises on the Internet, many of which will tell you that there's some sort of 'magic bullet' to getting sales. There isn't. Sorting through marketing techniques that work and those that don't can be very time-consuming.

Definitely *not* a quick-rich-quick scheme!
Regardless of what you may read, the Internet is *not* the path to quick, easy money and not everyone will be successful online. An online business contains an element of risk, just like any other business.

"Build it and they will come" does NOT apply to the 'net
Your web page is only one of billions. Learning how to get the *right* people to see your site is a tough job.

Determination is vital to your success
Just like with any business, there's a lot to learn. It's very easy to give up and try something else online... but playing this game isn't going to help you make money any faster.

That being said, there are lots of advantages for doing business on the Internet! It truly offers one of the best opportunities for the 'average' person to test their entrepreneurial spirit. Some of the advantages of being an online business owner are:

Affordable startup costs
You can get started with just a few thousand rupees.

Flexible
Because your work is done on your computer and from home, you get to choose when you work.

Possibility of more free time Ė eventually
Some online businesses can be automated to a certain extent. Automation will help to reduce your workload and eventually give you more free time.

Testing and research are relatively cheap
Need to find out what your potential audience thinks of a product idea? Chances are, there's a message board (or a hundred) where your potential audience gathers. Need to research your competition? Use the search engines. There's so much you can do online for little or no money.

Exciting!
If you thrive on change, the Internet is one of the best places to get it! You can experiment and test to your heart's content for minimal cost.

Ever-growing
Every day more people get 'connected' to the 'net. That means that your potential audience is always growing.

Multiple streams of income
You have the ability to sell lots of different products online - including other company's products, in return for a commission - which means that you can potentially earn several 'pay cheques'! A bunch of 'smaller' cheques may not seem like much on their own, but add them all up and they can become a solid stream of income.

Opportunity is everywhere!
The Internet reaches a worldwide audience with a wide variety of interests. There are countless niches on which you can focus your energies!

Some people turn a profit within just a few months; others take years. There are lots of 'little guys' - small, home based businesses - who are happily and successfully earning a living from the Internet. Will you be the next?

 



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