Startup Success in Seven Days
How to Launch a Home Business in a Week
Are you looking to start your own home-based business? You are about to make one of the best decisions of your life. It can provide a large number of advantages to you in the long run in supporting your livelihood.
There are a few steps which you need to follow in order to start your own business. We detail the most prominent items for your startup to do list. We have divided those steps into seven days of the week for clarity. Launching a business takes sweat, grit and tears. With this guide, you should have an easier time at becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur.
DAY ONE – Personal Assessment
On the first day, you need to do a personal assessment. Dedicate the entire morning to this self-analysis. By giving honest consideration to the person you are, you can determine whether you are good enough to go ahead and start a business or not.
When enacting the personal assessment, you can do a SWOT analysis on yourself. With this analysis, you will be analyzing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Are you a self-motivated individual? Driven people can face challenges with bravery and guide the business in the right direction. That would, of course, be a strength. If you are afraid of failure, note this as a potential weakness (if in inhibits you from taking action). If your strengths overcome your weaknessses, hold strong to the belief that you can launch a successful home-based business. Assess the viable opportunities available in your locale and any culturel or environmental threats that may impede growth for your company. By completing the SWOT analysis, you should have confidence in your decision as to whether to move forward on the entrepreneurial path.
After deciding you are a good fit fort his way of life, it’s time to select a business idea. If you had the urge to launch a new business, changes are you have a pull toward a certain type of product or service. Endless home-based business ideas are available for you to consider (you can reference our list of businesses in this issue). If you don’t have a clear understanding on what to choose, you can do a simple research on the internet. HomeBusinessExpo.com has many lists of profitable businesses people can start.
Follow your passions-success figures all share a common sentiment, that a love for what they do lead to their companies becoming household names. Challenges won’t seem so arduous when the foundation of the venture is built on love. This passion will keep you moving forward with grit every step of the journey.
DAY TWO – Conduct Market Research and Determine Target Audience
Dedicate the first few hours of the second day toward market analysis. You have your chosen business idea. It’s time to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the local market and peoples’ preferences.
“Choose tasks you can outsource on sites like freelancer.com or Fiverr.com”
Before you begin, note that human beings are creatures of habit. When you want to buy something, you’ll tend to follow habits. When going to the store, we know where our favorite products are located. Studies note that people tend to purchase the same items for their household year after year. People generally don’t like change, unless it’s incredibly innovative or helpful and serves their needs better than the previous product.
Use market research tools to assess fruitful opportunities. Here are a couple of tools that will serve you well:
- American FactFinder– If you are planning to launch a home-based business in America, this is a resourceful tool. Check and evaluate accurate cencus data. Filter the data based on location, race, age and income, to better understand the demographhics you will be marketing to. Develop a clear picture of your target customer’s attributes and use the data to gauge the demand for your home-based business.
- Pew Research Center – This great tool can be used to find suitable opportunities in the market. It provides users the chance to conduct a variety of research, including on social media usage, political attitudes and economic conditions. The top feature about Pew Reasearch Center is that all information is presented in an anteractive way. You’ll receive granular data so it’s very specific.
During the evening of Day 2, draft a business plan. Download a business plan from a website like LivePlan or Bizplan. The U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov) has loads of helpful information about the correct format and details needed to create a standout plan. Choose a three-year timeline and set reasonable goals for each new year.
Take note of sales and internal business goals. Consider how much revenue you wish to generate at the end of the first year and steps you can take to increase it in increments in the years following. Will you have plans for expansion? New Office spaces in cities across the nation? Decide how many employees you want to begin with on your team. Choose tasks you can outsource on sites like Freelancer.com or Fiverr.com. Start corresponding with members to weed out bad candidates and find suitable long-term freelance “employees”. You can Potentially save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year outsourcing tasks like social media work, updating blogs, content writing or graphic design.
DAY THREE – Raise Startup Capital and Launch a Website
It’s time to raise capital for your new venture! If you are not in the position to spend your own savings to launch the home-based business, here are a few ways to gain funding for your venture.
- Venture Capital – Certain niches draw venture capitalists more than others, especially tech startups which have high potential for growth and long-term staying power. This financing is granted by firms to promising companies. Typical venture capitalists include investment banks, seasoned investment companies and other financial entities. Chunks of company ownership are sold to the venture capitalist groups through independent limited partnerships. It’s beneficial for both parties as the founders will have the funding to really grow their business, and the VC investors have a stake in the company, which could potentially lead to massive income in the future.
- Crowdfunding – Start a campaign on Indiegogo or Kickstarter to raise money for your startup. You will need a decent amount of money to film and edit a video with high-quality production value, that showcases your product in a creative way. Users of the website will front money toward the campaign with the promise of receiving a discounted product should the project reach its financial goal. It’s a win-win because you’ll receive the funding for your business, yet also have an instant group of customers to spread the word about the product.
- Angel Investors – These investors are wealthy individuals looking to invest their own money in small-scale businesses. Oftentimes, these investors take a liking for a startup and are inspired to see it become established. You’ll need a detailed business plan and polished “elevator pitch” to present to investors on why your business deserves a chance. Angel investors can include friends and family members, and they are often a source of advice along the way.
- Startup Competitions – Apply to be in a competition to present your idea in front of a group of investors. Well-known competitions include Shark Tank and Y Combinator Demo Day. You’ll need self-confidence and a level of comfortability in front of the camera. There are smaller competitions as well that you can pursue in your local city which may make you a bigger fish in a small pound, with a greater chance for success.
- Loans – This route is not ideal for people without a secure income stream. Avoid taking out a loan unless in a stable financial place. You can approach local banks and present your idea, but banks will often consider small businesses to be too risky. You may have more success with acquiring a business loan from reliable organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, Kabbage, and OnDeck Capital.
It’s never ideal to do it all on your own. Search online on sites like LinkedIn or Twitter and reach out to professionals for tips and advice. Look up local entrepreneurship groups in your area that you can join to meet like-minded people. Join Meetup.com groups to connect with new individuals in your industry or even to just expand your network. Become a presence in the city by engaging with the community. You may be able to raise your startup capital by meeting interested business opportunists.
Dedicate time in the afternoon to set up a website. Firstly, you’ll need to choose a domain name related to your business. The most ideal extension choice is .com but many others are prominent like .org, .net and .com. Make sure to set it up as HTTPS for secure communication and signal heightened security for visitors. You can use website-building tools like Wix, Duda, Squarespace and GoDaddy GoCentral; they are inexpensive and some are even free depending on how in-depth of a design you want.
Make sure to choose a trustworthy hosting provider like Hostgator, Bluehost or SiteGround. Set up a cloud storage system to store your important business data, invest in various hard drives and purchase a firewall security program for your internet server. Great free choices are ZoneAlarm Free Firewal and Comodo Free Firewall. If your website is primarily a blog, you should set it up on the WordPress content management platform, which is easy to maneuver and offers many ready-made themes to choose from.
If you wish to outsource this entire step and lack any understanding of web development or design, ask an expert to get the job done. Refer, as mentioned above, to sites like Freelancer.com or Upwork.com. Make sure to read through their reviews and clearly explain your requirements before purchasing the job.
DAY FOUR – Zoning, Legal, and Insurance Considerations
This step will protect your business from encountering legal trouble. Before researching zoning ordinances, determine whether you can run a business from home. Different cities and counties have limited zoning ordinances. Assess what kinds of commercial activities are permitted in your neighborhood. Visit the zoning office of your city to acquire relevant info.
Your home-based business will most likely have an office space, vehicles on site and expensive equipment such as printers, scanners and manufacturing machines, depending on the business. Acquiring insurance is an essential step for the responsible business owner.
Various insurance policies are significant for the business founder(s), partners and key employees. These include life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance, partnership insurance and key person insurance. In times of crises, having insurance will protect all members of the business in order to keep it running smoothly.
Next, figure out insurance policies you specifically will need as the owner. These include property insurance, contents insurance, business interruption insurance, and vehicle insurance. It may seem expensive purchasing so many coverage plans, but it will pay off in the event of a burglary, car accident, natural disaster, etc. Should your assets become affected, the insurance company will step up and support you.
Obtain a liability insurance plan for the home-based business. When engaged in business operations, mistakes can happen that hurt customers or employees. Liability insurance, depending on the situation, will protect your business from financial ruin. Types available include product liability, general liability, professional liability and cyber liability insurance.
Once you obtain insurance, purchase office supplies and furniture; it’s time to set up your home office! No need to be perfect here – start with the basics and continue decorating and expanding as you progress. Key tip: have a water cooler nearby so you can stay hydrated throughout the day, and invest in an ergonomic chair and sit-stand desk. These furnishings are important for maintaining physical health in a small space.
DAY FIVE – Pricing Items and Marketing Plan
- Price It Right! – Now that you know your target audience, have set up your business space, and have a website in production, focus on pricing your products and sevices. Try to set a very competitive price at the outset. You’ll get the attention of bargain hunters and start trickling in business. Market it as an open-for-business promotion, and offer steep discounts.
Once building up a solid clientele, raise the prices to a rate that matches competitors in the local area. It’s not smart to undervalue your product, as people may view your business as a low-quality enterprise. Initial discounts are fine, but raise once you have visibility.
To determine the prices you should set, note the costs you will bear when providing the product or service. Add a markup on top of the costs to define your selling price. Keep the markup small at first, and increase based on spikes in demand.
Pricing will increase and decrease based on market demand, so keep a close watch on what other businesses in your city are charging. Try to check online each week and keep prices related to what similar companies have.
- Market Like a Boss! – Many programs have sprung to fruition in the past decade that streamline marketing processes. Here are some useful tools you can use to organize, track and produce effective marketing campaigns.
- Hootsuite – Social media platforms are the places to be for businesses of all sizes. Advertising on these mediums is relatively cheap. Hootsuite can be used to schedule posts / tweets and sync all social media profiles so you can have your business visible and connected on different platforms. Manage your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr profiles all on one dashboard.
- Due – This tool can be used to track the money spent on marketing campaigns. You can analyze outbound payments made each month, assess whether the campaigns were effective, and cut where necessary. This payment processing platform is also beneficial for all of your overall transactions made with vendors, customers and suppliers.
- Canva – Create promotional materials with this helpful website. It’s remarkably cheap and stock-full of templates for brochures, fliers, posters, presentations, etc. You can draft stylistic sales proposal and other marketing materials. The designers behind Canva did the heavy legwork and provide sensational templates that help businesses present a professional and successful venture.
- Constant Contact or MailChimp – Set up a weekly newsletter to send out to your audience. Include product updates, events information, or future promotional deals. Offer a percentage discount for new subscribers and periodic sales. Include personal videos to give a human aspect to the newsletter, and link to articles on your blog. Offer a birthday deal for all subscribers as well.
- Stock Photo Sites – Websites like 123rf and Depositphotos offer top-quality images at low price per photo. There are also a vast number of sites offering free pictures for users to download. Some of our favorites include Pixabay, Unsplash, Paxels, PikWizard and StockSnap. Decorate your marketing materials with free images that don’t require attribution.
DAY SIX – Registration, Taxes, Accounting
Spend the morning of this day focusing on paperwork. You’ll need to register your Business with your city. Check out Entrepreneur Idea.net’s article “How to Register Your Small Business in Four Steps” for more information.
An essential step is getting an Employer Identification Number, also know as the Taxpayer Identification Number. If you employ people, it’s a requirement to have one. It’s free of charge to get one; file IRS Form SS-4 or file online. The IRS doesn’t charge a filling fee. Once you have it, you’ll be able to use it when you are signing business-related paperwork.
Register for a sales tax permit for your business. To do that, visit your state’s Department of Revenue website. Follow the directions to register your business. Once you have this permit, you will be able to pay sales taxes.
Acquire a dedicated bank account for your business as well. The IRS does not want to see your business and personal funds joined together, and it will also be easier for you when filing during tax season. Link up with an accountant who will guide you on all necessary documents you’ll need to keep on hand for April’s filing deadline.
On the accounting side, make it easy! Programs like QuickBooks, FreshBooks, or Quicken make tracking income, expenses, invoices and budgets for different departments very straightforward. Having everything clearly recorded will be extremely helpful when it’s time to file taxes. You’ll be able to automate payment reminders for clients and have an almost hands-off yet functional management of your business’s bookkeeping. In the past, small businesses would need to have an accountant on retainer or take on the ardunous task themselves. The multitude of accounting software programs present today help home-based business owners evetywhere.
DAY SEVEN – Growth Plans and Personal Well-being
Now that the more technical details have been draw out, programs are downloaded and the business plan is written, look at the bigger picture. Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial at every step of the entrepreneurial journey. To be able to nurture and grow your business, you need to maintain health. Exercise daily, whether by riding your bike, going for a jog, or doing a simple 30-minute walk. Drink plenty of water, focus on having good posture, and take small breaks throughout the workday. Sacrificing sleep will inevitably lead to burnout and business failure, so get your Z’s.
Here are some straightforward ways to nurture your business:
- Connect with One New Person Daily – Home-based business owners often struggle with making organic connections when working from home. Log on to your LinkedIn account or visit a local café and strike up a casual convo with people working nearby. A simple short conversation can lead to a strong business network.
- Have an Attitude of Gratitude – Positive energy will draw good vibes and opportunities. Be grateful towards all people you connect with in the business world, including vendors, suppliers, freelancers you outsource work to and competitors. People will notice a business with a good heart at its core.
- Stick to Your Plan – Create daily to-do lists, quarterly goals and yearly milestones. Follow a strict roadmap. Entrepreneurs can be creative, and certainly do utilize this beneficial trait, but keep your business structures and on a smooth track.
As you proceed on your journey as an entrepreneur, take personal self-development classes to improve upon skills you wish to master. Take a Toastmasters course if you fear public speaking, a computer applications class to better understand the basics, and even language courses to become multilingual, which is a rarity and advantage in the business arena. Good luck and follow the career path that will bring you the most happiness.