Starting and running a home business can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources out there to help you no matter what stage of the process you are at. I’ve collected some of the best tips to help you fulfill your dreams of owning your own business.
When running a business from home be sure to save every receipt from expenses incurred such as mortgage, energy, phone and insurance payments. The expenses incurred in maintaining your home can be included in your deductible expenses when filing your taxes. The percentage of your home used for the home business is the percentage of the expenses you can deduct from your taxable earnings.
Get a dedicated phone line. This is essential, regardless if it’s a home or cell phone, if you spend a lot of time talking to clients on the phone. This expense is 100% deductible. If you talk to your clients occasionally, make a note of the calls, and write them off as an expense as long as you have back up to prove that it is a business call.
Be nice to your customers. Most people are great to deal with, but you will inevitably run across an unhappy buyer, who is rude to you. Realize that it isn’t worth your time to argue or to name-call. Treating rude people with kindness usually calms them down and besides, you don’t have time to get into fights, anyway. You have a business to run.
To keep better track of your business’ finances open a separate checking account that is just for your business. Ensure that all of your business’ income and expenses go through this account. Practice good bookkeeping and keep track of every penny spent and earned. You may also want to get a small business credit card for expenditures.
Obtain all necessary permits and licenses. If you sell a product, you may need a state sales-tax certificate, and if customers visit your home, you may need an occupancy permit. License and zoning laws can be complicated but can usually be found online. If you’re unsure, it’s best to hire a lawyer. Obeying the laws will help you avoid being fined or even losing your business.
If you plan on selling products from your home business online, you must be sure to choose a good merchant account. A merchant account will enable you to accept credit card payments both online and offline. A top-of-the-line merchant account should have totally secure transactions, be able to be integrated into your shopping cart software, and should deposit payments to your bank account in a timely manner.
In order to make as much money as possible, your home business needs to have a professional looking website. Whether you design your site yourself or hire someone to do it, make certain that the advertising on your site is appropriate, and be sure there are no missing links or images. If your business has an amateurish looking website, you will lose customers.
When you have decided on what type of home business to start, think of a catchy and descriptive name for your business. Your business name should be something that will catch the attention of potential customers who are looking for that specific type of goods or service. For example, “Betty’s Distinctive Chocolates” will attract the attention of people who are chocolate lovers.
Be a forward thinker. Looking to past success may keep you looking back and prevent present action. You should be focusing on what will happen tomorrow or even next week. This can help you prepare for things that will happen in the future. Through this process, you will never be surprised.
Make sure your computer is protected. You will keep much of the information and data related to your home business on your computer. Purchase a virus protection program, make sure your firewalls are enabled and download anti-spy software. These programs will help your computer maintain its vital role in your business.
Be sure to invest some money into a great virus scanner for your computer. Your computer is the backbone to your home business and if it becomes infected with viruses you are going to be out of work for some time. Get a virus scanner, firewall, anti-spyware, and anti-ad, all of which can be found on the internet for little if any cost at all.
Networking is important, so don’t make enemies with your fellows. In fact, you should swap coupons and discount ideas with people in your field. Online forums of people in like businesses often have great tips for newcomers, so be sure to keep an ear out and introduce yourself to people you’re interested in learning more from!
Ensure success of your business in its earliest stages by working to keep overhead costs as low as possible, especially if you are working with limited funds. Look for ways to minimize costs up front; one easy way to do this is to focus more on the tools needed to get the job done rather than splurging on expensive new office furniture and fancy desktop gadgets.
Keep records that document all expenditures you make for your home business on a day-by-day basis. Make sure you stay on top of record keeping so you can get the most out of your tax deductions and also to help if you are audited.
Remember to give people a reason to buy things from you! When you are marketing your product or service, it is easy to spend too much time explaining “what” you do, and “how” you do it, forgetting about the customer. They often forget to explain ‘why.’ Why do you need to have this product or service? This could be the difference between losing and landing a sale. Be sure you’re adding this ‘why’ question to your website and things like promotional materials.
Don’t get overwhelmed by your new venture. For every issue you have to handle, some someone else has been there, done that, and shared what they have learned. You can survive every obstacle that comes your way if you take advantage of the resources that are available to you.