2020 has introduced many of us to the idea of working from home.
While it’s absolutely not for everyone, this extended period of remote working has got the gears turning in some people’s heads. They’re considering doing this full time, or perhaps even starting their own business they can run from home.
Home businesses are nothing new, but there’s never been a better time to start your own. New digital tools and a number of guides on how to maximize your garage office has made the idea of following their dreams from the comfort of their own home more accessible than ever to the average Joe.
But how do you ensure that dream doesn’t die out? In this article, we’ll cover what makes a great long-term home business, ensuring your bedroom operation has staying power, and won’t have you scurrying back to the office with your tail between your legs by the end of the year.
An affordable idea
First and foremost, a great home business idea needs to be affordable and slot into your pre-existing life with little hassle.
A home business shouldn’t force you to restructure your home, put yourself at financial risk, or make your living space one full of delivery boxes and servers. Running a home business requires you to put greater attention towards a healthy work-life divide. You should be able to work without throwing your entire routine out the window.
Yes, there will be times you’ll have to spend the whole weekend fixing your website or stay up late to accept a last-minute product delivery — but it’s important you never go overboard with both spending and time commitments.
This is why business models such as dropshipping have become so popular in recent years. They take all the fuss and logistical issues out of running an ecommerce store. There may not be a direct comparison for your home business idea, but there will be ways to digitize your business to save space and reduce its impact on your life.
Great tools at your disposal
It’s said a great artist never blames their tools, but you can’t start much of a home business without the right equipment.
Home businesses are usually digital businesses — they focus on solving problems with machines or providing a creative or technical skill. These roles are hard to do properly without the best (or most comfortable) gear you can find.
However, these tools can often be quite costly. That’s why it’s usually best to use a provider such as cloud solution distributor inty.com or all-encompassing accounting software systems such as xero.com, as their packages include a number of essential tools in one you’d only end up paying for more individually anyway.
No matter what industry you’re in there are a number of tools you’re going to need. Here are just a few:
- Social media management (Facebook ads, customer service)
- Digital communications (Video conferences, internal messaging services)
- Content creation (High-quality graphics, grammar editing)
All of these will help prepare your business for expansion, keep it competitive, and ultimately save you time and frustration.
Strong understanding of the web
In today’s digital world, being a business owner requires a strong understanding of the internet.
You don’t need to be a technical wizard or understand the ins and outs of advertising through Facebook, but it’s crucial you have your finger on the pulse of digital trends and are willing to embrace new developments online.
If your business can’t speak the language of the internet or find an audience on these ever-popular digital platforms, it won’t get very far.
In the early days of your home business, make sure you have an understanding of basic digital marketing and commit to thorough audience research. When you’re the only person working for the business it can be difficult to balance multiple tasks, but this is perhaps the most crucial time investment you will make outside of your actual work. Google advertising, email marketing, and social media content will be the backbone of any efforts to attract clients, appeal to customers, and build your brand (and increasingly important part of running a small business online, as this hubspot.com guide explains).
Likewise, you need to have your finger on the pulse of great web design. Think of your website as the center of your business. It’s your backroom office and storefront at the same time. Your website is everything anyone needs to know about your business. It’s important you understand how to help it rank organically for important keywords, create a user-friendly experience that guides first-time visitors exactly where they want to go, and provides a secure experience that won’t put their personal data and information at risk
Consider researching how to promote yourself online, use some tools such as Google Trends to get a picture of your audience and the conversation around your sector, and start networking with other home brands that might prove to be interesting collaborators in the future.
A business plan with room for growth
If you want to ensure your business survives in the long-term, stick to your business plan.
Sure, it’s tempting to veer off track and expand into a new service or put money down on a new advertising scheme if you start to find some unexpected success, but it’s crucial to stick to the plan you set for yourself at the beginning of your remote working journey.
Slight tweaks can help your business capitalize on untapped markets and explore new profitable avenues, but you should predominantly look to stay on the path you set for yourself at the beginning.
However, it’s important that within this plan you have room for growth — and growth that fits your desire to keep working from home.
Home business growth takes into account whether or not you want to be in an office space a couple of days a week, how you’ll approach bringing in new staff as you expand, and generally how you can upscale a business while continuing to hold board meetings in your pajamas.
A long-term home business plan should have room for slight adaptations but should put your working goals ahead of all else. If you want to keep operating out of your bedroom you should put that goal at the center of your operations. Ensure you have the tools and research to back up your ideas and you’ll be set for the long-term.
Photo by manny PANTOJA on Unsplash
Creator, Rodney Laws; Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio