Key Questions To Ask Before Running Your Business From Home

home-business
Image Source

Whether launching a new business or looking for ways to improve your existing firm, the home-based option is very attractive. The idea of avoiding the daily commute, reducing your overheads, and having full control of the brand offers huge motivation. However, you must avoid jumping straight in at the deep end and learn to analyze the situation from all perspectives. Otherwise, you could make a huge error.

Home-based ventures aren’t for everyone. Meanwhile, even those that are suited to this way of working must establish the right strategies for their businesses to thrive. The following questions should aid the cause.

#1. Can the business work from home?

Not all business concepts are suited to home-based endeavors. For example, you couldn’t possibly run a grocery store from your home. This list of home business ideas should provide inspiration and help you decide whether your concept is a winner or not. Of course, you’ll also need to consider other aspects. Such as geographic location to confirm that there is an opportunity for you to build a successful company. Chasing an unachievable goal is never wise.

After all, taking on a project that is destined to fail will prevent you from unlocking your full potential irrespective of how well you perform.

#2. Will I be able to stay productive?

While working from home does bring many benefits, the reality is vastly different to the image. You will require a high level of discipline while also finding ways to stop potential distractions. It is also necessary to check for reasons why your home office is failing. When your surroundings and frame of mind are under control, though, you’ll have a far better shot at success. Crucially, it’ll promote an increased level of consistency across the business.

Conversely, if the home isn’t build to encourage productivity, your output will fall. The detrimental impact that this can have on the venture will bring failure.

#3. Are there opportunities for growth?

It’s one thing to build a home business that satisfies your immediate goals. However, true success comes from hitting long-term targets. Therefore, keeping one eye on the prospect of expansion is crucial. Hiring remote freelancers can increase your workforce in an effective manner. On a similar note, pop up stores can help you reach offline audiences. Once again, though, it’s necessary to analyze the scenario. Otherwise, you could hit a relatively low ceiling.

Besides, this can form a significant step towards setting objectives and time frames. This in itself can work wonders for motivation levels too.

#4. What are the threats to my business?

When starting a business of any kind, it’s vital to recognize that problems can surface. Learning to cyber secure your home should be top of the agenda as virtual attacks could destroy your business and impact the family’s home lives. You will also rely on other companies for issues like deliveries or face fierce local competition for your service-based firm. A strong network supported by a vigilant approach to intellectual theft is also highly beneficial.

Keeping your business protected won’t only aid your pursuit of sustainability. It’ll also keep your mind at ease, which is particularly crucial when the office is also your home.

#5. How can I keep the business running when I’m not around?

Running a business is tough work, which is why semi-frequent breaks are essential. They are a chance to refresh your body and mind. Sadly, it does pose the dilemma of how the business will operate during your absence. If managing the business as a joint venture with a friend, there’s an easy solution thanks to modern tech and IM services. Depending on the type of venture, it may be possible to outsource the venture temporarily too.

If you’re a landlord, for example, property management companies can help. If selling products, you probably store them elsewhere anyway. So, automated sales software is the answer.

#6. Do I really want to do it?

Running your own business, particularly from home, can be very rewarding. However, it requires a lot of hard work and can be mentally draining. Moreover, there will be moments of insecurity and difficulties. You may be better suited to a traditional form of employment. Or, in today’s market, you can still work from home as a freelancer or remote-based employee. This removes the business elements, which can be very liberating.

For those with the natural entrepreneurial mindset, though, it isn’t only the best option. It is the only option. Better still, there’s never been a better time to embrace it.

Continue Reading

Best Benefits Of Being Your Own Boss

girl-boss
Image Credit

Being your own boss has many benefits, and it could be the answer to all of the problems that you have currently been experiencing at work. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to have to work hard, it just means that instead of doing this for someone else, it is going to be all for you. In this article, we are going to be looking at some of these benefits, so if you want to know more, keep reading down below.

You Make The Decisions

The first benefit is that you make all of the decisions. Now, this is both a benefit and a curse because you have nobody to blame when things go wrong. But, at least you know that if things don’t go your way, you can do your best to fix it in whatever way possible. Making the decisions means that you have complete and total freedom to do whatever you want with your business, rather than listening to someone else who thinks that their way is the right way. In business, you are going to have to try things, see if they work, and if they don’t, then you try something else, it’s all about trial and error. You get to choose, and it all goes the way that you decide!

Accidents Are Less Likely

Another benefit is that you are less likely to get injured or be involved in a work-related accident when you are the boss. This is especially the case if you are the only one working for your business! This means that you aren’t going to have some of the worries that people working for others will, such as finding legal representation when things go wrong. It’s something that a lot of people have to face in their life, but when you are the boss, it is less likely to happen to you.

This is a good thing because cases like this can cost a lot of time and money, not to mention the emotional and physical stress you might experience. It’s just better for your peace of mind!

Flexibility

Finally, and arguably this is the best benefit of them all, you get all the flexibility you need. If you need to take a day off because you are having personal problems? You can. If you are sick, you don’t need to worry about anyone not believing you or being penalized for not coming into work that day. If you feel like getting your own best marketing agency instead of being forced to swallow what the boss deemed to be best for him, you can. You get as much flexibility as you need. Now, this is not to say that you don’t have to dedicate yourself and put in the hours to make your business a success, just that if necessary, the flexibility is there. This can take a whole load of stress off of you and make you feel much better about working in general.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the benefits of being your own boss. We hope your business does well, and you love being your own boss as much as most of the others do!

Continue Reading

3 Ways Your Business Reputation Can Be Put At Risk

digital-business
Image Source

Reputation: It’s a powerful thing in business.

If your reputation is a good one, you can guarantee more interest in your product and service, and your business will have the opportunity to grow.

On the flip side, if your reputation takes a hit, perhaps because of the reasons we will list below, then you will start to lose customers, fail to acquire new interest in your business, and quite possibly see your business fail. Yikes!

So, let’s take a look at some of the factors that could negatively affect your business reputation.

#1: A lapse in ethical judgment

For the betterment of your business, you might be tempted to do something that is borderline illegal. You might try to save money by being dishonest with the taxman, for example. Or you could copy a business idea that has been spearheaded by another entrepreneur. Of course, you might also hire an employee who has less than moral ethics, and they could do something that could be considered illegal. Whatever the case, when the media and your customers discover ethical lapses within your business, your reputation will start to go downhill. While a good PR team and the white-collar legal services of law firms such as Takajian & Sitkoff will do much to protect your business, you should still think twice during the hiring process, and when considering your own actions in business.

#2: Doing your customers a disservice

In business, excellent customer service is a must. If you don’t give your customers what they need, then you can guarantee bad word of mouth will spread about your business on social media, review sites, and in the hearing range of the public at large. So, be sure to treat your customers well. Don’t talk to them with disrespect in person or on the phone. Don’t make them promises that you will struggle to keep. Don’t sell them something that is obviously defective. And don’t ignore them when they come to you with complaints or questions about your business. In each case, you let them down at your peril.

#3: Mistreatment of your employees

Not only will productivity start to falter when your employees become unhappy with the way you have treated them, but negative word of mouth will start to spread too. As with your customers, your employees may be inclined to share their opinion of you with others, be that face to face, on social media, or on employer review sites online. So, be good to your employees. Don’t give them more work than they can handle. Don’t speak to them with disrespect. Don’t ignore their requests for support. And don’t disregard any news of workplace bullying that filters back to you. Be good to your employees, and they will be good to you.

It’s not overly difficult to secure a positive business reputation. By acting ethically, and by treating the people who use your business well, there should be no need for bad word of mouth to spread. So, think about that today, as your business will have a better chance of survival if you heed our warnings.

Thanks for reading.

Continue Reading

What Do Customers Really Need?

When we’re running a company, we tend to think in terms of what we want to bring to the table. But while this is an important aspect, it’s not necessarily the best way to think. Let’s not forget who the most important group is when it comes to your business: your customers. As such, it’s best to think in terms of what they want, not necessarily what you want. The good thing about this approach is that it’s not a mystery; customers everywhere generally want the same thing, regardless of industry. We take a look at four such examples below.

business-customer
Image Source

Problem Solved

You’re not going to get too far if you’re not solving a problem for a customer. You’re likely well aware of the failure rate of businesses. Still, there’s little reason to get too disheartened by the figure: the fact is that the majority of these companies failed because they just didn’t add enough value to the lives of their customers. It’s important to remember that customers aren’t going to flock to you just because your there: you need to aid their lives in some way, and do things better than other companies. So ask yourself: how are you improving your customers’ lives? Is it best to put up social media advertisements to inform them of what’s new in the online world?

Peace of Mind

We live in an age of skepticism, and it’s not hard to see why. Customers have become fatigued by companies who have their own interests at heart, and also by the rise in cybercrime. There is a long list of high profile data breaches, and every one has eroded customer trust that little bit more. As such, it’s critical that you’re taking your customer’s sensitive data seriously. They should have peace of mind that their information is in safe hands. If this is one area of your business that needs improving, then learn more about how you can incorporate a system that offers the highest levels of security. If you lose your customer’s trust, then they’re highly unlikely to return in the future.

Straightforward Processes

Some companies sure do make things difficult for themselves. If you have a customer interested in making a purchase, then it’s in your best interest to make that process as smooth as possible. This should be a priority, especially if you’re running an online business. Shopping cart abandonment is a real issue for online retailers, but it should be expected if there are too many layers to the checkout process, or if you’re adding surprise charges at the final hurdle.

Good Value

Unless you’re in the luxury goods market, then you need to look at value. This can be the difference between a customer deciding to make a purchase and moving to a competitor. Of course, you need to make a profit, so it’s all about striking a balance. If you’re finding it difficult to lower the cost, then look at other areas of your business where you can save money. Customers are looking for an even balance between value and the quality of the product. Get this right, and you’re good.

Continue Reading

Turning Your Business Dreams Into Reality

web-internet
Image Credit

If you have a great idea for a new business, then there is no reason why you should not be pushing yourself to get your idea realized. Starting a business can be exciting and invigorating. There is, of course, a lot of stress and worry that goes hand-in-hand with going into business, and you will want to ensure that you do everything that you can to reduce these stresses.

Forward Planning

Starting up a business takes some strong forward planning. That means that you will need to create a plan that encompasses everything that you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and when you will do it.

You cannot wing it when you are starting up your business or you will never make a true success of it. If you want your business to reach its fullest potential, then you should make sure that you do everything in your power to drive it forward. You can achieve this with the right planning.

Understand That You Cannot Do Everything On Your Own

Your business needs support. That may come in the form of financial investment or it may mean hiring Managed IT Services to look after your technology needs. You need to understand that you do not have to do everything for yourself. There are support companies out there for every aspect of your business management, from recruitment and payroll, through to administration, cleaning and maintenance, as well as security, logistics, and warehousing.

Understanding what there is out there that you can utilize will save you from developing an area of your business infrastructure that you just don’t need.

Make The Best Use Of Your Team

In a great team, the business leader is not the person who hoards all of the jobs to themselves because they don’t trust others to do that task. This shows weakness as a leader and an ability to train and empower those around you. Be sure to allow your team to demonstrate that they know what they are doing and give them opportunities to carry out business-critical tasks.

By empowering your team with the responsibility you are not only going to create a stronger and more productive workplace, but you will also make your life considerably more stress-free.

Effective delegation means knowing where your team’s particular skills lay. You can only find this out by getting to know them and understanding what makes them tick. Hold regular appraisals and use them as an opportunity to learn about your team and how they can be a greater asset to your company.

Communication Is Key

Your business vision needs to be communicated to investors, your team, and importantly your customer. You need to find the most effective way of getting this message across to everyone. Think about what it is important in your message and focus your attention on delivering these points home. Tell people what you need to tell them, and then always check their understanding afterwards to make sure that you have been understood.

Continue Reading

How To Run A Business From Your Smartphone

Nowadays you don’t need a PC to run a business. You may not even need a laptop. A smartphone could be all you need to run your business. And a good online content creator.

Smartphones are the ultimate multipurpose tool – you can communicate with them, do your accounting on them and even take photos to post on company social media. They’re also very portable, making it possible to run your business from any location whether you’re in an office or stood up in a busy train carriage on the way to a meeting.

A smartphone does however have its limits and drawbacks. Here is how you can overcome these limits and drawbacks and run a business successfully using nothing but this device.

business-smartphone
Image Credit

Buy a separate work phone

It’s worth owning a separate phone for personal use and a separate phone for business use. This can help you to separate your personal and work life. Without this separation, you could find yourself getting distracted by personal Facebook and WhatsApp alerts when trying to work, as well as being bothered by work calls when trying to enjoy your free time.

You can log in to your work emails and business social media on one phone, while logging into your personal social media and emails on the other. On top of this, you’ll have two different numbers, so that you don’t have to give out your personal number to clients.

Separating the two can make bookkeeping easier too. You can more easily track work-related phone costs and deduct these as expenses from your taxes. This is much harder to calculate when you’re using the same phone for personal use and business use.

Choose the right contract

When choosing a contract for your work phone, consider looking into business phone contracts. Some of these ‘business’ plans can be cheaper than personal plans, offering free texts and calls to certain people in some cases.

A high-data plan could be useful if you plan to work on the go, allowing you internet access from any location. To maximise your data it could also be worth learning how to decrease your data usage. For instance, using certain apps could be using up unnecessary data as you’re working on the go.

Buy a portable charger

If you’re using your phone for all things business related, you can expect the battery to drain fast. In order to keep your phone charged up on the go, consider buying a portable charger. This could save you having to run into a coffee bar with plug sockets just to charge up your phone.

There are many different types of portable charger on the market. Some are able to hold several full charges. Just make sure that you charge your portable charger up each night.

Invest in portable wi-fi

If you want unlimited internet access on the go without relying on your data, another option could be to use your own portable wi-fi. There are wireless portable wi-fi routers that can fit in your pocket. Some of these can be topped up on a pay-as-you-go basis, while others may be combined into your home/office internet bills.

It’s worth comparing various forms of mobile portable wi-fi.

Download the right apps

With the right apps, you can handle all your business’s admin on your phone.

Accounting apps could be just one useful tool for helping you to do your bookkeeping. You can link up some of these apps with your bank account and automatically calculate tax on earnings. Some of these apps also allow you to handle your payroll, as well as invoicing clients. It means that you have access to all your financial information in one place.

It’s also possible to make use of project management apps that allow you to monitor the progress of employees and tasks. These apps can save you having to gather everyone together for regular catch-up meetings as you can simply track the progress of tasks digitally.

A document signing app could also be worth downloading. These allow clients and suppliers to send digital contracts that you can sign digitally using your touchscreen. It’s much more convenient than physically posting paper contracts.

Finally, it could be worth downloading a video-communication app. This could allow you to communicate with clients by video when needed.

Start using voice command

Voice command can allow you to use your phone hands-free. This could be useful when carrying out physical tasks such as driving or manual labour.

You can use voice command to do everything from writing and sending emails to making and receiving calls. Most smartphones have in-built voice command features – it’s simply a case of setting them up and getting used to them.

Consider buying a Bluetooth keyboard

The big advantage that laptops and PCs have over smartphone is the ability to type out emails, reports and other written content. While some people are fast at texting, it’s still not as convenient as using a keyboard.
Fortunately, it is possible to connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your phone. This could allow you to type normally when you need it.

Secure your phone

Security is a priority when running a business. All your personal information will likely be accessible on your smartphone, so you need to ensure it’s protected against criminals.

Firstly, you should try to set a strong lock screen password. Many modern devices also have biometrics enabled such as fingerprint scanning and even facial recognition in some cases. If your phone falls into the wrong hands, having these protective barriers in place could stop them from being able to access your personal information.

It could also be worth using a VPN when logging onto public wi-fi on your phone. Some public wi-fi connections can be insecure which can make it possible to steal your personal information. When using a VPN, your personal information is concealed.

You should also consider insuring your smartphone. If you lose it or if it is damaged it could have a serious negative impact on your business. Insurance could help to pay for a replacement.

Backing up your phone’s data on the cloud is also recommended. Most modern smartphones already do this automatically, but you may still want to double-check. By backing up your data, you can still access it on another device if your phone is lost or destroyed.

Continue Reading