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What is the Best Home Business for You?

It’s Simple When You Consider Your Passions, Skills, Background, and Start-Up Options

By Sandy Larson

You’ve decided to enter the exciting realm of home-based employment — setting your own hours, eliminating morning commutes, reporting to only yourself, reaping the rewards of your hard work, and being recognized and respected in the community as a home business owner. Here are the simple tasks to help you act on your decision.

Find the Perfect Match

Your first important task is to select a home business that best builds upon your passions, skills, financial situation, and time availability.

Identify Your Passions

•    What hobbies do you regularly pursue during your free time?
•    Do you enjoy working indoors or outdoors?
•    Do you consider yourself a “people-person,” or someone who likes to work alone?

Highlight Your Skills

•    What kinds of job functions have you performed over the years?
•    What special classes have you completed?
•    Do you have any management, accounting, marketing or sales experience?

Assess Your Financial Situation

•    How much of your personal savings can you put toward your business?
•    Are you going to apply for a small business loan?
•    Do you feel comfortable borrowing money from family or friends?

Consider Your Time Availability

•    Do you plan to work around your “day job”?
•    Do you have the energy to work around the clock when necessary — even sacrificing       weekends and holidays — in order to meet deadlines?
•    Do you have the emotional support from family and friends to run a full-time business?

Evaluate Your Start-Up Options

Your next important task is to evaluate all of your options for starting a home business.

Option 1: Start from Scratch

If you possess an innovative idea and a keen business sense, you might consider starting your home business from scratch. This is the least costly option to pursue, yet possibly the most risky. That’s because you alone are responsible for making all of the financial, marketing, and sales decisions.

Option 2: Invest in a Home-Based Franchise

You may not feel comfortable starting a home business without some guidance. In this case, you may consider buying into a home-based franchise. By doing so, you will have the right to use the franchise’s name and trademark, and will receive step-by-step instructions on how to sell their products or services.

Option 3:  Invest in a Home Business Opportunity

Similar to buying into a home-based franchise, although not as expensive, is investing in a home business opportunity. As a licensee or dealer, you would also receive training, but your business practices would not be as controlled. Like home-based franchises, home business opportunities lay out instructions for starting and operating a business.

Option 4: Buy an Existing Home Business

You can bypass the start-up and development phases by purchasing an existing home business. If you look in the classified section of your newspaper, you can come across a few ads featuring businesses for sale. These ads usually promote all-inclusive packages — businesses complete with equipment, supplies, and established customer bases.

Option 5: Form a Partnership

If you share in the risks, or if you do not have the time or resources to develop your home business as desired, you might consider a partnership. In a partnership, two or more entrepreneurs share work responsibilities — and thus, profits.

Do Your Research

Before pursuing a business option, carefully research the market and the demand for the product or service. Study your potential competitors, and learn how their companies are performing.  Also thoroughly check out the company’s history, references, total investment cost, and terms and conditions.

Investigate the Company’s History

Review the credentials of its upper management and get additional information on the company’s profit claims, supplier information, copyrights, and any outstanding lawsuits. Look at the training and support provided, the number of employees, years in business, and territories offered.

Obtain References

Perform a background check on the company through the Better Business Bureau and appropriate chambers of commerce. Also, contact at least three other people who have invested in the opportunity or franchise.

Calculate the Total Investment Amount

Determine the total investment cost including supplies, equipment, and start-up fees. Compare these expenses with those of other comparable business opportunities.

Read the Fine Print

Be sure to obtain all terms and conditions in writing. For large investments, it’s always wise to consult with an attorney.  HBM

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