During difficult economic times there are great opportunities around for home-based business. Why? Research shows that businesses that begin during lean times are more likely to succeed in the long term for a few reasons:
- There’s less clutter in the market place, meaning your message is more likely to be heard
- You’ve started in lean times so you need to learn business basics from the outset. You’re more likely to be on top of your figures, budgets and business plans, and work out quickly what works and what doesn’t.
- You’re more likely to be creative and cost effective in your business practices.
- You’ve kept up with the changing way of doing business. A downturn always means a transformation for the way in which business is done. When good times return you’ll be up with the latest in technology and business practices.
- All this knowledge puts you ahead of the game when the boom times return.
So, what are my top 10 tips to get started during these so-called “difficult times”?
1. Do something you enjoy. Find something you’re passionate about and it will no longer be “work”. And because it’s something you love, you’ll automatically feel successful and satisfied on every level.
2. Find a niche market. The more focussed your customer group, the easier they are to sell to.
3. Find someone who’s already been successful in your field and model yourself on them. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Do some research on who’s successful, sign up for their newsletters, check out their web site, marketing collateral and product offers – and follow their steps to success.
4. Manage yourself, not your time. Determine your specific and quantifiable business goals, and then allocate time each day to working on achieving them. Diarise time to do this, just as you would a dentist appointment – then stick to it! Don’t get caught up being too busy working “in” the business to work “on” the business.
5. Create the best mindset for success. Don’t think like the general public. Most people are caught up in the doom and gloom of a potential recession. Behave as if you’re already successful, mix with successful people, be inspired and motivated. Your environment shapes your success.
6. Get the basics of business set- up, right from the start – it may sound boring, but it’s important to understand your tax requirements, insurance, licenses and registrations before you start out. Knowing this information could prevent mistakes that prove costly to rectify later. You can learn about this in the Free Articles section of Home Biz Chicks.
7. Get organized – find a way of obtaining the help you need. There are creative ways to outsource household and mundane work chores, freeing you up to develop and grow your business. If you can’t afford day care for your children, find a teenage home helper who can play with the kids for a few hours at your house. Use a work experience student from a local university and get them involved in mail outs, data entry – all the stuff a junior in a business would do. It’ll give them a great insight into their chosen field of study. If you can’t afford to outsource to a professional service provider, find a way to trade services. For example, I could outsource book keeping in exchange for writing a media release and promoting the book keeping service.
8. To find customers develop affiliate and joint venture relationships. This doesn’t mean major deals involving lawyers! It can be as simple as sharing databases with other businesses in the same food chain. For example, if you run a home-based beauty service, you could offer a special deal to the clients of someone who runs a home-based hair dressing service. Cross-promoting each other doubles your client base!
9. Implement some low cost public relations strategies. Generating free publicity isn’t that difficult. Develop a 12 month schedule of media release topics, write the release (see our template or outsource it), send it out and build relationships with the media. There’s a whole section on Home Biz Chicks about this very topic – check it out!
10. Know your customers. Know exactly what they want, what they’re looking for, what problems they have, and what you can do to solve them. Start by researching your target market – find forums where your target market exists and then hang out with them, find out what they’re talking about, become part of the conversation. You’ll learn a lot about their issues.
Another good process to get you thinking about your market is to make a list of the top 100 problems your target market has – what exactly are the issues they face every day and what can you do to help them?
You can also paint a mind picture of your ideal client – their age, sex, marital and work status, issues they have with their business or personal lives etc etc. Personalize them in your mind – give them a name and think of them every time you’re about to make a business decision – what would they think of the idea?