Starting a Home Based Business and Goal Setting

Introduction

When you look back over human history, the concept of working from home is not new. A lot of paid work was done in the home. A shoemaker, for instance, would make his shoes in his own house and there are many other examples that can be given where people in times gone by worked from home.

However, with the onset of the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, the locus of work shifted from the household to the factory. Now, with the advent of the computer and the World Wide Web, many people are discovering the rewards of starting a business that enables them to work from home.

Home based businesses are, in fact, some of the most rapidly growing segments of today’s business world. If you are looking to start a business working from home this article will provide you with some home business start up tips and also look at goal setting when working from home.

A Summary of the Work from Home Benefits

When you work from home, you have many advantages that other business people do not have. You have no additional expenses incurred by rent or mortgage on the building. The start-up costs are likewise reduced or even eliminated, since the entrepreneur may already have the necessary items such as a telephone, computer, a printer, a fax and other office items. Time and money spent on commuting to and from work are also eliminated. All these factors have led many entrepreneurs around the world to start a home based business.

Starting a Home Based Business – Business Start Up Tips

Along with setting your goals there are a number of actions that need to be taken when setting up your business. Below you will find a selection of business start up tips that will help you set up and run your home based business.

1) The need to be flexible in business. As times change adapt your home business to keep up with the trends in the home based industry implementing business opportunities, information products, software and training programs that compliment the business you have already set up and which help move you forward.

2) Consider what work you enjoy doing yourself and outsource the rest. Build a ‘dream team’ of outsourced workers who can help you complete the numerous daily business tasks.

3) Don’t go it alone, select a business mentor. Research your marketplace and find the top ‘players’ in your niche and follow them learning from their experience. Opt into their subscribers list and learn from them. Work with a mentor who has been there and done it and who can support you with your business through coaching, education and training. Choose mentors who pass onto you their experiences so that you can avoid making the mistakes that will slow your business development down.

4) Do a vision book – having set your business and personal goals which look at what you want to achieve in the short medium and long term – visualize them? Put pictures into a scrap book, in a folder or on your home office wall and look at them every day to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. This will help you keep motivated. For example, if you want to make money on line and set up automated systems so that you have more time with the family put pictures of this into your vision book.

5) What business model to follow – Whilst working online from home you will find that many business opportunities hit your inbox. However, how do you decide which one is right for you? Well, once you know what type of business you want to build, what you are passionate about and why you want to do it, then you will build the right type of business from the outset because you will only take on businesses that meet your own criteria. Don’t feel obliged to join everything going. Just join what works for you and businesses that help you ‘build the right business the right way’ so that you fulfil your own goals and dreams but also help others solve their problems along the way.

6) Have a daily plan of action – Each night, go over what you have done in the day, see what you have accomplished, congratulate yourself and figure out how to carry it forward to the next day. Write up daily plans of action, cross them off as you do them and feel good about what you have achieved. This way you are looking at what you have done and not what you have not done.

7) Read inspirational stories and listen to music that motivates you – Find articles in books, in magazines, or online, about people who have been successful at similar businesses. Play music that gives you a lift each day and which makes you feel upbeat and motivated.

8) Read out loud personal and business declarations – Do this each morning as you get up. An example might be “No one will ever fire me again because I am my own boss” or “I will be debt free through my business ventures” or “I am now on a course to change my life totally and pull in millions of dollars”. Why would you do this? Well, because it helps you remove any limiting factors and by reading out your own declarations each day it helps you maintain your focus, stay positive and remove any limiting beliefs you may have every day.

9) Parallel Lines: Basically, you can stay in the system and the same place or choose a different path which allows you to leave the system and achieve your goals and financial freedom. Do not make excuses not to do something – Just do it; your attitude is what propels you to go forward. Make excuses not to do something and you will stay put!

10) Register yourself with the appropriate Tax and Vat offices.

11) Set up your account with an accountant and set up a business bank account.

12) Get your home office set up with the Utility Company for the telephone lines, internet, mobile phones, gas and electric and buy and set up your computer system.

13) Look at what you are passionate about. What knowledge can you share with the world? Having decided upon the niche you are going to work in put your foundations in place by setting up your products, services, landing pages, auto responders, websites and educating yourself about marketing offline and online.

It’s great that you know which business opportunity you are going to join and develop but don’t make the mistake of not educating yourself about marketing. There are many elements to a successful business and if you take the working online route then as well as having an affiliate product or your own product or service to promote, you will need to learn about building squeeze pages and websites, list building, and investing in marketing and how to set up marketing funnels.

14) Work in a team or join an online community in your niche. Be a pro-active member adding value to the team and community that you are in by sharing your knowledge for the good of the team. In this way you will build your profile and also be able to feel part of a community of like minded people with a common goal of helping each other succeed.

15) Consider exactly what type of enterprise will you be running? Will you be selling products, or will you be performing services? Or maybe your home based business will be offering both. What kinds of products and/ or services will be offered? How will you go about obtaining those products, or the skills needed to perform the services? And how will you pay for them?

16) Your target audience – What kinds of customers are you targeting? The general public? Local People? A Global Audience, Men only, or Women only? People in a certain age group, such as middle aged people or the elderly? And how much money do you expect to make from this venture?

17) What will the name of your business be? You should choose a name which both clearly indicates what the business is about and sounds attractive to the potential customer. For the work from home internet marketing niche the branding tends to be personal so that a website would have the domain name of the individual marketer.

18) Finally, check to find out about any licensing and legal requirements for your chosen business opportunity.

Goal Setting When Working From Home

In addition to setting up your new home based business, goal setting is crucial; it must be taken care of at the start of your business and it is also a good strategy to continue to set new goals as your home business develops.

The goals you set for yourself should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. A specific goal that is measured through statistics and analytics, that is achievable and realistic so that you are not setting a goal that is out of your reach. A goal that can be achieved by implementing a business opportunity and working it within a period of time that is not unrealistic.

In my experience goal setting can often be overlooked at the start of a home based business and many people know what business they want to run but they don’t know why! If the ‘why’ isn’t big enough then quite often the motivation dwindles and the business does not help the individuals meet the goals they have set for themselves.

Once the task of goal setting has been taken care of, you now have the challenge of putting those goals into action. This won’t happen overnight, so remember you won’t get rich quick, it will require work and dedication.

Starting A Home Based Business – Final Remarks

Finally, remember that, as with all human ventures, there will be times when your work gets you down and you may feel like throwing in the towel. Don’t quit!

Now you may seem to be getting nowhere, but the next opportunity may be just around the corner. If you quit, you may be missing out on that opportunity. See it through and don’t quit! Keep going with your business, persevere, develop a no quit attitude, take yourself on a journey to success and work through all the barriers that will surely present themselves.

In the end you will win through and you will find yourself with a successful home based business on your hands where you not only are helping many people along the way but also making a very decent living working from home.

How to Unearth the Hidden Potential in Your Business

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. Albert Einstein’s statement is an exceptionally noble approach, and exemplifies that business potential may indeed lie in its threats and weaknesses. For the business to prosper and grow entrepreneurs must realize that regardless of how successful they become they will still be far below their optimum potential, and must therefore meticulously find and exploit their enterprise’s true potential. This requires a shift in paradigm thinking and a congruent change in the entrepreneur’ attitude towards the dangers and weaknesses of their business.

Converting limitations and disadvantages into opportunities results in amazing outcomes at every step in the operation of a business and of its performance outlook. Decisions are made and actions are taken based on the hard reality of the business not obscured by tomorrow’s challenges or the lure of the urgencies of the present.

While not every business has a hidden potential and can develop limitations and restraints into opportunities, businesses that have no potential or fail to search for their potential cannot grow or survive. So, how can you unearth the hidden potential in your business and develop its opportunities?

You start by asking yourself questions like:

What you are fearful of, what do you see as a danger to your business, and how can you use it as an opportunity?
What are the restraints and weakness that contribute to the vulnerability of your business, hinder its full effectiveness, and hold down its propensity for profitable results?
What are the inconsistencies in your business?

Most entrepreneurs are fully aware of the restraints, vulnerabilities, and limitations of their businesses but seldom ask questions. They are likely to believe that nothing can be done to change their circumstances. They fail to realize that to convert restraint into opportunity requires innovation with flexibility and diversity to exploit the new possibility by investing in its development.

While inconsistencies are a way of life for growing businesses, chronic imbalances can drain the business of its productive resources way beyond any results they can produce. If the imbalance in resource allocations is in support activities or control measures, the remedy is to cut out whatever causes the imbalance. Concurrently, identifying the area with excessively large productive effort often indicates a major unused potential and requires major changes in the nature and structure of that area of the business.

We traditionally identify areas of inconsistencies and imbalance with excessively large productive resources incapable of producing sufficient outcomes, within the business in the marketing and research & development areas. The cure in these areas is determined by careful analysis followed by radical redefinition of the business in its entirety or integration into new products or services with adequate utilization of the resources and efforts needed.

More serious cases of imbalance we encounter are companies that are the wrong size- typically too small- for the market they are serving or for the management they need. For these cases a unified business review and performance program that converts the disparity between the business size and the management it requires by scaling the management down to the size appropriate to the needs of the business.
Needless to say, that unearthing and attaining the potential of a business is psychologically taxing on all concerned and requires great effort from the various aspects of the business and its management.

Therefore the role of an external coach or consultant is of paramount importance in the soul searching process of the organization and in the unearthing of its hidden treasures that are disguised as imbalances in the form of a weaknesses or a threats.

Entrepreneurs need to work systematically on maximizing opportunities by looking within not without! And by asking questions like; Where are the imbalances in our business, and what are the opportunities for the greatest economic outcomes? They can start to maximize opportunities by focusing the available resources on the most attractive possibilities and devoting them to obtaining the greatest possible results. This followed by successful business planning based on exploiting imbalances and maximizing its prospects by uncovering its potential and developing real opportunities that can increase the propensity of the business for survival and growth.

Developing the Right Opportunities

Not all of the questions you ask will have answers. For certain questions, you might get answers that do not excite you at all. However, some of the questions you ask will have answers that tell you that there might be a possibility for an opportunity to develop.

You note that I use the words “might” and “possibility” here. For an opportunity to exist, we should be able to combine four elements. Without all four, we have only a possibility, nothing more. However, as you get used to viewing the world from four different angles, you will very quickly start to think of all four elements automatically.

It is when you get to that point, that opportunities will just start “popping into your head”. It is crucial that you take notes when an answer excites you. Right at that moment, you might think that you will not forget it, but we all forget things, even very important things. Make notes of your thoughts and include any thoughts that you might have about the other three elements. Give your possible opportunity a name, as by doing this you give the opportunity a mental anchor and summarise it to its essence. You will remember it better, and your subconscious mind will work harder to expand it from the essence of the possibility, to a more complete vision of the opportunity.

During the course of the day, use any spare time you might have, to look at your card and ask questions. While travelling in your car (record your thoughts rather than writing them down!), in the elevator and on the escalator, while having a cup of coffee in the canteen. When you are doing things that do not require you to think, use that time to search for opportunities and do that by questioning the whole world around you. Yes, even when you have to go to the bathroom! And remember to jot down all the thoughts you experienced when you get answers that excited you.

Dedicate time; 15 minutes per day should do it, to reflect on your findings and what possible opportunities might arise from it. Think about each of them, and jot down any additional thoughts you might have.

Try and find the “missing three” elements for each answer that you get when asking the questions. A very simple matrix will assist you in trying to find the missing elements – turning them into opportunities for yourself.

You will start off with something like this:

Date: 04 Feb ’08
Needs: Computer keyboards, screens and mouse pads need cleaning
Means:?
Method to apply:?
Method to benefit:?
Potential:?
Notes: Saw Johnny’s workstation today – looks terrible!

Date: 05 Feb ’08
Needs: ?
Means: Old tires
Method to apply: ?
Method to benefit: ?
Potential: ?
Notes: Saw a whole heap of old tires at the scrap yard.

Date: 06 Feb ’08
Needs: ?
Means: ?
Method to apply: Carwash used to wash cars.
Method to benefit: ?
Potential: ?
Notes: Drove past carwash and saw how it applied water, soap and mechanical action to wash car.

After a while, when reviewing these entries, you might progress to:

Date: 04 Feb ’08

Needs: Computer keyboards, screens and mouse pads needs cleaning.
Means: PC cleaning box with solvent, glass cloth, water and drying chamois.
Method to apply: Provide PC cleaner with box and let him/her clean all PC user’s computers.
Method to benefit: Start PC cleaning services and get big business to contract. R15 per PC per month?
Potential: Yes! There are 6 buildings in our area, each with more than a 1000 PC’s.
That means R90 000 per month!
Notes: Saw Johnny’s workstation today – looks terrible – some keyboard keys seem sticky.

Date: 05 Feb ’08
Needs: Mine dumps need stabilization to prevent erosion and pollution.
Means: Old tires.
Method to apply: ?
Method to benefit: Set up “mine dump” stabilization business to sell service.
Potential: ?
Notes: Saw a whole heap of old tires at the scrap yard. Scrap yard will pay me to remove their old tires. Find out what mines would pay to stabilize mine dumps.

Date: 06 Feb ’08
Needs: How do fleet owners wash their large trucks?
Means: ?
Method to apply: Carwash used to wash cars.
Method to benefit: ?
Potential: ?
Notes: Drove past carwash and saw how it applied water, soap and mechanical action to wash cars.

Flag all the possible opportunities which you feel comfortable with that might turn into real opportunities. There are a number of ways in which you might like to prioritise the possible opportunities. In the above example, an overall “Potential” was used to prioritise. You might use various prioritising methods such as “Ease of implementation”, “Require least capital outlay” or even:”I like this opportunity (scale of 1 to 5)”. You decide how you would like to prioritise the opportunities. The method of prioritisation is far less important than the fact that you do prioritise and feel comfortable with how you prioritise.

As your opportunities develop over time, you will quickly realise that opportunities are very abundant to those looking for them. But opportunities alone are not enough! We have to do something with the opportunities.

In the next chapter, we will look at a terrific tool that will help you turn your opportunities into complete and compelling business visions – to get the most from your opportunities.

To find opportunities – look for alternatives, no matter how satisfied you are with a situation. Everything can be improved. Every improvement is an opportunity.

Chapter reminders:

1. Every opportunity has 4 elements:
-Needs
-Means to fulfill the need
-Method to apply the means to fulfill the need
-Method for you to benefit.

2. Get into the habit of looking at things from different angles – each angle one of the elements of an opportunity.

3. Develop opportunities by filling in the blanks!

4. Prioritise the opportunities

Growing Your Business From the Inside

The definition of business success is growth. Increasing revenue drives most sales organizations. However, there are two aspects the growth formula that are often underlooked; or, at least, underemphasized – client retention and business development in existing accounts.

The most efficient channel for increases or improvements to profitable revenues is maintaining the business relationships you have and leveraging those relationships to offer and deliver more.

Your best customers are your most efficient channel for new business opportunities. Yet, many organizations struggle to create and discover these opportunities. For the most part it is because they have become so proficient at being satisfied with the existing relationship that they fail to understand or recognize how to expand and build on it.

The first place I would look for revenue expansion is with my best, favorite and most trusted clients. Note, I would not be walking in simply trying to “sell them more”, I would be working at discovering how I can become a better resource to them and what else I may be able to provide to improve or enhance their business. Accomplishing this requires a focused strategic commitment to enhancing the relationship.

There are four steps to applying a business development strategy in your existing and key accounts:
1. Build a team and expand your contact base: Sales professionals are very proficient at knowing who their key contact is in an account. Their traditional approach is to strengthen that single point of contact relationship to the fullest. In a revenue expansion strategy that is not enough. Instead of having a lot of connections over several companies, an effective business development strategy requires multiple connections throughout the organization at multiple contact points. A single point of contact or a single contact point from your organization puts all relationships at risk.

A strong business development strategy requires that your organization is connected into your key clients at multiple levels with multiple relationships sources, i.e. your CEO/Owner, VP of Sales, VP of Marketing, or Director of Customer Service, etc. having developed and leveraged relationships in your key accounts at similar valued levels. Multiple relationships, at various organizational and functional levels, through varied contact points provides offers your organizational broader information, influence and insight. This is a very powerful strategic tool.

2. Assign a knowledge holder for your key accounts: You can utilize a CRM to manage data and information; however, like a reporter, every key account requires a knowledge holder. That knowledge holder is responsible for sharing the news of every single conversation with all others leveraging and developing relationships in that key account. Sharing the information in a timely manner enables the team to make prompt strategic moves in that account and enables the team to be more engaged and proactive to news, information, and opportunity.

3. Create a metric and meeting rhythm for the team: Being on a key account team means nothing if people do not know their roles or accountabilities. Every team member has accountabilities to the rest of the team for their role in building and expanding their relationship base in a key account. They are also accountable for gathering and sharing information to the team in a timely manner through the “knowledge holder.” As a result, I would encourage everyone to establish a metric for “new relationships” and “impactful conversations” that is a measurable accountability tool. Also, even if it is only a fifteen minute weekly huddle, all key account teams must connect, communicate, collaborate and strategize on a regular basis.

4. Pay attention to discover and create opportunity: You cannot create opportunity in an existing account just because it is a good idea – nobody cares what you want to accomplish or “sell”. However, as you expand your relationship base within an account and become a more influential valued resource, the potential for the team to discover and create new business opportunities is enhanced significantly. This is the value of a multi-faceted “deep and wide” business development strategy. More conversations, with more people, with diverse perspectives, opinions and needs provides a fantastic opportunity to add value. The fundamental component of this strategy is found in creating a focused, disciplined, and intelligent process with a long-term commitment to its execution and development.

Businesses that grow best, grow intentionally. Intention is the focused, disciplined, and strategic application of a business development process that works. The above business development process works best in your key accounts because you already have a valued relationship with them, you already have access to their team, and they already value what you are providing them. To take this relationship to another level requires the commitment of a team, the productive gathering and sharing of information, and the ability to nimbly and deftly execute a timely growth strategy. Nothing is more productive that growing within an existing account – the trick is coordinating the resources in order to accomplish it.