If you’re the entrepreneurial type, the American Dream is to have a business of your very own. You may want to create or purchase a business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or small franchise that can be run right out of your home. Any one of these options is attractive for a number of reasons.
First, the logistics are great! Home-based business owners don’t have a long commute or incur hefty office rental fees. Second, being your own boss ensures that any profits you make are yours and yours alone, no one else’s. Third, owning your own home-based business means running your own show, which means you answer to no one but you ― you have the flexibility to get the job done your way!
It’s all on you to sink or swim. That’s why it’s so important to really think through and assess your own knowledge, skills, abilities, characteristics, likes and dislikes BEFORE you buy into or start a business, especially one that you plan to operate from home. How well do you even know yourself? When there’s no one around to hold you accountable, will you have the self-motivation you need to make your home-based business successful? Can you focus on the job at hand while working from your own home? Will the distractions be too great?
Take a moment to think about these and the following issues before you jump into any home-based business, and make sure you are prepared for what may lie ahead:
People like to know who they are dealing with. If you want to own a home-based business so that you can avoid interpersonal communication with others, you’re not being realistic. Most any home-based business, even a computer-based operation, requires interaction with other people to some degree, even if it’s just regarding customer service or new business acquisition. Just because you work from home does not mean you won’t have to leave your home office from time to time to talk to people. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll have to get out there quite frequently for any number of reasons. Businesses, no matter what their size, shape or kind, do not run themselves. It’s not like you can just buy a business opportunity and then do nothing; it’s called “work” for a reason.
Despite all our technological advancements, if you really want to make it in business there is still something to be said for face-to-face interaction. While it is true that the modern age has created somewhat of an impersonal business atmosphere, most client relationships of any duration are built on a degree of interpersonal exchange; the Internet can only take your business so far. Meeting in person, even if just occasionally, fosters trust and a working partnership like nothing else ever will. It’s important to understand that regardless of what kind of home-based business you own, your in-person interaction with your customers will likely be the most critical component of your long-term success.
You might not have enough room or live in the right place. Depending on the home-based business opportunity, you simply may not have enough room to run things out of your home. Perhaps you’ll need to store a lot of products, and your home isn’t big enough. If all your small business needs is a phone, Internet connection, chair and desk, then you’re covered. However, if you need a lot of space for products or equipment, then you might be out of luck. Some sort of off-site storage facility may be in order. But, space may be the least of your problems.
Depending on where you live, zoning may be an issue. It’s very important that you know the regulations that govern your residential surroundings before you dive into any home-based business opportunity. Community association and/or residential neighborhood or complex restrictions may preclude you from owning a business that operates out of your home entirely!
In addition, many business opportunities require the purchase and/or use of vehicles and equipment. If the vehicle in question is at all commercial in nature and/or is branded as such, you may very well NOT be allowed to park it anywhere near your own residence. That can be a big problem!
Also, some of the tools you use to operate your home-based business may be very loud or involve chemicals of some sort. These are just the kinds of things that are not necessarily deemed appropriate when it comes to residential zoning laws and/or covenants.
Enforcement on these kinds of issues as they relate to home-based business owners has been on the rise as of late as greater numbers of individuals go into business for themselves given the economic downturn. You need to be prepared for and deal with any logistical challenges before you dive into a home-based business opportunity.
The necessary equipment or support might be on the other side of town. There are some business opportunities where you must rely on others to help you get the job done, and their facilities may be nowhere near your home. You may need to make constant trips to an off-site location. If you’ve decided to purchase a custom-publishing company, then you will not be able to house the printing press at your home office, and you will need to take constant trips to check proofs, etc. Is that a commitment you are willing and able to make? Have you cultivated the relationships with reliable vendors you'll need to get the job done?
You don’t have a professional looking space for meetings. Some small businesses don’t need to have a lot of meetings, but others find it imperative. As the owner, it’s your job to find a place for everyone to convene, and you might not have a professional looking space available in your home. If you’re interested in a business opportunity that will require constant meetings, then maybe running everything from home isn't the best option; you may want to secure an off-site suite especially for that purpose.
Be prepared if you lose it all to get it back. If you own a home-based business and you don’t own your residence, or even if you do, you may want to obtain insurance that covers not only personal but business related items of all kinds. This is especially important if you have a lot of inventory that you store for business purposes in your home. Thousands of home-based business owners have been wiped out by storms or other unforeseen circumstances when all of their inventory, supplies, files and other critical items have been destroyed. You must take steps to secure your home-based business investment at all levels as much as possible.