We don’t always have start-up funding to help us move into a commercial office right away or hire full-time staff in the first month. Sometimes it’s necessary to bootstrap your company as a home-based business while managing fewer resources. This might be because you don’t wish to burden a new business with debt before it’s even had a chance to find its first customers, or simply because you disagree with borrowing money.
This article covers some ideas on how to start and run a new home-based business, without huge resources back it up.
Home Office or Garden Office
If you’re fortunate enough to own or rent a home with a spare bedroom to turn into an office or if you’re okay with using either the kitchen or the lounge area as a temporary office space, then set up there. Alternatively, if you simply don’t have the space to create an office or you feel that sharing personal space for office work is too distracting, then you’ll need another option.
One possibility is picking one of the attractively appointed garden offices from 1st Choice Leisure Buildings. They are wooden buildings as an office in the garden that separates your work life from your home life. It’s affordable and you won’t require an office lease or need to rent a co-working space on a monthly basis. 1st Choice’s garden rooms can come with insulation, toughened glass panes to let in plenty of natural light during the day, and a choice of designs.
Run Everything in a Minimalistic Manner
Whether working from a spare office or a garden office, you’ll be pressed for space. It’s necessary to consider the layout of the office quite carefully to provide enough free floor space to move around. If you’re going to be expecting business visitors, then consider that they’ll need a comfortable office chair to sit on with enough floor area too.
Try to get everything off the ground. Use the walls to add shelving and units to make full use of alternative storage methods.
Use Cloud Storage for Data Security
Instead of having too many paper files in a filing tray or a cabinet taking up square footage, go almost completely digital. Use a paid business cloud storage plan, not a free personal plan. This provides better storage options, improved security, larger storage capacities,and file redundancy.
With free plans, only one copy of each file is maintained at a time in most cases. You’ll want to be able to roll back to a previous version should a file get corrupted or accidentally deleted. Having multiple versions going back in time with cloud storage is vital for a business, so it doesn’t lose financial data necessary for financial filings, taxes, and so on.
Take a look at the different storage services from cloud providers like Box, OneDrive from Microsoft, Dropbox, Google One (replacing the Google Drive service), or iCloud. Note that the business plans are a little more expensive, but they have the necessary features that are worth the extra cost, especially for a home-based business.
Also, consider whether you already use an eco-system from a major provider like Apple, Microsoft, or Google. Storing files in Google Drive is useful when you’re also a business user of Google Sheets or Google Docs. Similarly, if you’re a Microsoft Office 365 user, then OneDrive makes a lot of sense too. For Mac users, while iCloud is one option, many cloud providers also offer an optimised Mac-based plan, so don’t completely discount them.
Optimise Marketing Plans
Look at all marketing plans for your products and/or services from a value for money perspective. Know that there’s only so much start-up funds available, so every bit of money spent on marketing needs to get a decent return on investment.
Make a list of all the different ways that your product or service can be marketed successfully. Each has different price tags and likely cost per customer acquired. They also offer different response rates; a click on an online advert that leads to a website and a sale provides revenue much faster than some other types of marketing.
At first, put time into what will deliver quicker results. This can be judged based on how long the business can survive before it needs a certain level of sales to continue as a going concern. Not every new home-based business owner likes to look at their operation through this type of lens, but it helps them to confirm the fiscal reality and not operate in denial.
Medium to Long-term Objectives
Once you’re past that initial cashflow stage, look ahead to create a marketing plan with a greater long-term perspective.
For instance, search engine optimisation by building a website and getting links to it works to help your business rank better in Google for relevant search terms. This doesn’t happen overnight. For newer sites, it can easily take 8-12 months before you see positive ranking positions, with tougher search terms taking even longer.
Focus on Time Efficiency
When you’re the only person performing work within your business, it’s all on you. Not only are you creating the product or providing the service, but you’ll have to do the administration, sales and marketing, deal with customer difficulties, and so on.
When you have a full plate, the best thing to do is squarely focus on time efficiency. It’s necessary to maximise every available minute to get the most done in each work day. Remember that you can easily burn out if you’re not careful. It’s also important to take rest periods, have a proper lunch and enjoy some relaxation time in the evening. Also, if you’re working every weekend, you’re not allowing your body time to recover from the week’s activity.
By maximising your time efficiency, you’ll be to take time off to keep your health in good shape, workout, and stay mentally refreshed. This way, you’ll have better ideas for your home-based business during the downtime. You’ll return energised to push forward once again.
Outsource Non-Core Tasks to Freelancers
Depending on your financial position, it might be possible to outsource some non-core tasks to freelancers. Creating some standard operating procedures provides freelancers with the information to perform the necessary tasks correctly for you.
Either the tasks might be mundane and don’t require your skillset to complete or it’s possible to outsource them for relatively little money. Your focus is then on what tasks will push your business forward to the next level and avoid getting bogged down in ‘busy’ tasks. The types of tasks to outsource include website management, content writing, social media marketing, research, and link building to help rank your website better in the future.
Starting any new business is daunting. When working alone and from home, it’s harder in the sense that you don’t have your usual support network or people pushing you on. It’s important that you’re a self-starter,otherwise, they’ll be days when you just don’t get much done. It’s tough to grow a business to a successful one when your heart isn’t in it. Find support groups filled with other home-based business owners to help provide a sense of community. Their emotional support is useful when you doubt yourself and require a little motivational push.