I operate my own home office-based business and have done so since 2010. It is in the field of Outsource Credit Management and has grown to incorporate business and personal skills training. In the sense of this article, the nature of the business is irrelevant. What I want to tell you about is how I set up my business and how that can help you decide what, if and when you want to do the same.
There are many work-from-home opportunities available to those looking for such businesses. Most are online based, many are get-rich-quick schemes or purport to allow you to earn income doing next to nothing. In this report I am referring to legitimate, professionally recognised businesses.
Assuming you have decided upon a particular idea to pursue, from the outset it is vital to establish a number of things which I will discuss shortly, namely:
- Approach to Business
- Strategic Goal
- Support Networks
It is also important to establish your own business culture before setting up and operating your business.
Create a vision, or mission statement, for your business. What is it your business will do for others and how will it do it? For example, the vision for my Company, Accounts Receivable Solutions, is:
“To help small and medium sized businesses that sell on credit to other businesses to get paid by supplying affordable credit management services in a timely manner.”
That is the essence of my business operations.
All that you do in your business is governed by personal attitudes and values and these values are determined by how you act in your personal life as well as you interactions with others in your business dealings.
The following are my core values which, if you were to adopt them too, will help make your business more successful and a valuable investment financially:
- Honesty & Integrity
Always deal with clients, customers, colleagues and all other parties with the utmost integrity and as you would expect them to deal with you.
In all of your interactions demonstrate a caring and courteous manner. Be polite and show respect. This isn’t a ‘soppy’ attitude, it is one that shows that you are keen to help others with their problems. If you don’t care about your customers, they won’t be your customers for long.
- Service Excellence
Strive to deliver excellent service at all times. Be focused on results for your customers not your own results. When you look to assist others sincerely, your rewards will follow. Always be looking to improve your service.
Take a professional approach to your business, communications and all activities. Present a professional image and display appropriate subject knowledge. Whenever you are in public or speak to others you are an advertisement for your business. How do you want others to see you?
- Life Balance
Allow time for personal quality time for yourself. Relaxation and happiness outside of your work will improve your attitude to your business activities leading to better results and a more complete and rewarding life.
Approach to Business
Your approach to your business will take on board the values just stated. Different people have different approaches to what they do, yours should be professional in that:
It must be focused on your customer at all times while undertaking business operations.
You must project a business-like image in all interactions whether face-to-face, on the phone, email or any other form of communication. You must be the best person you can be. Even in private, don’t have a slovenly attitude to anything. Dress well, too, even when there is no one there to see you. You will feel good and you will be more efficient.
Display a positive attitude. Don’t be negative. If you aren’t a positive person by nature at least refuse to allow yourself to think negatively. There aren’t too many negative-thinking entrepreneurs in the world. Remember, you get back from life only what you give out.
Be always punctual for meetings or pre-arrange phone calls. Lateness is not only slack on your part but gives the impression you don’t care about the other person’s needs or time.
Have a high standard of diligence and accuracy in your work and communications. Speak well. Write correctly. If you can’t now, then learn. Mediocrity is a modern scourge, don’t be a part of it. In Australia, where I live, there is a saying “She’ll be right mate”. Be better than that.
Make your strategic goal to be the very best resource for your product or service. Aim to be the one that others turn to when they need guidance or want to purchase what you and possibly others sell. Become your brand. Be recognised as your brand. Doing so, will increase the value of your business in many ways. Decide upon a name, an icon, an image, a catchphrase for what you do. Stick to it and promote it at every opportunity. Let the world know you are your brand.
Don’t be afraid of competition in your area of operation. If there are many operators in your market look to find a niche that will put you ahead of the rest. If there are lots of players in the field then you product or service must be needed. Look for differences in how you can be better than them. Ask yourself “what is my unique selling potential?” If you don’t know, find out.
Be professional, be positive and promote your brand. You won’t find immediate success but you will get known eventually as a trusted and respected operator, one to be trusted.
Starting your own business means that you are the person in charge. You decide what to do and when to do it. Instead of reporting to the boss, you are the boss! That is a great feeling, it is quite empowering.
You can be as creative as you like, you can use your initiative, work as hard as you choose and allocate money to develop your business.
While the rewards can be exciting, being in business for yourself can be lonely and there will be times when you will be unsure whether an idea is good or bad. That is where support is needed.
See if you can find colleagues that work in similar situations as you. By getting together with others and keeping the focus mostly on business, you can exchange ideas and possibly even expand your network. Consider joining your local Chamber-of-Commerce or other networking organizations in your locality that can help promote who you are and what kind of business you are doing. These groups will also serve as social gatherings so you can escape that lonely feeling.
Your goal is to provide first class service or products to you customers. It is also treating them as acquaintances and keeping in regular contact with them so that you are the one they will turn to and tell others about when needed. In that way your reputation is further enhanced.
It is not cliché to say that “consistently brilliant service is they key to sustainable business growth” because it is true. If you were ever to lose a customer through poor service you have devalued your business.
Service means doing what you said you would do. Good service means doing more than you said. Brilliant service means adding value to a customer’s experience with you because you will have given them far more than simply providing a service.
Look always to improve your business, not letting the grass grow under your feet. What I mean here is goal setting and then achieving those goals or reviewing them when times or circumstances change. It is far better to be proactive and review them before times change by making “what-if” contingency plans.
In due course you may wish to sell your business and if you have managed it well it will be a valuable asset with a sound resale value.
Setting Up Your Business
There are many different commercial structures around the world and which is the best for you will depend on many circumstances. Will you be a Sole Trade, a partnership, a Limited Liability Company? How will you register the name of your new business? Will you have an online presence and how do you go about it? Do you need permits to operate? Do you know where to source your products for sale?
All of this is both exciting and possibly daunting but can be managed.
I hope this report has been of value to you. Of course, it is not exhaustive and there will no doubt be lots of things that aren’t covered but for which you would like to know.
If that is the case or If you require assistance in setting up your professional business do let me know and we can discuss your needs easily at no cost initially.
Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what it is that your require and I will be happy to respond to you.