Work From Home Articles, Small Business News, and Home Business Buzz

Posts Tagged ‘Tips

No one ever said that starting a small business would be easy, but then again, very few things in life worth doing are easy.  The challenges that face the entrepreneur when starting a small business would seem daunting to most people, but many entrepreneurs live for this kind of excitement and cannot stand the boredom of a 9-5, steady job, week-in, week-out.

With that said, first time entrepreneurs can easily find themselves in over their heads if they jump in without first doing their market research, consulting some experienced colleagues, and doing a lot of reading.  While there’s no one stop shop for learning how to successfully launch your first small business, here’s some well-known traits of successful small businesses that you should strive for in your own startup.

  1. Small Markets, Not Small Profits
    While many bemoan the construction of another big box store moving into town as the death of all of the mom and pops, the fact remains that a large chain simply cannot meat the needs of everyone.  As an avid photographer, I know that i can get a good price on a new camera if I head to Best Buy, but there are a few local, independently owned shops in town that carry all of the obscure parts and the higher end cameras that professionals and semi-pros need.  They also service cameras and lenses in the store, whereas a camera bought at Best Buy will either be swapped out for a return (if you’re within 30 days) or you’re left to fend for yourself, dealing with the manufacturer for a warranty repair.
  2. Treat Your Customers Right
    Despite the rampant growth of national chains, there is currently a resurgence (particularly in larger cities) of smaller stores with knowledgable salesmen cropping up more and more.  What gives these small businesses and edge, and keeps them in the black, is often the dissatisfaction that many customers have found at the bigger chains, so they’ll turn to the smaller alternative.  If you start a hardware store, for example, you’ll never be able to beat Home Depot on pricing, but what you can beat them on is service, knowledgeability and going above and beyond with your customers to make sure they leave satisfied and come back your way the next time.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid To Branch Out
    While you’ll mostly be focusing on a niche (or narrow) market with your small business, a great way to grow your small business is to add on with similar niche markets, ideally in the same vein.  Take our camera store example, the one i have in mind in Seattle, opened up a second store by the same name across the street, but instead of camera equipment, it’s lighting, camera support and film.  While this isn’t a big departure from their initial business, it opens them up to more customers and gives more people who live in the neighborhood less of a reason to go to the big box stores.

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As the recession of 2008 doesn’t seem to be bouncing back as fast as everyone had hoped, one thing that many people are noting is that now, more than ever, being an entrepreneur makes a lot of sense.  And while home based businesses are becoming increasingly popular, there are still some additional steps that you should take to maximize your effectiveness and minimize your bottom line.  The idea here is that while you’re immediately going to be able to run a lot leaner as a home based business, cutting down as much as possible within your home business will not only help you net the highest profits possible, but it could ultimately be the difference between your business failing or succeeding.

Read about three methods to saving money while growing your home business,

Direct selling can be a tough market for some to break into; primarily because it requires you to break down the barrier between business and friendship.  This doesn’t mean that you’ll constantly be pitching products to your friends, but what it does mean is that you’ll need to make lots of relationships with potential buyers and essentially need to become “everybody’s friend”.  It’s not an easy endeavor to venture into, but with the right personality, skill-set and motivation, you can make a great deal of money quickly selling directly.  Here’s a few tips that should help you along the way.

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What started with Avon in the late 1800’s and exploded with Tupperware in the early 1950’s, the concept of doing a ‘party’ themed around selling a line of products has been a popular and effective way of direct marketing.  Why do people still do it today nearly 60 years later, and more importantly, why does it continue to be successful?  The product manufacturers may ask you to believe that it’s because the products simply sell themselves, but the fact remains that word of mouth is still to this day the most powerful form of marketing, and when you get a group of friends and friends of friends together and sing the praises of a product, you’re all but guaranteed to make a sale.  That is, if you do it right.  So, how do you pull of a successful home show?  Here’s a couple sure-fire ideas that should get you on your way.


Most, if not all, home based businesses don’t exactly have a fat marketing budget.  In fact, usually marketing is something that doesn’t even make the budget sheet, let alone get it’s own piece of the pie, but there are still some very effective low-cost ways to market your business, and some of the most effective in the industry cost nothing.  Here’s a look at some of your options if you need to market your home based business on the cheap.

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LinkedIn is a unique professional network that brings together companies, entrepreneurs and individuals of all kinds with a focus on productivity rather than catching up with friends and family.  LinkedIn offers plenty of different features, but probably the three main ones for a business would be the Q&A, job listings and the Companies feature.

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Identify Your Passion(s), Never Stop Learning, Don’t Give Up

Loving your job, in my mind, always conjures up that famous Crosby, Stills & Nash song “Love The One You’re With”; meaning, sure you may not ever find your perfect job, so might as well love the job you have.  While this can be helpful in making it through a particularly tough season in any job, doing what you love is actually attainable for some  (not all) of us, and if you ever get the chance, you need to jump on it.  How do you know what you’re passionate about and how do you make money at it? The answers are different for everyone, but here’s a good start.

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