If you're starting a home business, you want to get things up and running as smoothly as possible. Expect to make a lot of mistakes your first year or two, but be prepared to learn from them. With enough research, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that entrepreneurs make when starting out. Here are 7 common problems with starting a home business:
1. Not Enough Space
You may find that your home office takes up a corner of your living room. If you don't have a dedicated space for your filing cabinets, desk and other office necessities, you can find yourself very cramped in the early days of a home business. If you're selling products from home, you might be surprised by how quickly your inventory can pile up. Plan accordingly.
2. Not Enough Phone Lines
You may need to have a dedicated business phone line, or you may need a cell phone to take all your business calls. Neighbors, friends and relatives can inadvertently take valuable time away from your business if they're always calling. A business phone line that's separate from your home number may be a necessity for you.
3. No Budget
Make sure you have a business bank account that's separate from your personal accounts. Budget management is a skill that takes time to master, and keeping the business finances separate will help. Taking the time to keep your budget up to date will pay off dividends later when it's time to file taxes. It also helps you keep from running into the red, if you know how much money is coming in and how much is going out.
4. Not Planning Ahead
Plan ahead as much as possible to anticipate business expenses. Financial software such as Quickbooks or Peachtree can not only help you manage your budget, it can also help you plan your income and expenses, months into the future. Take time to anticipate future expenses in order to minimize expensive "surprises".
5. Not Enough Time
If you're starting a home business, you're going to need to master time management. You're merging your home and personal life with your business life. Since family is always the higher priority, family issues can tend to arise more if you're always available at home. Block out dedicated hours of time for business, and let your family know the schedule so they can try to minimize interruptions as much as possible.
6. Overexerting Yourself
Many home business owners try to have a broad focus when starting out. You end up spreading yourself too thin and not generating enough sales. There aren't enough hours in the day to generate enough income, if you're trying to market yourself to too many different types of clients. Choose your niche, remain focused, and patiently and consistently market to that audience.
7. Lack of Sales Training
You may find yourself struggling to bring in business if you don't know how to sell yourself, your products or your services. Study up on sales techniques to help your business grow and profit. Find seminars and courses in your community, local chamber of commerce, or signup for webinars and other online sales courses.
Starting a home business is a dream for many people, but they often find themselves struggling in the beginning. Try to anticipate and prepare for these common problems to make your journey that much easier.