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Choosing Between a Service, Retail, or Product-Based Home Business


A good home business begins with a good idea. As you brainstorm, plan and prepare for launching your home-based business, you must first understand what kind of business you will operate. There are three basic types of home-based business models:

  • Service Business: selling your personal services
  • Retail Business: operating a store
  • Product-based: selling something you make or design

In order to find out which model is right for you, you should consider four factors: your personal ability, your training or experience, your situation and your style.

Understand Personal Ability

Take an honest look at yourself to determine how your ability will blossom in a home-based business. First, ask yourself, "What am I good at?" Everyone is good at something; sometimes the only challenge is figuring out what that is. Do you have a skill or talent that you can offer for sale to others?

The next question to ask is, "What do I like to do?" No one wants to be stuck in a business that they hate doing. If you despise cleaning homes, don't open a service business of mopping, dusting and washing. Chances are, you'll be unhappy. If, on the other hand, you love kids, babysitting may be more in line with what you should be doing. A stay-at-home mom who has a penchant for producing stunning watercolors may want to consider selling her artwork to others.

Leverage Your Training and Experience

It is also important to consider the training or education that you have received. Did you go to college? Maybe your strength lies in the work experience you've had in the past. If you have a ten-year background in selling insurance, you could use that knowledge to operate a business using those skills. Others may not have a formal education or work experience, but in-depth reading on gardening coupled with an avid pursuit of the hobby may give you the chance to sell your knowledge in a garden consulting business.

Know Your Current Situation

Take a careful look at your current situation to determine which of the three types of business would be the best fit.

  • How much capital do you have? Starting a retail business takes a lot of money, but a service business such as writing, takes little to no capital.
  • What will you do with the kids? For the work-at-home mom, juggling business with family is a constant challenge. Deciding what to do with the kids obviously depends on age. Teenagers can function without the constant gaze of a caretaker, but two-year olds require a bit more maintenance.
  • How will your home do as a business location? Many of today's work-at-home moms use their computer and Internet connection to operate a service business. If product-based or a retail business is what you choose, understand the limitations of your living space.

Any situation--rich or poor, kids or none, trailer or mansion--can work well as a home business site. Take what you have and run with it.

Go with Your Style

After you work through the necessary checklist of skills, training, and financial situation, the decision comes down to this: what's your style? With a bit of passion, and a desire to make it work, you can launch a successful business built on your style. The type of business you begin is important, but the most important factor is the person who's starting it: you. Determine your style, and go for it.

Launching a home business is thrilling, exhilerating, and a lot of hard work. To make sure that you have fun while at the same time enjoying great success, choose a business model that suits your ability, experience and situation.

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