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        A Home-Based Business Online

        a home based business onlinehome business ideas

        Another AHBBO Article
        Choosing the Right Home Business For You

        © 2001-20017 Elena Fawkner

        Pay any attention at all to your email inbox and you'd be
        forgiven for thinking that the only way to run a business
        from home is on the Internet.  Sure, many people are
        running spectacularly successful Internet-based home
        businesses.  Many, many more are doing so even more
        spectacularly unsuccessfully.

        But what if you're not interested in running an Internet
        business?  What if you want to start and run a home
        business the old-fashioned way?  Where do you start?

        Actually starting any home business is the easy part. 
        The hard part's deciding what that business should be. 

        So how do you even start the process of deciding on the
        right home business for you?  The key is to be methodical,
        realistic, objective and patient.

        Step 1 : Personal Inventory

        The first place to start is to inventory your skills,
        experience, interests, and personality characteristics.
        These are what you have to work with - your raw
        ingredients, so to speak.

        Make a list of personal qualities and factors that you can
        throw into the mix.  Include things like:

        => your personal background;
        => training and education;
        => work and volunteer experience;
        => special interests and hobbies;
        => leisure activities;
        => your personality and temperament.

        All of these qualities and factors make up what you know
        and what you're good at.

        Step 2 : Identify What You Like

        It's one thing to know a lot about something or be good at
        it.  It's quite another to enjoy it enough to want to make it
        your life's work.  So, remove from the list you created in
        Step 1 anything that you don't really, really like doing or
        which plain doesn't interest you.  No matter how good you
        are at it.  If you're lucky enough to like what you're good at,
        as a general rule, stick with what you know.

        Step 3 : Match Your Likes With Marketable Activities

        If Steps 1 and 2 still haven't suggested feasible home
        business ideas, review the following activities that have
        proven marketable for others and weigh them against
        your "likes" from Step 2:

        Crafts - pottery, ceramics, leadlighting
        Health and Fitness - aerobics instructor, network marketing
        for a health products company, home health care
        Household Services - cleaning, gardening, shopping
        Professional Services - attorney, architect, interior
        Personal Services - make-up artist, hairdresser
        Business Services - business plan writer, meeting planner
        Wholesale Sales - antique dealer, dropshipper
        Retail Sales - children's clothing, widgets
        Computers - web design, internet training.

        You get the idea.  This is not an exhaustive list, obviously.
        You can visit the AHBBO Ideas Page for a list of over 500
        home business ideas at http://www.shelteredturtle.com/ideas.html .

        Step 4 : Make a List of Business Ideas That Fit With Your
        Likes From Step 2

        By the time you're done, you'll have a hitlist of possible
        matches between your skills and interests on the one
        hand and home business ideas utilizing those skills and
        interests on the other.

        Step 5 : Research

        Armed with your list from Step 4, identify those ideas that
        you think have marketable potential and then research
        whether that belief is accurate.  In order to have
        marketable potential, the idea must satisfy the following

        => It must satisfy or create a need in the market.  The
        golden rule for any business is to either find or create a
        need and then fill it.

        => It must have longevity.  If your idea is trendy or faddish,
        it doesn't have longevity.  Go for substance over form in
        all things.

        => It must be unique.  This doesn't mean you have to invent
        something completely new but it does mean that there has
        to be some *aspect* of your product or service that sets it
        apart from the competition.  This is easy if you go for the
        niche, rather than mass, market.  Don't try to be all things
        to all people.  You'll only end up being too little to too many.

        => It must not be an oversaturated market.  The more
        competition you have, the harder it will be to make your mark.
        It's unrealistic to expect no competition, of course.  In fact,
        too little competition is a warning sign either that your business
        idea has no market or that the market is controlled by a few
        big players.  What you want is healthy competition where
        it's possible to differentiate yourself from competing

        This all gets back to uniqueness.  If you can't compete on
        uniqueness, you must compete on price (or convenience). 
        If you're forced to compete on price alone, that just drives
        down your profit margin.  Not smart business.

        => You must be able to price competitively yet profitably.
        The price you set for your product or service must allow
        you to compete effectively with other businesses in your
        market, it must be acceptable to consumers and it must
        return you a fair profit.  If any one of these three is off,
        move on.

        => Your business must fit with your lifestyle.  If you're
        a parent of young children and you primarily want to start
        a business from home so you can stay home with them,
        a real estate brokerage business that requires you to be
        out and about meeting with prospective clients is obviously
        not going to work.

        You'll instead need to choose a business that can be
        conducted entirely (or near enough entirely) from within the
        four walls of your home office.  Similarly, if your business idea
        would involve having clients come to your home, you're not
        going to want an unruly 3 year old underfoot as you're trying
        to conduct business.

        => Your financial resources must be sufficient to launch and
        carry the business until it becomes profitable.  No business is
        profitable from day one, of course.  But some are quicker to
        break even than others.  If your business requires a
        considerable initial capital outlay to start - computer, printer
        and software for a web design business, for example - it will
        take you longer to break even than if the only prerequisite
        was the knowledge inside your own head, such as working
        from home as an attorney.

        If your financial situation is such that you can't afford to quit
        your day job until your business is paying its way, this, too,
        will mean it will take longer to break even than if you're able
        to devote every waking hour to your business.  Just do what
        you have to do.  That's all any of us can do.

        Step 6 : Business Plan

        Once you've gone through the above process and identified
        what appears to be the right business for you, the final "gut
        check" is to write a business plan for your business, much as
        you would for a presentation to a bank for financing.  Include
        sections for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,
        and set goals for what your business needs to achieve for
        you, by when, and how you are going to get there. 

        There are plenty of good resources online about how to
        prepare a thorough business plan.  A great place to start is
        at About.com (http://www.about.com).  Just type "business
        plans" into the search box.

        Although it may seem like a waste of time and effort to
        complete a business plan if you don't intend to seek outside
        financing, taking the time and exercising the discipline needed
        to really focus your mind on the important issues facing your
        business, you will be forced to take a long hard look at your
        idea through very objective and realistic eyes. 

        If your idea passes the business plan test, then you can be
        reasonably confident that this is the right business for you. 
        If you come away from this exercise feeling hesitant,
        uncertain and unsure, either do more research (if the reason
        for your hesitancy and uncertainty is lack of information) or
        discard the idea (if it's because you don't think your idea is
        going to fly).  If this happens, just keep repeating Steps 5
        and 6 until you end up with an idea and a business plan that
        you're confident is going to work!

        Although it's frustrating to wait once you've made up your
        mind to start a business from home, this really is one situation
        where the tortoise wins the race.  By taking a methodical,
        systematic and disciplined approach to identifying the right
        home business for you, you give your business the best
        possible chance for long-term survival, hopefully avoiding
        some very expensive mistakes along the way.

        More Information and Articles about How to Start A Home Business


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