Home Business Startup Costs

onestepforward

Home Business Entrepreneurs are a vital and growing part of the business economy in North America. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 United States Report in 2012, over 69% of new entrepreneurs started from home. 55% of the new businesses remained at home even if they hired employees. Also, the average financing was $15,000 with 82% of the entrepreneurs receiving financing from personal funds, family or friend. If you are thinking about starting a home business, it is possible to start from home with less money than you think!

If you haven’t heard the term “bootstrapping”, it is a new mindset for you to save money by doing some of your startup activities yourself and financing your business plan.

1. The first step would be to create a budget of potential income and expenses possible in the first year. Most important would be to define all the expenses as income may not come in the first year.

2. Looking at the expenses, see how you can save by reducing expenses by, for example:

a) doing your own bookkeeping

b) using your existing furniture for your office rather than buying new or go out to garage sales to find used items.

c)asking your computer saavy family member to help you setup your internet in exchange for…

For most service businesses that are home-based, the initial year is the most expensive but saving money by creating an office in your home and using existing furniture and computer equipment helps to reduce costs.

Now on to needing money, a bootstrapping entrepreneur will use:

a) their own personal savings

b)credit cards debt

c)ask family or friends for startup money or if you are lucky, use your family members skills within your business in exchange for whatever you decide on.

The advantage to using your own personal finances is you are not indebted to any other person or company like a bank.

Without knowing what your startup expenses will be, you won’t know what money you need to raise before you even start your business. So, even though the thought of doing a business plan may be something you consider unnecessary, even if you are going to be bootstrapping, a business plan is worth doing to see what you need for the first year.

Government Resources for Writing a Business Plan

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a free resource on creating a business

The Canadian government resources at Canada Business Network

Australian government at Business Plan Template

Great Britain at Write a Business Plan

Go and write up your business plan even if you aren’t going to a bank for financing because it is the guide and plan to use in your first year to keep costs under control!

by Jane Gardner from Jane-Gardner.com To empower and implement your business dreams!

Home Office

office

 

Designing an Optimal Home Office
Your home office makes a big difference on your overall productivity and work happiness. Having a great home office makes it easier to concentrate and will help you get more done in less time. Here are some of the many things you should keep in mind while you’re designing your home office.

==> The Space Itself

Your home office should be separated from the rest of your house and especially the rest of your bedroom. If you don’t have a separate office space set aside, at least use curtains or other material to partition off the space.

When you step into your home office, it should feel like you’re stepping into a workspace. It should not be an extension of your bedroom.

==> Designing Your Flow

Place all the tools you’ll need within arm’s length. In other words, your phone, your keyboard, your printer tray and your notepad should all be in reaching distance if those are tools you use regularly.

==> Measure Your Space

Before you buy any equipment, make sure you take a tape measure and measure everything out. The last thing you want is to buy office equipment only to discover that it doesn’t fit.

==> Make Sure Your Cabinets Have Room to Open

This is one of the more common home office design mistakes people make. They remember to measure the cabinet’s space, but forget to measure enough space for the cabinet to open out. You don’t want your cabinet to hit anything else when it opens – including you or your chair.

==> Add Real Plants

Working in a home office all day can be quite stuffy. Research has shown that nature and real plants can help people concentrate and boost mood.

Add a real plant or two in your workspace to help lift your spirits.

==> Invest in a Quality Chair

Sitting in a low quality chair can result in back pain, aching shoulders and other kinds of body pains. If you’re going to spend money on anything in your office, spend it on your chair. Get a quality chair that supports your spine and allows you to work for extended periods of time without undue pressure.

==> Lighting Is Important

You don’t want to work in dim lighting. Having good lighting helps reduce strain on your eyes, promotes better mood and helps improve productivity.

The light in your office needs to appear diffused, so it can’t just come from one source. Ideally you’ll have three or four different lights that all contribute to an overall sense of having a well-lit room.

These are some of the many things that go into designing the optimal office. Your office space has a big impact on your overall workflow. The time you put into improving its design will pay off many times over.

What is a perfect name for my business

 

a smiling businesswoman holding empty card

What is the perfect name for my new home business? Is there a reason I should pick a business name carefully? 

When it is time to figure out a name for your new home business sometimes it can be something that you agonize over and wonder am I picking the right name? The idea that once you file the business name with the local government means it is “written in stone” can sometimes hold you back from picking one. 

 

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;  

from Romeo and Juliet

Michael Fortin, in his book “10 Commandments of Power Positioning” says your business name should stick in people’s mind long after they have met you.  Make it unique. Have it reflect what you do in the name, be “Heather’s Wedding Wreaths” not “Heather B. Business”.  A person will remember a unique business name.  At the very least, have what you do in your name,  ABC Cleaners not ABC Enterprise.

With my husband’s Structural Engineering firm, we called it Peak Engineering because Maple Ridge is below Golden Ears which has two peaks.  Also, whenever we tell people our name, we say Peak, as in mountain peaks spelling since peek is another spelling. It seems fairly easy for people to remember the name spelling though Brian is usually called Brain.  Or maybe, he just thinks it is an appropriate name for him.

For my company, JGardnerMarketing, I took a business name that was my name + marketing since our local government registrars have stricter guidelines about business names.  I could not have called it The Business of At Home Business because it used the word business in it was too generic.  So, it is alway good to check with your local authority and see what type of business name they will not approve before you send in names for approval.  With our local government authority, you have to give them three choices for the business name and if they disapprove the first name, you’d better like the second and then third name.  So, don’t start printing up your business cards or letterhead until you get the business name approved by the government.

Also, if you pick a name too close to a trademarked name or  it seems to come close and the other business can sue you and make you change your name.  So, no Burger Queen or Starebucks for you!  You can do a search through local Yellow pages, Google, your local Business registry and domain search.

If you want to go put up a website using your Business Name, you had better check early before registering your business name with your local government.  It is not possible to have the exact same domain name in the internet and when you are looking at the world businesses up on the internet, the odds are good that there would be a ABCCleaner.com up on the internet already!  You don’t want to be known by the website domain of ABCCleaner2.com.

Michael Fortin in 10 Commandments of Power Positioning had another good test for picking a business name that people remember.  Create about 5 business names and tell some of your friends you’d like to know what they think of the names.  Ignore this advice (just kidding).  What is important is to see them or call them up in an hour or two and ask them to recite the names.  See which names stuck in their mind and that will give you some idea on the uniqueness of the business name.

When deciding on a Business Name for your Home Business remember to:

    • pick a business name unique to you
    • pick a business name that has what you do for a living in it as an action word –  Cleaning, Engineering, Marketing, Writing–  somewhere within the business name
    • check that the business name is not already being used on the World Wide Web
    • check with local government authority on their business name rules
    • test some business names by getting friends to remember the most memorable of a list after an hour
    • stay away from other businesses names who are already registered as they can sue you to change it ,if it is too close

In the end, what your business name is will not define your business in your customer’s mind. Who you are and how you deliver the services or product to them  will be the reason customers will return to your business.  Micheal Fortin’s book “10 Commandments of Power Positioning” has some other great ideas about keeping your business name in top of mind of your customers so you receive a copy when you sign up for The Business of At Home Business newsletter.

Start a consulting business – Fred’s story

Fred consulting paperwork to start his home business

Fred consulting paperwork to start his home business

What do you need to do when starting a home business as a consultant?    The continuing story of Fred, the home based business consultant.

Fred had made the decision to work from home as a consultant rather than an employee. He had talked to his employer who was agreeable to them starting a new relationship with Fred as a part-time consultant.

For Fred to be an independent consultant, some of the things he would need to do are :

  1. Set up a home office space and office equipment
  2. Define a business name for his company
  3. Decide on the type of business as to whether he wanted to be a sole proprietorship or have an independent limited company
  4. Apply for a business number with the government so he could remit his taxes and fullfill any other government requirements when running your own business
  5. Apply for a business licence from his town or municipality so that he can run a business from his home.
  6. Sign a contract with his client (his previous employer) defining his responsibilities and his hourly rate for his services
  7. Make sure that the relationship between him and the client  was clearly defined in the contract including:
  • The defined hours of work he would be available in his home office for communications
  • The number of hours he might be required to spend in the client office during the week
  • The  other expectations of work involved activities such as meetings or required paperwork
  • The easy access to the intranet system for email conversation and collaboration and review of documents

Fred made sure he went to see a lawyer to see what should be in his standard contract to define his and his client’s role and responsibilities in this new relationship.

Fred went to see his accountant to review all the government rules and regulations he would have to fulfill as a a self employed business.

Fred also went on the internet and checked his federal government website on how to start a home business as the brochure listed the steps clearly on what regulations he had to follow whether it was:

1. United States of America 

2. Canada 

3. Great Britain

4. Australia

All the governments have very good step by step guides on starting up a home business so check them out!