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Start a Home Business with an Idea and this Checklist

Starting a home business is the solution for people who want to work for themselves but want to do so from the comfort of home. Starting a home business has its own special challenges, but with some planning and research, you can run a successful business from home.

How to Come Up With an Idea

Choosing a home business idea can be the hardest decision an aspiring home based business owner makes. Some choose to turn hobbies into businesses, others opt to buy into a franchise, and still others choose a business idea that is something they enjoy doing. The most important things to consider include:

  • Can the business be successfully run from home? Some home businesses require more equipment or space than others, and you will need to consider how much space you have to dedicate to your business.
  • Is there a market for the home business ideas? Although doing something for which you have a passion is important, you will go out of business quickly if there isn't a need for your services or a market for your products.
  • Can you afford the start-up costs? Starting a business from a hobby can mean an inexpensive start-up, since you probably already have the tools and materials to get started. On the other end of the spectrum, some franchises are expensive to start. Research the start-up costs of any business venture that interests you so you don't have unwelcome surprises later.

Licensing and Zoning Issues

Before you launch your business, you must ensure that your city or neighborhood allows for a home based business. Check with your local business authority, which could be the city or county clerk, whether your particular neighborhood has any zoning regulations for running a business from home. This is especially important if you will have clients coming to your home or if you will be receiving a large number of packages from delivery companies such as Fed Ex or UPS. You will also need a license to run your business. The type of license and its fee will depend on the type of business you plan to operate. Your city or county clerk can tell you which license you will need and how much it will cost you.

Preparing for Start-up

Once you have chosen a home business idea and acquired the necessary licenses, you can start preparing to launch your home business. One of the perks of owning a home based business is that you can start small and add equipment and supplies as you grow. But even the smallest of businesses need the basics, some of which include:

  • Office supplies such as pens, paper, a computer, a printer and other general supplies
  • Specific tools to complete your work. For example, if you want to start a handyman service, you'll need several tools.
  • Creating or ordering marketing materials such as business cards and signs.
  • Large office equipment such as a desk, chair and filing cabinets.
  • Write your business plan. Although you don't need a plan to start a business, it is a good idea to have a plan so you can track the progress of your business. Also, if you intend to pursue outside financing, a business plan will be a requirement of lenders and private investors.

Owning and running a home business can be a rewarding experience. If you do your homework and choose a business with a demand for your products and services, you can soon find yourself the owner of a successful business.

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