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Home Business Opportunity Guide

Starting up a business can be a rather complicated process, with many new responsibilities, duties and problems to tend to. While starting a home business may be easy for some, it was an excruciatingly painful process for me as a first-time business owner. Without the proper training and skills needed to run a business, I found myself in a whole new world of trouble. This article will help to guide you through the processes that are needed to open a new business, and what steps you can take to make your transition into business ownership smooth and worry-free. With my home business opportunity guide, you can rest easy knowing that you have all of the information you will need to be successful right from the start.

There are several steps that you will need to take to begin your home business. Although not all steps are required, I would recommend that you do most. It will increase your chances of success, and will also help you design a business plan, if you have not already done so. These steps include finding a mentor, financing your business, naming your business and obtaining licensing and permits, designing a structure, and protecting your ideas.

Find a Mentor

A mentor should be someone with business experience that will assist you along your way. A mentor will help to decrease your chances for failure, and will provide guidance to you as you work your way through the many steps of business ownership. Someone that is business savvy, supportive of your ideas and designs, and who is also successful as a business owner will be the best choice for a mentor. Don’t think you have to do this alone- there is lots of help out there!

Finance your Business

Most businesses require some form of financing, even if your start-up costs are small. Depending on what type of home business you are starting, you may want to research your options. There are several things to consider with your financial plan. First, consider your start-up costs. These are costs directly associated with the initial investment required to begin your business. Second, estimate what your average total fixed costs will be each month. With that, do a break-even analysis to determine when you can expect a profit each month. Third, find out where you stand from a financial view- what is your credit score? Can your business afford to borrow from a lender? And, what kinds of equity or resources do I have that will assist me in financing my business?

Naming your Business & Obtaining Licensing and Permits

This aspect of business is probably the most exciting part; however, there are a few steps that need to be taken in order to protect your business name, and ensure that everything is done legitimately. You will need to register your trade name at the Secretary of State Office where you live. This is important, as it will protect your business name. You may be able to register your business name online if you prefer. The cost is minimal, and is a fairly simple process.

Designing a Business Structure

The structure you choose is going to delegate the way in which you file your taxes each year. Most likely, you will want to file as a sole proprietorship; however, look into your options to decide exactly which structure best suits your particular type of home business. The other types of business structures include partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLC).

Protecting Your Business Ideas

Protecting your ideas are important; though it might surprise you that your very best way to do this is to simply succeed. Let me explain. There are very few new business ideas anymore. Most ideas are just a twist to an already invented idea, which makes patenting a waste of time. If, by chance, you have a very unique idea, you may want to pursue patenting; however, you might be better off just focusing on making your business a successful entity. Your business success alone will create natural barriers to entry in the market, thus giving you business protection.

With these steps, starting up a home business can be a smooth and simple process. I hope that you have found my Home Business Opportunity Guide to be helpful. Best of luck to you!

Rebecca Baird

Writing Your Business Plan – Top Ten Tips to Make Your Business Bankable

Want to write a business plan that doesn’t give the bank any reasons not to back you? A business plan that’s bankable? Keep these things in mind…

  1. Don’t just tell them what your business does; tell them what your business does better than anyone else. Tell them WHAT you do and HOW you do it. Concentrate on what is unique about your business and WHY that will make you successful.
  2. Don’t just talk about the history of your business. Tell them about your future – WHERE is the business going? Include goals that are measurable, achievable and that have a deadline – WHEN will you do it by?
  3. Sell yourself. Include your resume. Writing a business plan does have an element of a job interview about it. WHO are you and why are you “the best person for the job”? If there are other key people involved in your business, give them a plug as well. People buy people first, before they buy business ideas. And yes, business bankers are people, contrary to popular belief.
  4. Sell the opportunity. Hopefully, you’re looking to borrow money for a reason. That reason will usually be directly tied to an opportunity you’ve recognised. An opportunity to grow your sales, increase your efficiency, or buy out a competitor; explain the opportunity that exists and sell it to the people you’re asking to finance it. Let them know what they stand to lose by not backing your business!
  5. Include an assessment of the key risks that your business will face and explain what you are doing to mitigate those risks. Pretending there are no risks involved in your business venture by not addressing them is foolish and it will make any banker think you don’t know what you’re doing.
  6. You’ll need to include a detailed section on the numbers – financial statements for the last 2-3 years and forward projections for at least one year. Talk about the numbers in your business plan, don’t just leave them sitting there on their own for the banker to analyse. Point out the trends, the one-off items, and explain the key drivers of your business as you understand them. Draw their attention to the positive aspects of the results and explain what you’re doing to make an impact on the not so positive aspects. Show them that you know what you’re doing when it comes to managing your business based on the financial data your accountant prepares for you. Throw in some charts and tables – break down the raw data visually to make an impact.
  7. Write the business plan as much for yourself as for anyone else. Your business plan is part of your loan application, but it isn’t the loan application itself. Business plans that are written to allow the owners to use them on a day to day basis to manage their progress are always more complete (and realistic) than business plans that are written for the express purpose of applying for a loan. If you can’t refer to your business plan on at least a monthly basis to see if you’re on track with your goals, budget, vision – something, what is it really worth?
  8. Include a detailed marketing plan. No business idea is any good to anyone if you can’t sell it to someone. How will you get the customers that are willing to part with their hard-earned cash to buy your product or service? Do you know how much it costs to “buy” a new customer by advertising in a newspaper, on the radio, on television, over the internet, using Google AdWords, establishing a word of mouth referral system? If not, you need to find out. Also important is figuring out how many units of your goods or services you need to sell each week, month or year just to break even. If you don’t know these things, the bank is a lot less likely to back you.
  9. Make your business plan complete. Don’t focus on adhering to any particular business plan “template” – focus on giving an honest, thorough assessment of your business including its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Anticipate the questions the bank will ask you (even the difficult ones) and answer them before they have to ask them. This will show that you’ve done your homework, help avoid costly delays and let them know that you’re confident enough to present a balanced, accurate picture of your business.
  10. Get help. Even if you take immense pleasure in writing business plans and consider yourself an expert, it’s always best to get someone to have a look at yours before handing it over to the bank. Make sure it makes sense to anyone and everyone. You won’t always be there in person to fill in any gaps when your plan is being read by the bank. Gaps = reasons for the bank not to back you. If writing business plans isn’t your thing (relax, you’re in the majority), get some expert advice from a trusted adviser that knows business, and preferably, banking. Remember, the goal is to prepare a document that not only gives you an operations manual for the management of your business, but one that makes your business bankable.