Oct 082010

Seven questions to ask before you start a home business

A small home business can be a great asset for your family’s financial life. It can give you financial stability if you or your spouse is laid off. It can provide extra income to pay off debts or increase savings. It might even be the doorway to a new career.

In this series, we’ll cover some basics to help you plan your home business. Let’s begin by looking at some basic questions.

1. Is your family supportive?

Having a home business will affect the whole family. If you are replacing a job with a home business, usually there will be a period of lower earnings. If you are a stay-at-home parent, your new business may leave you with less free time for children’s projects. On the other hand, your business will set a powerful entrepreneurial example for your children.

If your family doesn’t want you to start your business, try to find the reason why. Then see if you work out a compromise that will address their concerns?

A home business is much easier if you have cheerleaders. It may take some negotiations, but try to get your family on board with your plans.

2. How much time do you have to work on your business?

Do you want to work full time or part time? Is your time flexible or do you need to work around an existing schedule; such as your job or your children’s school day or a baby who needs care?

3. How will your new business fit into your life?

Will your new business require much traveling? Do you have a place in your home where you can work? Will your business require storage space for inventory and shipping supplies?

4. Do you have any special needs to consider?

Do you or a family member have a health problem or disability that you need to consider while planning a business?

5. How much money does your business need to make?

Do you need to make a professional income or do you want just some extra cash? How soon do you need the income? Is there time to let your business grow?

6. What type of business do you want to run?

Do you want to sell a product or a service or both?

When you are selling a service, you are selling your time and your skill. However you are limited by the hours each day you and any employees can work.

If you want to sell products, you can sell something that someone else has made. For example, you can buy an item wholesale or at an estate sale and resell it. Or you can create a product to sell, such as candles or a craft pattern.

You might choose to combine a service business with selling products. For example you can sell knitted products and teach knitting classes. Or you could create e-books to sell on your website and also do copywriting for businesses.

7. What is allowed?

What are the laws concerning home businesses in your state and town? Will you need a license? Does your homeowners’ association have any rules about home businesses?

Next, its time to brainstorm some business ideas