Category Archives for "Small Business"

Business Insurance Just Might Save Your A$$!

By Randall Orser | Small Business

broken piggy bank TNBusiness insurance is essentially a requirement for all businesses. The benefits of business insurance definitely outweigh the costs, and it is worth paying for whether it is a corporation or a small business. Business insurance does cost money, and there will likely be some annual or monthly fees for the service, but the cost is still small compared to the amount that the business would have to pay if there were a costly lawsuit. The main reason why business insurance is necessary is because it protects the business from liabilities like theft, vandalism, lawsuits, storms, fires, and more. Going without business insurance will expose the company to a lot of liability and potentially cause the company to haemorrhage money if and when something happens.

What is business insurance?

Business insurance is like any other type of insurance, and the only difference is that it is designed to protect businesses. Business insurance is different depending on the business, their needs, and the insurance provider, but it can include things like property insurance, auto insurance, workers compensation coverage, and general liability insurance. Business insurance is designed to protect the business in the event that something damages the building, their products, equipment, employees, or even customers.

Why do you need business insurance?

All businesses need business insurance whether they are large corporations or small businesses. It is generally not required in most provinces and many start-up and home businesses may not have any insurance in the beginning. Since business insurance does cost money, some entrepreneurs will forgo getting insurance until they have become profitable, and that is understandable. However, it is important that they obtain a good insurance policy shortly after they start because any type of disaster could cost them thousands or even millions of dollars in damages. For example, if a new store opened without business insurance and a customer slipped and fell on the floor, they could be sued for thousands or even millions of dollars for an injury. If the store had business insurance, then they would be protected and they would only have to pay the insurance costs as opposed to all of the money for the damages since the insurance company would resolve the matter.

Since there are other types of business insurance, they still provide protection for a number of scenarios. General liability insurance and property insurance helps provide coverage for fires, thefts, natural disasters, accidents, and etc. Workers compensation insurance is designed to provide protection for the business if an employee makes a workers compensation claim or if they try to sue the company. There is product liability insurance. Product liability insurance is available for companies that make products and it protects them in case a product is defective or injures someone. Auto insurance can protect all of the company vehicles and provide coverage if a car is damaged by another party or if an employee gets into an accident or damages a vehicle.

Business insurance may actually be required for certain types of business depending on the province. Some provinces may require medical related businesses such as hospitals and doctors offices to carry malpractice insurance in case a patient gets injured. Many financial businesses such as investment firms, banks, and credit unions are required to have a certain type of insurance policy as well. Umbrella insurance is also available as a package deal of sorts because it combines all of the different types of coverage into one policy. A business can work with an insurance company to create a policy that will fit all of their needs and include different types of coverage.

How to save money on business insurance

Business insurance costs can change due to a number of factors, so there are some ways to reduce costs. The first thing that businesses should do is compare quotes across the board and meet with different insurance providers to get the best rates. Try to negotiate with them and make sure that all of your needs are met in the policy that you create because you are not obligated to accept a standard policy. Sometimes a business can reduce their insurance rates by increasing their credit rating and just improving their standing as a legitimate business by signing up with the chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau. Generally, with most policies if the business gets a low deductible there will be a high premium and if they get a high deductible there will be a low premium. Take some time to look around and never accept the first offer.

The benefits of insurance does outweigh the costs because the costs of lawsuits, natural disasters, or a fire could be so devastating that the company may close down altogether if they cannot afford to pay the entire bill on their own. In this day and age, business insurance is really a necessity, and it is just part of the cost of doing business.

Why Having a Good Customer Returns Policy Makes Good Business Sense

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Oops vector signboard TNSatisfaction Guaranteed, Or Your Money Back!

Having a good or item returned by one of your customers can be disappointing, perhaps leading you to conclude that your products are of poor quality and not worth the money paid for them. But there is another way of looking at this undesirable situation. Providing a good returns service can prove to your customers that you care about their satisfaction, and can result in their repeat business for years. Sears is a great place to buy something as they take it back no matter the reason. Costco is another store that takes it back, sometimes way beyond the normal amount of time.

Why goods are returned

Unlike brick-and-mortar shops where a person can touch, see and feel the product they are considering buying, online shoppers have to rely on photographs, product descriptions and other buyers’ reviews, and as such, an item when received may not meet with expectations. An item may also have become damaged in transit, or a customer may simply have changed their mind. With an online shop, a customer cannot walk back into the store with their receipt and insist on a refund or exchange. They have to rely on the returns policy of the business.

Reassurance for your customers

Customers like to feel they have some form of protection when they shop online. One way of doing this is to promise secure financial transactions, but another is with a returns policy. Such a policy lends credence to your trading reputation, and demonstrates confidence in the products you are selling. A customer will believe in the representation of your products because you offer the option for them to return anything that fails to live up to their expectations. Without this assurance, a customer may become suspicious of the product and your reliability, and choose not make the purchase.

Contents of returns policies

Every business can establish its own returns policy, but there are certain elements that a customer expects. These include the option to return the good for any reason, not just damage. There does have to be a time limit imposed on returns, otherwise goods might be kept for months or even years, depreciating in value and becoming nonviable as re-sale material. Most standard returns policies have 30-day limits, just as most will require the product to be returned in its original packaging. It is up to individual companies to decide whether to offer free returns, but these are undeniably more attractive to customers.

Making returns even easier

If you want to encourage even higher degrees of customer loyalty, you should make it even easier to return goods. This is simpler for big-name companies to achieve, as they have greater resources at their disposal; but you could consider working with a parcel delivery company that has drop-off locations on main streets or at train stations, so that people can drop their returns off on their way to work. You could even arrange collections from home or workplaces so your customer does not have to do anything except submit a return request online.

However you choose to word your returns policy, ensure that your customer can quickly see or find it on your website. A highly visible returns policy will enhance your seller reputation and help to build customer loyalty.

27 Interesting Facts About Canada

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Canada Day card TNCanada is the second largest country in the world, right after Russia.

Canada is the World’s Most Educated Country: over half its residents have college degrees.

Canada’s lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) in 1947.

Prostitution is legal in Canada. Buying the services of a prostitute is not.

Canada consumes more macaroni and cheese than any other nation in the world.

Residents of Churchill, Canada, leave their cars unlocked to offer an escape for pedestrians who might encounter Polar Bears.

Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined.

The first Canadian casualties of the Afghanistan war were from an American pilot bombing a training exercise.

Licence plates in the Canadian Northwest Territories were shaped like polar bears.

In 2010, a Canadian man rescued a newborn baby from a dumpster, only to find out he was the father.

Canada has the largest coastline in the world.

In Newfoundland, Canada, the Atlantic Ocean sometimes freezes so people play hockey on it.

Every Christmas, one million letters are addressed to Santa Claus at his own postal code:

“H0H 0H0, North Pole, Canada.”

With 1,896 km (1,178 mi), the Yonge Street in Canada is the longest street in the world.

Canadians own the Mall of America.

The U.S. / Canada Border is the longest international border in the world and it lacks military defense.

Canada has no weapons of mass destruction since 1984 and has signed treaties repudiating their possession.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII, Canada declared war on Japan before the U.S. did.

“Canada” is an Iroquoian language word meaning “Village.”

Canada’s official phone number is 1-800-O-CANADA.

Large parts of Canada have less gravity than the rest of Earth. The phenomenon was discovered in the 1960s.

Police Departments in Canada give out “positive tickets” when they see people doing something positive.

Americans have invaded Canada twice, in 1775 and 1812. They lost both times.

Canada has the third largest oil reserves of any country in the world after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The third country in space, after The U.S. and the USSR, was Canada, which was considered to have the most advanced space program in 1962.

In Canada, Mexico, India, Russia and Israel, bank notes have Braille-like markings on them for the blind.

Canada has fewer people than Tokyo’s metropolitan area.

Efficient Ways of Handling Money For Your Business

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Piggy bank TNWith the help of the Internet, it is now very easy to run a business without leaving your home or even hiring employees. In the last few years, the increase in the number of home-based businesses in Canada and the United States alone has been nothing short of astounding. Despite the ease and convenience of running a home-based business nowadays, there are still certain skills that any business owner needs to learn in order to ensure the success of his business. One of these skills is efficient money management.

People who run home-based businesses are their own boss and as such, it is their own responsibility to make sure that the financial aspect of the business is handled perfectly. If you have a home business, you can always seek money management advice from professionals but it is good if you learn a technique or two about the proper ways of handling money.

  1. Open a business account.

Your personal savings account should always be separate from your business bank account even if you are working from home. This way, you can clearly monitor the performance of your home business, as well as help keep your personal finances secure in case of business problems. It is also interesting to note that many banks offer special interest rates and rewards to business accounts. In addition, you appear more professional if you do business with your clients using a business account rather than a personal account.

  1. Use a financial software program.

Even if you have had no formal education on business management, you can easily take care of a home business with the help of a good financial software program. Most of these programs are capable of handling everything from budgeting, paying bills, financial forecast, and so on. Choosing which financial software program to use is not that difficult either. First of all, there are probably hundreds of options you can choose from and there will always be at least a few out there that can cater to your needs perfectly. In making your choice, consider the features included in the software, as well as customer testimonials and reviews.

  1. Keep transaction records clear and updated at all times.

When you think about it, this should actually be easy to do since you are the only person handling all transactions. However, many business mix-ups usually begin precisely because of this line of thinking. To avoid any problems, make sure you record and organize all cash and receipts as soon as each transaction is completed.

  1. Create a business budget and stick to it.

This is one other thing that most home-based business owners fail to do. Many of them think that this is an unnecessary step, particularly if their home business is quite small. But small or not, a home-based business is still a business and every business must have a well-planned budget. As a matter of fact, it is even more important to have a budget for a home business because the risk of overspending is much higher, especially if home expenses and business expenses are tied together.

Once you have mastered the proper money management techniques, you can easily grow your home-based business in no time at all.

4 Good Reasons to Build a Home Office for Your Home-Based Business

By Randall Orser | Small Business

modern-home-office--Tidbits 2015-06-03 TNFollowing the recent economic crisis, many people who lost their jobs have decided to become entrepreneurs. Their encouragement to do so comes from stories and news about individuals who succeeded in their home-based businesses. Indeed, running a business from home offers a lot of benefits and can be profitable too. If you have begun doing business at home, you may want to formalize a little. Specifically, you may want to build a home office from where you can manage and operate your home business. This is one aspect that is often neglected by many small home business owners especially those who put value on how much they save by working from home. Building a home office, however, will open greater opportunities for your business.

  1. A Home Office Boosts Your Professional Image

If your business goals include growth and expansion, then you will need a home office. It will validate the professional image you want to impress on your clients. By having a home office, you have your own place to meet and entertain your clients and prospects in a businesslike manner. Do remember that image is very important when doing business and you need to hold up that image.

  1. A Home Office Offers Convenience

Another reason why you ought to create a home office for your home business is the convenience it will give you. You get to save on time and energy while exerting lesser efforts in operating your home business. You have a designated space in your home that is dedicated to your business affairs. You can have everything you need in there, from furniture and equipment to materials and supplies, to make your work easier. And when you feel that pressure is building up at work, you can always cross over to your home and enjoy its comforts even for a short while.

  1. A Home Office Keeps Your Business Life Separate from Your Personal Life

Those working from home may find themselves constantly interrupted by demands from other family members and other household responsibilities. As a result, you may not be able to complete your tasks and could miss out on deadlines. Having a home office can isolate you from domestic concerns at least for the duration of your working hours. You should then be able to have peace and focus on your tasks yet be accessible enough in case of emergency.

With a home office, you are not abandoning your responsibilities to the home. You’re merely establishing a boundary for your professional life. The other members of your household need to understand that your work is real work and that you will need to be serious about it. It will help if you let them know about your working hours so they won’t bother you during that time. It is for this reason that the ideal location of your home office is in a separate room with a door you can keep closed while working.

  1. A Home Office Gives You Opportunities for Growth and Expansion

If you have a home office, you can explore more opportunities that will help you grow and expand your business. As you may be aware, traditional business establishments have separate personnel attending to the different aspects of the business, like a human resources department has its own staff and so do the other departments such as tech support, finance, and sales, to name a few. It is different with a home business setting, especially those that are in the start-up stage when the business owner does everything. In time, when you can afford to pay salaries, you may consider hiring employees although you will need to take care of a few things like withholding taxes and insurance coverage. Then again, the increase in your expenses and in your administrative duties may well be justified considering the many benefits of having employees to help you generate bigger revenues while reducing your own workload.

How to Come Up With a Winning Business Idea

By Randall Orser | Small Business

a_bright_idea--Tidbits 2015-05-20 TNEvery entrepreneur has spent countless hours thinking about what the next big thing will be. What did the great business leaders of the past know that helped them to achieve such extraordinary success? Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, Fred DeLuca of Subway, and Howard Schultz of Starbucks are just a few among the long list of individuals who came up with a Winning Business Idea that brought them success beyond their wildest dreams. So how did they do it and what can we learn from them to help us to achieve our dreams too?

Although there is a lifetime of lessons to be learned from each of the individuals the reality is that none of them came up with a fundamentally original business idea. Think about it. Harland Sanders wasn’t the first person to sell fried chicken. Sam Walton wasn’t the first person to open a discount store. Fred Deluca wasn’t the first to open a sandwich shop and Howard Schultz certainly wasn’t the first person to open a coffee shop. Every one of these businesses had existed long before these people changed the world with their vision.

What each of these people did was to take an old business and reinvent it.

Sam Walton reinvented the discount store by taking the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of offering the lowest price very, very seriously. He made it his mission to offer his products at a price that couldn’t be beaten. It wasn’t just words in an ad. He stood by it and made it happen. In fact he was so good at it that he changed the way business was done around the entire globe.

Howard Schultz, while traveling, experienced a cup of coffee that told him coffee could taste much better then what most people were accustomed to for about the same cost. He offered it in an environment that was clean and trendy. A place you would enjoy spending time with a friend.

So to begin looking for a Winning Business Idea you may want to look at the business you’re in now. How can you reinvent it? Sometimes it’s as simple as giving the customer what they want. In one instance an online seller of beauty products recognized that one of the most significant objections people had to buying online was paying shipping. He reinvented the way online retail was typically done and his sales took off.

If you don’t have a business now then start by making a list of traditional businesses and ask yourself how you can reinvent them. Has the particular business been run in essentially the same way for decades without any fundamental change? How can you bring it into the 21th century? Are customer’s expectations different now than they once were as a result of changes in technology or cultural norms of the times?

One thing is for certain. More business will be reinvented and more people will achieve unbelievable wealth simply by reinventing a business that already exists! Will you be the one to bring change and reap the rewards?

Why Small Businesses Go Bankrupt and How to Avoid It

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Debt Word And 3d Character Shows Bankruptcy And Poverty TNStatistics are regularly released that say something to this effect: “85% of new businesses fail in the first five years”. The message is clear. If you start a small business there is a high probability that you will fail. You would think that this would send the smart money straight to the Help Wanted ads but what about the businesses that succeed? What made them different? What secret did they know that lead them down the path to prosperity? Here is what you need to know to be one of the winners.

Lets look at a scenario. Andre is a baker. Not just any baker. When anyone who has eaten Andre’s baking hears mention of it they start to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. One day Andre’s grandmother passes away and leaves him a modest inheritance. His time has come. He takes his money and starts his dream business. Five years later the inheritance is gone and Andre is back working for his old boss. What happened?

Andre had spent all his time learning about his passion, which was baking. In order to succeed he needed to know an equal or greater amount about business. For every cookbook he read he needed to read a book on business. For every cooking class he attended he needed to attend a course on business. Andre didn’t know the difference between a Monthly Bank Statement and a Cash Flow Forecast. He had heaps of Specialty Knowledge and almost no Business Knowledge.

So the first step to succeeding in business is to learn about business. Sounds simple doesn’t it. It is but it is a sad fact that most people will only figure this out after it is too late and maybe not even then. Here are some things you can do to give yourself a huge edge and increase your likelihood of success.

  • Sign up for some courses in small business at your local college or university. Maybe even start working on a degree in business. Be aware that there are now programs aimed at learning to be an Entrepreneur, which differ somewhat from a typical business degree designed to send you into the corporate world.
  • Start networking. Meet successful business people. You will find them at your local Chamber of Commerce, at work in their business and as members of clubs such as Toastmasters.
  • Read books on business. The libraries and bookstores are filled with them. Read reviews to find some of the most recommended titles and take notes when you read them.
  • Make use of the excellent resources online. The United States Small Business Administration website is just one example of a tremendous (and free) resource on starting a small business.

Entrepreneurs are known for taking risks but the reality is that the skilled entrepreneur takes risks that are calculated and based on knowledge and experience, which is available to anyone who will go looking for it.

One west coast entrepreneur has owned a jewelry store, a pub, a community centre, a restaurant and a music store. Each one was a success and was ultimately sold as a profitable business. The key elements of his success were his solid business fundamentals.

Some things you need to know before you start leasing space, hiring staff or buying equipment include:

  • A sound understanding of Business Plans and which one you need (and you absolutely do need one).
  • The basics of marketing, who your customers are and how to reach them with your message.
  • What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and how this differentiates you from your competition. Why would your potential customers choose you over them?
  • What are the important numbers that you need to know and monitor to measure the health of your venture.
  • What is Cash Flow, how does it differ from Monthly Sales, what potential Cash Flow pitfalls effect your business model and how can you protect against them.
  • Who are your competition and what are their strengths and weaknesses.

Taking the time to gain a solid business education to supplement your Specialty Knowledge is the key to surviving your new business venture. It is what separates the winners from the losers. Reading this article is a sign that you are on the right track. Use the list given above as a starting point as you build a framework of required business knowledge and continue to fill your areas of weakness until you are strong and prepared to enter the arena. Do this and you will enhance your potential for success and give yourself the edge you need to achieve your dreams.

Six Ways Small Business Owners Can Reduce Costs

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Reduce Overhead Costs TNIf you own a small business, you may need to cut your business costs in order to survive the global recession and to protect your business and personal assets for the future. Reducing your business costs at any time will increase your profit margin, and during a recession, it may make the difference between going out of business and fiscal survival.

  1. Offer Personalized and Interactive Internet Services

Offering a good service on the internet to your customers can save your business some costs. Often the labour costs of your small business are the highest regular costs. Providing an interactive internet service means your customers can order products without needing an individual to service the request.

Providing a personalized internet service means you have one customer service representative answering emails and customer queries on the website, which could save your business some labour costs.

  1. Become Efficient

Streamlining your business processes and eliminating waste from your business can save you a lot of money. Look at every task your business has and break down each process. If there is any duplication in the process or parts of the process that you can streamline or cut, changing your processes could save your business in many ways.

  1. Barter and Negotiate for supplies

Every small business needs supplies and services by other businesses. You may be able to cut your costs by bartering for your business needs. For example, you may need to employ a website designer to get your website up and running. If your business offers the website designer free advertising on the website, you may be able to negotiate for a discount.

Use your imagination to see what services or products you can barter in return for the supplies and services your business needs. If you can offer products or services in place of cash for some supplies, you can cut down on your business costs. Restaurants can offer meals for a certain period in exchange for menus, and the printer can offer flyers for the website design for the print shop. You may not always be able to negotiate a straight barter situation, but you can certainly try to negotiate for discounts and reduced costs with your suppliers.

  1. Manage cash flow to reduce expensive loans

Managing your business cash flow does not have to mean borrowing money from the bank and paying high interest rates. You can factor your income by paying a small fee to a credit company to get immediate payment on outstanding invoices. Instead of offering credit to your customers, you can create a business where customers must pay up front for your products. Customers who order a product via the internet will expect to pay by credit card or a secure internet payment site, such as PayPal. Using these services means your customers pay before you ship the product, so your cash flow is easier to balance.

  1. Find Cheaper Forms of Advertising or Marketing

While it is not advisable to cut out advertising and marketing completely, even during a recession, it is possible to reduce your marketing costs. Internet advertising can be relatively cheap. You can send an email newsletter to your customers instead of paying for printing. Local radio and community newspapers can reach a wide market within a local region for relatively little cost, especially in comparison to advertising in national newspapers or magazines.

  1. Reduce Packing Costs

If your business ships products across the country and overseas, the freight costs can be exorbitant. Look at how you pack your product. Many cargo and freight companies charge on a volume rate, as well as a weight rate and choose the larger rate for each package. Even if your product is relatively light, you could pay for the volumetric size of your package. If you pack a small product in a large box with lots of packing foam or air envelopes, you could be paying to ship air across the country. Reduce your package size to reduce your packing and freight costs.

You can easily save money and cut your business costs by streamlining your business processes, cutting the costs for supplies, packing, freight, and marketing, and by offering customers internet self service options. Managing your business cash flow can reduce your costs in paying loan repayments.

What Every Small Business Owner Should Know Before—and After—Hiring a Bookkeeper

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Bookkeeping word cloud with data sheet background TNMany small businesses need to hire a skilled bookkeeper to track income and expenses, not only for tax preparation purposes, but for financial management as well. But how do you find a qualified bookkeeper, what should you look for and what should you look out for?

A common misconception made by accounting novices is that anyone that can add and subtract can be a bookkeeper. Another is that anyone with a little computer savvy can purchase and use popular accounting software to meet his bookkeeping needs. Useful bookkeeping requires some basic knowledge of accounting, including concepts such as assets, liabilities, equity, income and expense accounts, and be able to understand financial statements. Furthermore, if you have employees your bookkeeper should be familiar with payroll taxes and federal and state laws pertaining to employees, even if you have an outside service preparing the payroll. Frequently, you can find individuals offering their services as “bookkeepers” when they do not have a grasp of these basic accounting principles. Unfortunately, if the employer also does not understand accounting, it can be months or more before he finds out that this bookkeeper really doesn’t know what he is doing.

The best place to start when looking for an acceptable candidate would be your accountant’s office. Many accounting offices offer bookkeeping services, but their staff bookkeeping services are often billed at a premium. If your accountant offers this service, but you feel that the rate is too high for your small business, ask the accountant if he can refer you to a qualified independent bookkeeper. Rates for these individuals usually run a little lower.

You should interview several bookkeepers until you find one that you feel comfortable with, as this is someone you will be working with closely on sensitive information relating to the business. You should also request permission to run a background check on your prospective hire, as incidents of fraud and embezzlement do occur. The individuals who have committed these types of crimes are not always prosecuted, and after being discovered and terminated, will often take employment elsewhere with unsuspecting business owners. An experienced and reputable bookkeeper will not be offended by this request, and should be able to offer business references as well.

There are bookkeeping tests that you can administer to your prospective hire to determine if the individual has sufficient skill to perform the tasks necessary. Many are offered free on the Internet, some provided by professional bookkeeping organizations.

Once you have hired a bookkeeper, there are some ways to protect your business from fraudulent activities and in turn allow the bookkeeper to feel free from suspicion. The following is a partial list of good practices:

  1. Have all bank information such as statements, passwords, cancelled checks, etc. mailed to your home or a different business address. Open all such mailings, before any employees, to review for any suspicious activity and ASK QUESTIONS if something doesn’t look right.
  2. Never give out passwords on bank, credit card, or loan accounts to the bookkeeper even though it may seem more convenient to do so.
  3. Make sure that all bank and credit card accounts are reconciled properly and promptly and that you review the reconciliation reports. If you don’t know how to read a bank reconciliation report, ask your banker or your accountant to teach you what to look for.
  4. Make sure that you have adequate “separation of duties” policies in place. Some examples of this would be:
    1. The employee recording a bill or creating a bill payment should not also be signing the checks.
    2. The employee reconciling the cash should not be the same person taking the deposit to the bank.

You can find out more about the “Separation of Duties” by researching online or by speaking with your accountant.

  1. Be sure that you and/or your accountant review the financial statements on a regular basis for anything that looks out of the ordinary.

Finally, when you find a good bookkeeper, be sure to value and compensate him accordingly. This is an important position within the business and should not be left to unskilled, poorly trained, and underpaid people.

Four Questions to Ask Before Starting a New Business

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Survey On Clipboard Shows Very Good TNIn light of the recent economic recession, when companies all over the country are downsizing and finding a good job is next to impossible, millions of people have taken to starting their own businesses and are hoping to earn a considerable income through their own efforts. While many individuals have succeeded as small business owners, some were met with failure simply because of inadequate planning. The truth is that starting a new business takes a lot of time and effort; you need to consider certain factors before launching a business. If you’re toying with a business idea you think is going to be a hit, ask yourself a few questions before you take the plunge into the business world.

  1. Do you have time to run your business? So many people mistakenly assume that just because they will be running their business from home, it means they will have a lot of free time on their hands. On the contrary, quite the opposite is true. Most home-based business owners need to work a lot more and a lot harder to match the income they used to make when they were working in a traditional office. This is particularly true during the first few months of running the business. Once your business has taken off, however, you may be able to relax a bit and work less hours. Before this happens, you will probably have to work extra long hours, so that’s an important factor you have to consider.
  1. Are you qualified? Quite often, people think they have a brilliant business idea and find out too late they aren’t qualified to offer that particular service. Let’s assume you’re a mom of four and you’ve just started a business that involves child care. Being a mother of four, you’re quite confident in your capabilities in this field. Your potential clients, however, are likely going to look for an individual who is not only experienced but certified in child care as well. In this case, you will have to get the certification or come up with another business idea where your skills will be put to better use.
  1. Do you have room for your business? Many home businesses start out small. Once your business takes off, however, you may find yourself in need of bigger space for your supplies or your products. Unless you have extra space in your home (e.g., a spare room or garage), you may soon have to expand outside by renting storage space, which is obviously an additional expense. If you don’t want to deal with such problems, think ahead when you are still in the business planning stage.
  1. Are you financially capable of running the business? Money is one of the most significant factors you have to consider before starting a business. Many people underestimate the costs required to set up a business. Even if they take out a loan, sometimes it isn’t enough to cover all the initial expenses. To avoid these hassles and to increase your chances of business success, plan your finances thoroughly.
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