When you start a business at home, you are eliminating the overhead costs of an office or facility, but you are taking on the burden of your work and home life constantly overlapping. It may also feel impossible to scale your business while running it from home, but it’s not impossible. You may not be ready to move to a business location, and if this is so you shouldn’t fear that it will inhibit your scaling capabilities. In fact, there are ways you can expand and grow your at-home business without taking on the expense of an office or facility. There are several simple steps you can take that will help your business grow.
When working to grow any business type, you want to make sure you have the consumer reports, a business license, and packaging appropriate for your business. Depending on what you are selling, you may need paperwork from the U.S. food and drug administration (FDA) or from the EPA in order to import from foreign countries and engage in any way with international trade. Here are five tips to expand your at-home business.
1. Set up a home office.
While working at your dining room table may seem acceptable when working from home, you will naturally be distracted by your house’s activity. If you have kids, pets, or a partner, working in a common area will make it seem like you aren’t really busy so that they can request your attention. Additionally, if you are easily distracted, you will be more inclined to start doing other things around the house like chores or watching TV. Setting up a dedicated office space is a good idea because it will allow you to “go to work.” Your office will be distraction-free and conducive to productivity.
When setting up an office, you need to be realistic about what supplies and equipment you will need. Trying to run a home business without the needed equipment will be counter-productive and impossible to grow. Having to run to the library every time you need to make copies or send a fax is highly inefficient. Make a list of everything you need for your office, including a desk, file cabinets, copy machine, or chairs for visiting clients. Then start shopping. With a little research, you can find what you need on virtually any budget. Upgrading from the kitchen table to an office will also set a new tone for your business, which will allow you to stay in the growth mindset.
2. Create SMART goals.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. When you use these five factors as the foundation for your goal-setting, you will be setting goals that will work to propel your business forward. The next step will be clear, regardless of what the actual goal is. Often, people set unrealistic goals, not specific enough, or lack the ability to be measured, making it impossible to monitor your progress towards your goals. Changing how you set goals will make them easier to achieve, and you will quickly see growth in areas you previously felt stagnant.
Once you set your SMART goals, you will need to develop a plan to monitor and accomplish those goals. For example, “increasing sales” is not a specific, measurable, or timely goal. Instead, you want to set goals like “increase sales by 10% in the next 90 days.” That is a specific goal with a deadline that you can track. At the end of 90 days, you can see whether or not you achieved your goal. If you did not achieve your goal, you could analyze the changes you made in the last 90 days to determine what you can do to improve your performance. If you did achieve your goal, you still want to look at the impact of the changes you made to scale even further in the next 90 days with a new goal.
3. Focus on your product.
Your product is what you are selling, whether it be a physical product, service, or idea. For example, when you think of bottled water brands, Canadian Springs will come to mind because they have focused their marketing, branding, and goals on becoming a recognizable brand in bottled water. They have a relatively simple product that can be difficult to differentiate when there are so many bottled water brands on the market, yet they have succeeded in becoming a recognizable and trusted water brand. The good news is that you can do this too, and there’s a good chance it will help you scale your business without even having to introduce a new product.
When expanding your business, you need to focus on repeat business and new customer acquisition simultaneously. The best way to do that is to focus on your product and who the target market really is for your product. The value of your service or product is up to you, but you also need to stand behind it. Offering the best product on the market within your industry is not always feasible or the goal. There are people that only shop at Walmart and people that only shop at Neiman Marcus. A successful business can be created regardless of the target market.
If you are starting an import/export business from home, you will need to choose products you are comfortable selling, and that you can answer questions and speak confidently about. The better you know your products, the better you’ll get to know your customers, which will allow you to grow your brand. A successful import business will focus on merchandise that is a niche for its customers. While starting an import-export business is not easy, it is something that you can easily start as a home business.
4. Get the financial support you need.
Often, for small business owners, you have all the ideas and energy, and you just need the startup costs to fuel the fire. Whether you’re starting a water brand or importing/exporting water products and other merchandise from the French Alps or anywhere else in the worldwide market, you need financing to make it all happen. Getting financial support for your business has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you can finally take the steps you know you need to scale your business quickly. However, once you have people invested in your company, the fear of failure can become staggering. It is critical that once you bring on investors, you are ready to follow through with everything you have promised with your company.
Attracting investors can be difficult and intimidating. However, if you put together a presentation that demonstrates both your knowledge and ambition along with evidence that your company is set to skyrocket, you will be able to attract the investors you need. To create a powerful presentation, you will need to do your homework and have solid information ready for your potential investors. Utilizing charts and graphs will help with the data visualization, and many PowerPoint presentation themes will support your brand and take your presentation from elementary to professional. There is a wide range of PowerPoint templates and many unique PowerPoint themes that you can work with to impress your investors.
5. Get Creative with your marketing
Sometimes, all it takes to expand a business is to get a little creative with your marketing. If you have a product, merchandise, or service that is needed, affordable, and ready to go, all you need to do is connect with your target market in a meaningful way. The first step to accomplishing this is to know your target market inside and out. You need to research to know everything there is to know about who is most likely to buy your product and service and what the best ways to get in front of them are going to be.
Getting creative may include both online and offline marketing efforts. You’ll need to focus on your online presence, social media engagement, and traditional advertising and marketing efforts. You will need to work with professional designers to ensure everything connected to your brand is consistent and displays the message and marketing you want representing your company. You can utilize your Powerpoint presentation themes while creating your marketing plan to make it more engaging.