Thinking about starting a business from your home? You might be on to something. Our small business team members at M&T are big fans of home-based business opportunities. Whether you plan to grow into a storefront down the road or remain at home forever, here are a few thought starters from our team to help you get started, reach your goals and plan for the future.
5. Share your legal structure. Will this be an S corporation, a limited partnership, a proprietorship?
6. Identify key details about your products and services. Why will these be profitable and where will they be coming from?
7. Introduce your ideal customer. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do? How do they spend?
8. Give an overview of your marketing plans. What social platforms does your target audience favor? How will you advertise your opening and business thereafter?
9. Share your workflow. Will you have suppliers, equipment, inventory, shipping, etc.? What does your typical workday look like?
10. Include a financial plan. How much do you expect to make every month or year and what are your expenses? Investors need to see that your business has the potential to make money.
For great up-to-date business plan formats and templates, check out this resource from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Beginning the legal process
At-home businesses need to have a business license, legal entity and all proper paperwork in place. You should work with an experienced attorney in this area to help achieve your license, ensure you're choosing the best entity and help explain and complete all legal paperwork correctly.
Location, location, location
You may be thinking, "I'm running an online business, I don't need to worry about location because no one is going to come to my house." Well, that's not entirely true. It's important to note that you need to comply with local and federal government business regulations. You may not be able to sell certain products based on your home's zoning or be permitted to keep inventory based on your home's size. Your local town hall can help with zoning, permits, regulations and more information on what your business can and cannot do.
Determining if and when it's time to open a location
If your inventory and equipment is getting in the way of the lives of the people in your home or no longer fits in a way that allows you to work efficiently, it may be time to look for a space. Another easy indicator is the need for more staff.
If the day comes when you feel like your business has outgrown your home and you think it's time to open the storefront of your dreams, you'll likely have a cushion of savings and loyal clientele to make you feel comfortable and confident in making it happen. You'll also have a better idea of what your space needs and how work should flow! Make sure to reexplore your business plan with your new location in mind – it's tedious we know, but it's totally worth it.
You know what they say, home-based business is where the heart is! Let us know when the business warming is, we'll bring a gift!