Setting Up A Home Business

Posted on February 29, 2000

By Betty Ann Wilkins

The idea of working from home is more than just appealing, it is a reality for nearly 50 million, according to Link Resource's National Work-at-Home Survey. By working from home many people avoid the high overhead and start-up costs of obtaining a commercial office.

Knowing where to begin can be daunting to say the least. Getting yourself set-up correctly can help make your business a success, here is a guide to help you.

==>Decide What Type of Business
Make a list of all the things you like to do along with your work experience, education (formal or self learned), and items you already own that could be used in a business. Check over this list carefully. From it you can make a list of possible businesses to start. Narrow down your list of possible businesses by crossing off any that do not fill a need or is just not interesting to you.

==> Decide What Area of Your Home to Use
Be sure to choose a place away from family activity. It is best if the area is completely separate, such as the garage or remodeled basement that doesn't get used, but any area that is large enough to hold all the supplies and equipment you will need is fine provided that you make it clear that this area is "off limits" and for business purposes only.

==> Assess How Much Time You Can Devote to the Business
Don't assume that you have plenty of time just to find out that really you don't have the time. Make a list that shows your weekly activities and time usage, examine it and decide exactly how much time you can devote to the business without overloading yourself. Be honest with yourself and remember, you do not have to start out full-time. Numerous people start a home business on a part-time basis.

==> Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Corporation
Which is best? To start, a sole proprietorship because it is owned by one person and is the easiest to start and the least complicated to dissolve. Other benefits are that you own all the profits, you are the boss, you get the tax savings you will have more incentive and motivation because it is your business.

==> Do Your Homework
Take the time to research different home businesses. You will find numerous books on the type of business you are interested in at the Library. The Small Business Administration also has many reports and information that will help you.

==> Choose a Name for your Business
It is very important to register your business name in the area you live in (Check with your City Hall). Should someone else already be using the name you chose you will be notified and will need to choose a new name.

==> Create a Business Plan
This plan should establish a plan of action for your business. You will re-evaluate and possibly revise your plan every 6 months or so. Be sure to detail all aspects of your new business here.

==> Get Licenses & Permits
You may need some special licenses & permits. Be sure to call your City Hall or the local Chamber of Commerce and they will be able to tell you exactly what you will need to start your business.

==> Set up a Business Checking Account
Check out different Banks to see what their minimums and rates are. Get the best deal that you can. Be sure to check into Credit Card services to be able to accept credit cards from your customers. You should get a charge card in the business's name if possible. If it is not possible set aside a personal credit card for your business. A checking account, when used properly can be a great bookkeeping record for a sole proprietor.

==> Keep Records
You will need monthly records of your expenses and income. Keep all receipts, bank statements, deposit slips, canceled checks, invoices, and client records.

==> Get Organized
Set up your home office to work efficiently. Make sure you have a place for everything. Make a schedule and stick to it.

By doing the above you will be paving the way for your home business to run smoothly and successfully.

Betty Ann Wilkins, Publisher/Webmaster
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