Make a Business Plan for Working from Home

One of the biggest mistakes those who work from home make is neglect creating a business plan. Oftentimes they are thinking that because they work at home, a business plan does not apply to them as it would for other types of business startups where financing is needed. Of course there are home businesses that need financing to start up but oftentimes the reason why people choose a home business is because little startup capital is needed (i.e., financing). But you still need a business plan. Lets look at a few reasons why.

A business plan defines your product or service. First, you need to decide what products or services you are going to offer when you work from home. You need to take your business idea and write it down. This will be the basis of further market research to test your idea. For example, lets say you make a great blue widget and decide you want to go into business and sell it. So, you declare that you will sell blue widgets. However as you do market research you find out that everyone is now buying yellow widgets and blue widgets are no longer in demand. This means in order to work at home and sell widgets, you will have to adapt to make and sell yellow ones. Our example uses imaginary widgets but you can replace widget with your idea and see if there is a market for it. Deciding what it is you want to sell or the service you want to offer now will save you expense later on.

A business plan identifies your target market. If you have no idea who your target market is for selling your product or service then you do not know where to focus advertising for your home business. Using our widget example, it could be that younger people like yellow widgets with green stripes while senior people like plain yellow widgets. With the business plan, you can write this research down so that you can refer to it as you build the marketing strategy for your home business.

A business plan identifies your competition. You have to identify your competitors and as much as possible pinpoint what they do right and how you can do it better. Remember that in order to increase the chances for success of your home business, you must have characteristics that set you apart from your competition. A business plan lets you identify what it is that will set you apart and by writing it down you can refer to it and stay on track.

A business plan defines the daily operation of your business. Your home business [http://www.beasuccesfulconsultant.com] might be a one-person shop but you still need an operational plan. For example, what are your terms of service? What are your payment policies with your clients? What are your delivery procedures? Who are your suppliers if you have them? These are just a few of the questions you will answer in a business plan for your home business.

A business plan identifies any loan requirements. As mentioned before, one of the big reasons why people set up home businesses is that the capital investment requirements are lower. However there are certain types of businesses where you might need people to invest money or you have to get a loan from a bank. These people wont even meet with if you have no business plan.

Get yourself a self-help book and read how to make a business plan [http://www.beasuccesfulconsultant.com] for your home business. It might seem labor-intensive but it will help your business be more profitable and run smoother in the long run.

A Tale Of Two Widget Salesmen

Many people see sales as an exercise in confrontation. If you’ve ever bought a high ticket item like a car, then you know what I’m talking about. You want to get a cheap price, and the seller wants to make as much money as possible. For the most part, the difficulties in buying and selling aren’t centered around the price, they’re centered around the transaction itself.

Consider somebody who is selling widgets at a booth. Say the booth is at a home show. For every widget he sells, he’ll make a profit of a dollar. Naturally, the more widgets he sells, the more money he takes. If he had his druthers, he’d sell a widget to everybody that passed him by. This is precisely what he tries to do.

He comes up with a huge pitch, designed to lure in as many people as possible. He claims this widget can do anything, so more people will want it. Because he is so good a persuasion, or sales, a lot of people are convinced they want this widget. They get it home, still feeling happy that they’ve bought this widget.

But a few days and weeks pass, and they find they really don’t have much use for this widget. After a while, they wonder why they bought the thing. Soon their friends start asking them why they bought it. They don’t know. They say they were conned into buying it. The salesperson was really pushy. They bought it just to be polite.

Pretty soon this widget seller has developed a reputation as a pushy salesperson. He has to travel to a new city every couple months, because he quickly wears out his welcome. Such is the life of a traveling widget salesman.

Now consider another widget salesman. He doesn’t promise the moon. He just says what the widget does. His reputation is more important to him than anything. Instead of trying to sell his widget to every single person that walks by, he qualifies his customers. He asks them questions to make sure they can get a real use out of the widget. Plenty of people like the widget, think it looks cool, but the widget salesman is clear that they really won’t get much use out of it, unless they really do need it.

So a lot fewer people buy his widgets. But the ones that do, really use it. And enjoy it. And tell all their friends. Pretty soon people that really need this widget are beating down this poor widget salesman’s door trying to buy his product.

Before long, he’s got a huge mail order business, and he doesn’t have to do any more traveling to sell his widgets. He can relax at home, while his business runs itself. He out-sources all the people he needs to handle his orders.

The first widget salesman was worried about not selling anything, and thus created a life of hardship. The second widget salesman was convinced of the quality of his product, and in the interest of his reputation, only wanted to put it in the hands of people who really needed it. As a result, he lives and easy life with easy money.

Which one are you?

How to Develop a Public Relations Campaign for A Small Business

A St. Louis Public Relations professional, I am often asked if public relations can work for a small business.

The answer is “yes”.

Even on a lesser scale, the basics of creating a PR campaign for a small business are virtually the same as creating one for a large corporation.

It involves analyzing your business goals and determining what type of objective you would like to achieve.

Is your goal to increase hits on your web site, build greater trust with your customers and prospects, develop community awareness, or to simply let the marketplace know what products and services you are selling?

Once your goal is established then identify which audiences you need to reach. These should be in line with your objective.

Are your trying to reach other small business owners, presidents of larger corporations, a very select business to business audience, selected consumers, or the public at large?

After you identify these target markets the next step is to develop a strategy and the tactics necessary to reach them.

This is accomplished by creating a mini-campaign for each audience within the overall PR plan.

For example, let’s say your overall PR goal is to influence 30 new prospective customers to engage with you and your sales staff with the hope of turning them into clients.

One of your target audiences could be widget makers. Your objective with widget makers is to create 10 of those 30 prospective engagements.

Your tactics would then include developing a myriad of activities to build relationships with 10 widget makers.

Those activities could include hosting seminars for widget makers, manning a booth at widget trade shows, speaking at widget conferences, securing articles about your firm in widget publications, emailing newsletters to widget makers, developing a blog about widgets, connecting with widget makers through LinkedIn, etc.

Once the campaign is launched it needs to be analyzed and adjusted.

Focus on those tactics that work the best and provide the greatest return on investment. This is especially important for small companies who are usually on a limited budget.

Remember to keep it measurable. This is where a number of small business PR campaigns run out of steam.

If you plan to hit the 10 widget maker mark in six months, you will need to create 5 engagements within the first 90 days. Should you hit or exceed the 5 mark after 90 days you will feel confident that your campaign is on track.

Connect only with one or two widget makers in the first three months and you might have to adjust your strategy.

Whether your PR budget is $5,000 or $5 million the basic strategies of a public relations campaign remain the same.

It works for small companies as well as large ones. The first step is to create a goal and get started.