Start A Home Business
A lot of people just don’t know where to start or how to get their home business all set up. Usually they have to learn by trial and error, until they get it right. But who wants to fail more times then is needed before they get it right? You might as well get the information first and try to do it right the first time.
Here we will go over some of the basics of getting your business ready for action. This in itself can be called your business plan. A business plan is a means in which to get all your business organized before you deploy/sell your product. Many people tend to forget to think about all the necessary things they need for their business, they focus on the basics, you have a product or service and you sell that product or service. They forget things like, “how do I handle a customer complaint about my product”, or “how will I handle shipping”. All these things need to be thought about, think of it as asking yourself a bunch of business questions and answering them. So, lets go over it!
If you have a product to sell, where will I store it, how much should I keep in stock, how long does it take to re-stock my product, how will I keep track of my inventory, what happens if I run out of my product and how will I handle possible customer complaints of this, should I offer a return policy, what should I charge for each product, do I offer discounts to appease the complaining customer?
If you have a service to sell, what tools do I need to perform that service, how long will each service on average take to complete, what will I charge for each service, what if the customer does not like the service performed?
There are other possible things to think about when considering your product or service you sell. Think about it, think of all the possible angles that could throw a stick in your spokes so to speak and cost your business unnecessary losses.
Think about how you will deliver your product or service
If you have a product to sell, what will you charge for shipping, what will be your total shipping costs, do you sell something fragile that requires more packaging details, what if a customer does not receive their product?
If you have a service to sell, what times of the day or week will you be able to offer this service, does the customer have to be present to offer the service, does this service require entering the customers home or yard, what are the costs to you to provide each service, what will it cost to maintain your service equipment?
The delivery of your products or services is very important. This is a major key point to customer satisfaction. Find a strategy to minimize your possible issues with delivery. If you provide a service, think about liability. If you clean carpets as a service, and you happen to ruin the carpet during a service call, how will you handle the situation. What if your service is to landscape someone’s yard and they own a big dog that lives in the back yard… What will you do? Think about it.
Don’t let something as simple as getting you product or service to your customer cost you customer satisfaction. Word eventually gets around and you want to maintain a good reputation.
Think about how you will organize your business
How will I keep track of my customers, my orders, and my inventory? What about receipts, invoices, and service histories?
Organization is the key to maintain a good flow of operations with your home business. It could probably not be counted how many businesses fail because they can't keep their data strait and in order. This is where the TownJet Home Business Organizer can come into play and why it was created in the first place!
Think about how you will handle customer complaints
What happens if my customer is upset with my product or service, what if my shipped item did not arrive at their location?
Set up a plan to handle customer service. A good rule of thumb is to let your customers know right up front what you will handle and what you will not handle. Will you replace lost items, will you handle return shipping, etc? Take a look at some of the E-Bayer's comments they put on their auctions. These people know through experience that if a customer can complain, they will. You will see stuff like, "sold as is", "returns must be made after 14 days", etc. At times it does not matter what your customer reads, they will still complain. At least you will have proof, in words, of your terms and conditions of sale. It is always a good idea to try to be accommodating as possible to your customers. Remember, think on how far you plan to go on customer service, and factor what kind of money it will cost to keep your customers happy even after a bad experience. Don't try to please everyone, because you can't. Accommodate the reasonable customers first, and don't let customer complaints cost your business its profits.
Think about how you will receive payments
Will I allow use of credit cards, checks, MO, etc, how do I set up a credit card payment option?
There are many ways in which you can receive payment for your service or items you sell. The top one is usually credit card or PayPal. In fact PayPal has the capability to set up credit card usage by your customers. You can provide a link which is secure and they can pay by credit card without having a PayPal account. PayPal will charge you a small transaction fee based on the amount, typically around 2.9%. If you want to find a different way, search for it on the internet, there are many companies that will give this service.
Think about how you will advertise
This is a very important part of your business plan, if not the most important. There are many venues in which to do this. Fliers, newspaper adds, etc. But the best way is to set up a web page. Advertising though a web page can be difficult. Fist you have to set up a very nice looking site. You can learn the very code of html, or you can find sites that build your web page for you. You then need to get people to view your site. This is not a simple task. To do this you need to have a web page that will adhere to the search engine rules, which means a good amount of content, meta tags, links and such. Some good search engines are Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask Jeeves, AltaVista, AOL, BT Internet, Wanadoo, NTLWorld, Tiscali. If you are added to the search engine you will be ranked based on your page. A lot of search engines like it when you have links on other peoples pages, this can greatly improve your ranking. If you can swap links with other sites, do it! If you would like more information on this stuff just simply search for it. Remember, if you don't advertise you don't get any customers.
Those are the six big items to think about in setting up a business plan. There will probably be other small details you may find as well that will need to be addressed in your particular business flow. The point of all this is to plan. Without a plan you really don't have much at all except the item or service you want to sell. Thanks for reading.