Home Startup

5 tips to successfully create an at-home startup business in 2021

Modern tips on how to successfully create a startup business from home

Build-a-strong-brandSo you’re thinking of starting your own business from home — that’s great! A home-based business is a venture that you can start and operate using your own home as your base of operations. But, naturally, there are pros and cons to consider when starting a business, and even more unique challenges when starting a business from home.

In the past, we’ve written advice for someone who’s interested in starting their own business. You can read the article here. The article focused more on how to put a tangible value on your services so your customers do, too. In this article, the focus is on building a business at home.

Let’s talk about the actual process of starting your business (after you’ve taken care of the fundamentals like creating a separate business account, establishing a business plan, determining your business entity, and registering your business):

  • Pay attention to permits

  • Setting up your new home office

  • Secure funding (getting small business grants)

  • Outsourcing with purpose

  • Keep it simple

  • 10 at-home business ideas

PAY ATTENTION TO PERMITS:

If you’re running a small business out of your home, AARP reminds you that you may need tax registrations, business and occupational licenses, and permits from state and local governments in order to operate legally. Check to see that your homeowner’s association is OK with the idea. It might have restrictions.

For help with questions like these, you can check out SCORE, a nonprofit that offers free business advice. The U.S. Small Business Administration is another source of help in getting you up to speed on permits and more.

SETTING UP YOUR NEW HOME OFFICE:

The reality is that you may likely need to convert space in your home to support the needs of your business (e.g., holding inventory, creating a home office, or storing equipment). Ask yourself whether your business idea will work well from home. Some businesses simply aren’t suited to be based from home.

Are you planning on hosting clients at any point? If not, is there a coworking space you could rent nearby for meetings? Would you need to have any sort of inventory, and does your home have the space for it? Could you reconfigure an area to store products, materials, etc.?

If you want to run a dog boarding center but live in an apartment without a backyard, you might want to consider a dog walking business instead. These are the kinds of potential challenges you should anticipate to make sure you’re setting your home-based design firm up for success.

And if you do need a work space, “The challenge can be doing this without disrupting your life at home,” says Shopify. Working in the middle of the dining room table with your child’s high chair at one end and laundry that needs to be folded at the other end is definitely not the most efficient way to run your business. 

If you plan to work from home, it’s a good idea to set up a designated home office. This can either be an empty room in your home or just a designated corner in your bedroom. But you want to choose an area that will offer you a certain degree of privacy. Also, be mindful of the background, especially if you’ll have to conduct client calls regularly. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce

For more home business tips, check out Architectural Digest.

SECURE FUNDING (GETTING SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS):

One benefit of starting a business from home is that you can eliminate a lot of the costs associated with renting an office space or opening a brick-and-mortar location. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. And in some cases, you might not have any business startup costs at all. However, depending on the type of business you’re launching, you may need to secure financing to help cover some of your startup costs.

In addition to small business grants provided as a result of the pandemic, there are other grants offered by federal and state agencies, as well as private companies. Covid-19 (and, ironically, all of its benefits) simply won’t last forever. Here are some resources for getting grants to handle your business’s funds in the beginning.

Federal Small-business Grants: Government agencies are among the biggest distributors of business grants, supporting a range of enterprises from environmental conservation to child care services. Applying may seem intimidating, but federal grants are great opportunities for small-business owners looking to grow.

  • Grants.gov: Grants.gov is a comprehensive database of grants administered by various government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs: The SBIR and the STTR grant programs focus on research and development for technology innovation and scientific research. The programs help connect small businesses with federal grants and contracts from 12 government agencies. To qualify, you must operate a for-profit business, have no more than 500 employees and meet other eligibility requirements.

  • USA.gov: You won’t find any federal small-business grants here, but this government website provides resources for starting or growing a business, including a link to GovLoans, which has information on the types of available federal small-business loans.

State And Regional Small-business Grants:

  • Economic Development Administration: This U.S. Department of Commerce agency provides grants, resources and technical assistance to communities to support economic growth and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.

  • Each state’s agency helps businesses find financing (including state or regional grants), secure locations and recruit employees. You can search the economic development directory for regional offices and local resources.

  • Small Business Development Centers: Your local SBDC provides support for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. They’re often associated with local universities or the state’s economic development agency, and many can help connect business owners with financing opportunities, as well as counseling, training and technical assistance.

There are also corporate and specialty small business grants to consider. Check out this website for more information. In addition to what we’ve listed here, there are a few other grants you can look into.

OUTSOURCING WITH PURPOSE:

Learn how to outsource effectively. This tip provided by Good Financial Cents is for intermediate home-based businesses, but it is still important.

As you grow your operation, you’ll want to figure out what you should outsource so you can spend more time on your business. This may mean paying a bookkeeper to keep track of your expenses, or perhaps even outsourcing cleaning and errands at your home so you have more time to work.

Eventually, you’ll need to advertise your new business. Marketing and advertising don’t have to be expensive, but they must be part of your business strategy.

KEEP IT SIMPLE:

While last, this tip is certainly not least. As a new business owner, try to start small and narrow your focus. Avoid letting your concept snowball into something overcomplicated. You could end up with an expensive, elaborate end-product that nobody wants to buy. And a successful business idea should fulfill promises to customers and exceed expectations.

Create a simple, quality good or service. As a small business, you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a giant corporation. Cut unnecessary features that water down your offerings and cost you money, and add to your business as it grows. — Forbes

TOP 10 AT-HOME-FRIENDLY BUSINESS IDEAS FOR 2021:

Need some ideas on what business to start at home? We’ve got you covered! But keep in mind that aligning the business with preexisting skills and/or interests will ease the process of starting the business:

  • Sell handmade products

  • Purchase products in bulk and sell them online

  • Start a dropshipping business

  • Start a print-on-demand business

  • Purchase an existing ecommerce business

  • Start a subscription box business

  • Teach online classes

  • Start a service-based business

  • Sell digital products online

  • Build an online following that you can monetize

For more details on how to get started in these industries, check out Oberlo’s comprehensive article here. 

You could also check out “54 Small Business Ideas for Anyone Who Wants to Run Their Own Business” for more ideas!

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