By Carolyn Landesman
Starting a home-based business has its pitfalls however when you include these 7 steps, you are far more likely to succeed. WHY, because there is more to creating a successful business than creating a business plan and having a few financial skills.
There is a reason you want a home-based business. Financial freedom, work around your family, afford those extras, discover your passion, not having a boss just to name just a few. However, there is always one thing that will keep you going when you hit the inevitable challenges and highs and lows of running a business from home and that is your WHY!
Your WHY is your vision for the future. When you know your WHY, the HOW falls into place.
Step One: Create a powerful vision for the future
In order to succeed in any business, you must have a vision for the future. It’s not enough to just start a business and not know what the end result will be. Your vision is more than a business plan. It’s the ultimate dream and the reason you want to work from home in the first instance. Your WHY is the one thing that will keep you fired up and consistently motivated throughout your business journey.
A vision is a mental picture of what you want to achieve for your future. It’s where you will be in 5, 10 or even 20 years’ time as a result of starting your home-based business. Your vision is set sometime in the future and must inspire you to keep on keeping on when times get tough. With any business whether it’s home-based or not, there will always be challenges, highs and lows. Your vision must inspire enough action and create ongoing energy to bring about all the changes you want in your life.
Your vision is the foundation from which to base your values, create business plans, set goals and objectives. It helps keep you focused and ensures every choice you make and action you take relates back to your vision.
When you create your vision, allow yourself to dream and dream big. Write it as if it is already happening, in the present tense. It needs to come from the heart – not your head and be compelling enough that it stirs up your inner most positive emotions. You must be passionate about your vision for without passion, your home-based business will falter.
Your vision connects your passion, values and business goals.
Step Two: Define your values
Values are also important for a home-based business. They inform the thoughts you have, the words you use and the actions you take on a consistent basis.
Working from home has its challenges especially if you have a family. Being able to separate business time and family time can be challenging which is why defining your values are important. If one of your values is family and you work 80 hours a week, then your actions are not congruent with your values.
If one of your values is integrity and you present proposals without a full disclosure of your capability, then again your values are not aligned with your actions. Not living your values in business causes both internal and external conflicts.
Your values are your moral compass to ensure everything you do in your business supports your vision. When you share your values with others; your family, employees, suppliers and even friends, it sets the tone from which to operate your home-based business.
Its important that when working from home that you include the significant others who live with you in creating shared values. Together your values become a set of unwritten rules that dictates how you all behave. It means that others who live and work in your household respect the boundaries of work life and home life.
Step Three: Setting Goals and objectives
In any business, its critical you set goals and objectives usually in the form of a business plan. A business plan does not have to be a 100-page document written by an experienced business consultant, it can be a simple document that outlines what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and how you will measure success along the way.
Your goals and objectives must always relate back to your vision and actionable items must fit with your values. Goals and objectives are the fuel that keeps you moving forward. They provide direction, motivation and should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, ethical and rewarding.
Many make the mistake of starting a home-based business and letting things just happen along the way. They have a business idea, but no plan to make it happen. They have products or services, but no plan how to market themselves then wonder why the business fails.
If you were taking a road trip across country, you need to plan your ultimate destination (vision), how many miles you will be travelling, where you will stay along the way, how often you need to fill up with gas and so on. Most probably you need a GPS or road map to help you get back on track if you get lost along the way (business plan). In planning where you will stay, you might stay in a motel, camp by the roadside or stay in a 5-star hotel. The better you plan, the more likely you are to reach your destination.
Your goals provide a clear understanding of what you are striving to achieve on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. They also provide you with feedback on how well you are doing. Like a road map, if you begin to get lost, you can refer back to your business plan so you can make the required changes if need be.
Step Four: Self-Belief
It doesn’t matter how many millions of people believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself and your business.
Self-belief is an integral part of running a successful home-based business. If you don’t believe in your products and services and your own ability to sell yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you?
To run a successful home-based business, it’s important to exude confidence and not be afraid of rejection. Understand that anyone who says no to you is not saying no to you personally, they are saying no to your products and services that they don’t know about, yet!
It takes confidence to prospect for new business opportunities, ask for the sale and ask to be paid (on time). With self-belief and confidence, you build trust and confidence in your prospective customers more quickly and they are more likely to want to work with you.
If you lack confidence and self-belief, try hiring a business coach who can work with you on developing the confidence you need to ensure your business succeeds.
Step Five: Making good choices
Imagine you have a passion for a business idea and a vision for the future. Your values are aligned to your vision and you’ve created a basic business plan and set yourself some goals. That’s awesome – however the next step in running a successful home business are the choices you make.
Every day you get out of bed, you hire and fire yourself. Yes, that’s right, you either hire yourself or fire yourself with the choices you make. If you choose to lie in and get up late and not keep to a routine, you are literally firing yourself because you cannot make a business work without commitment.
It’s easy to be distracted by your significant other, your children the neighbors or even TV. These are distractions that prevent you from doing what you need to make your business work. Distractions are a form of procrastination and often the reason you procrastinate is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of making that phone call you know you need to make. Fear of rejection – whatever the fear is, you have a choice every moment, every day whether you will make your home-based business work for you.
Making good choices leads to good business outcomes.
Step Six: Taking daily affirmative action
The hardest thing to do when running a home-based business is to separate your personal life from your business life. A business doesn’t run itself, you need to be driving your business forward every day. If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.
Time management is the key to getting things done and ensuring the actions you do take daily contribute to the achievement of your business goals and objectives. For instance, if you have an important meeting to attend or a phone call to make, schedule it at a time where you know you won’t be interrupted or side tracked. If you have a family, come to an agreement ahead of time what your business hours are and make sure to are productive for the entire time you have scheduled. If you don’t, your personal and family relationships as well as your business results will suffer.
Without taking affirmative action towards realizing your vision and achieving your business goals, your business will remain a dream. By taking daily action towards achieving your goals, your vision will eventually become a reality.
Step Seven: The Results you get
No one in business is good at everything. Some may be natural salespeople and poor with details and paperwork and still others are excellent at paperwork but can’t sell themselves. You need a balance of skills to succeed. If you can’t afford to offset what you are not good at by hiring others, either as contractors or employees, you need to educate yourself and learn new skills.
The best investment you will ever make in your business is an investment in yourself.
- If you don’t know much about sales and marketing, read some books or take a few online courses.
- If you don’t know much about prospecting for new clients, start attending networking events and learn how to entwork.
- If you don’t know much about pricing or accounting, hire a bookkeeper to do your books once a month or consult an accountant.
- If you are new to business, take a small business course.
- If you lack confidence in business, hire a business coach who can help you build more confidence, create higher paying clients and help you organize your time where you are most productive.
By investing in yourself, and following the previous six steps, you will achieve the results you want.
On a final note
Following these 7 steps will help you develop a more successful home-based business.
In a Nutshell
There is more to running a successful home based business than a business plan.
- Firstly you need to create a powerful and compelling vision for the future. This comes before your business plan as everything in your business plan must relate back to your vision.
- Secondly you need to define your values for these are the moral compass from which to operate your business.
- Thirdly your business plan needs to include monthly, quarterly and yearly goals to keep you on track towards realizing your vision.
- It doesn’t matter if a million people believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself and believe your business will be successful. Self belief is critical to your success.
- The choices you make should always relate back to your vision, values and goals. When you run a business from home, every day you either hire or fire yourself.
- You must also take daily action towards the achievement of your goals to ensure you realize your vision. All your actions should relate back and contribute to the achievement of your goals.
- The results you get depend on how well you follow the previous 6 steps. The more you put in, the more you will get out. Making good choices and taking daily action will give you the results you want.
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