Start Your Home Business in a Month: Week One

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There are many tasks you need to complete to start a home business. So many that it can seem overwhelming. But like eating the proverbial elephant, starting a home business requires taking it one bite at a time. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your business up and running in the next 30 days, delivered in 4 one-week installments.

During this first week, you’ll research, plan and begin the initial steps to launching your business. During the second week, you’ll put your business foundation in place. The last two weeks will be about marketing and delivering great products and services.

Before you get started, make sure you have the right mindset and drive to succeed in home business. It's not hard to build a home business, but it does take work and perseverance. Second, commit to your home business by making time to start and run it. Even if you're busy, there are ways to add more time to your day so you can build your home business.

Day 1: Decide What Business to Start

This may actually require more time than a day because besides being an idea that appeals to you, your business should be a financially viable idea.

The first part of this step is to come up with a list of home business ideas that appeal to you. If you're not sure what home business to start, consider your interests, talents, and passions. You can also find many home business ideas online, such as here at The Balance Small Business.

Next, you need to figure out if your idea is potentially profitable, you need to do requires research. Factors to consider are whether or not you can commit to the business over the long term, financial needs to get started, and whether or not there is a market ready, willing and able to buy.

Day 2: Create Your Vision and Goals

Too many people jump into home business without a clear idea of where they’re going. They want success but haven’t defined what that success looks like. Will your home business always be part-time or will it grow to full-time allowing you to quit your job? Are you hoping to make your business portable so you can travel? Do you want to pay off debt or get rich?

Imagine your business has achieved success, what does that look like? What are you selling? Where do you live and what does your day-to-day look like?

Day 3: Run the Numbers

While you can start a home business for next to nothing, and run it cost-effectively, money is involved and not getting a good grasp of where you are now financially and what it will take to run and grow your business can lead to failure. Lack of money is one of the top reasons businesses fail. Numbers to consider are your current financial state, what it will take to launch and build the business, your financial goals, and how much business (sales, clients, etc) is needed to achieve that goal. This is also the time to determine pricing to ensure you’re charging enough to cover your expenses and earn a profit.

Day 4: Identify Your Target Market

You’ll achieve greater success at less expense by selling directly to your target market; the people who want, need and are able to pay for what you’ve got. Don't assume everyone wants what you're selling. Even if that were true, most subgroups will want what you offer for different reasons. For example, if you sell weight loss products, some will want to lose weight to look good, while others will be more concerned with their health. Knowing the reasons why people buy is crucial to your being able to market to them. People buy solutions, which means you'll need to know what problem they need to be solved.

Day 5: Develop Your USP

Odds are you’re not providing something completely new, which means you have to find a way to set yourself apart from your competition. When developing your unique selling proposition (USP), focus on the benefits your clients or customers will receive by using your product or services. Buyers don't care about how great you are. They only care about whether or not you can solve their problem or fulfill their need.

Day 6: Create a Business Name

Your business name should represent what you offer without being so narrow that you can’t expand your business later. Your business will become a representation of your brand, so care should be taken when creating it.

Make sure it’s not already taken or trademarked. Also, check that you can buy the domain name, and if it’s available, buy it.

Day 7: Make a Business Plan

Using what you’ve done so far, put everything in a single business plan. Even if you don’t need to ask for start-up money, a business plan acts as a road map guiding you toward your goal. It will solidify in your mind your goals, where you're starting, and where you plan to end up. 

Start a Home Business in a Month Series

When you complete week one, you can move on to week two. You'll find links to the remaining weeks below:

  • Week One: Research, Decisions, Planning
  • Week Two: Putting in the Foundation of Your Home Business
  • Week Three: Creating Your Marketing Plan
  • Week Four: Market, Assess, Success