What You Need to Know to Start Your Home Business

Home business owners need to wear many hats--everything from marketer to manufacturer to manager to bookkeeper. So if you have an idea for a home business, and you've got the personal skills to start a home business, there's still more you need to know about to launch yourself as an entrepreneur.

While you don't need to know everything about everything, it's important that you have enough basic knowledge to understand when you need to hire an expert or at the least to do more research. See these 6 must-have areas of expertise for every home business owner.

Writing a Business Plan

home Business Plan
Getty/DNY59

Before you start, it is essential that you have a plan. How detailed and elaborate that plan is will depend on factors such as whether you are trying to attract investors and how much time and money you are investing in this idea. You will likely find that writing a plan makes you aware of the areas where you may lack the expertise you need. Nevertheless, click through the rest of the slides to start that process.

Business Finances

Home business fashion woman

If the most financial work you’ve ever done is balancing your own checkbook then, as a home business owner, you may eventually want to employ someone to help with the finances, but even that may bring up more questions:

Marketing/Networking

Online Marketing for Home Business
Getty

As a home business owner, you need to make your product or service known to those who may want to purchase it. Marketing your business can range from simply networking with others in your field to creating a marketing and advertising plan to attract consumers. Either way, this often costs money and takes some skill. Browse these resources for more information on how to market your home business.

Sales

Direct Sales
Marc Romanelli/Getty

Sales go hand in hand with marketing and networking, which expose your business to potential clients and customers, but in the end, you need to close the sale or sign the contract in order to actually make money. Obviously, if the business you choose is something in which you sell products, then a talent for and knowledge of sales is key. But even if you are selling your services, it is important to know how to close the deal.

Legal Issues

Online Jury Jobs
Getty/Andrew Unangst

Unless you’re an attorney, you likely didn’t start your home business, so you can wrangle with the arcane intricacies of the legal system. But you’ll need to ensure you are working within federal, state and local laws. And while you’ll want to hire a lawyer to deal with some legal issues, there are other legal issues you can handle yourself. Plus you’ll need a basic understanding of small business law to know when you need a lawyer.

Inventory

Home Business Inventory
Getty

If your home business carries inventory, this brings up a lot of issues for you, such as where to store it, how to keep track of it, and how much of it to keep on hand. Use these resources to get a basic understanding of inventory-related issues.