Aside from going it alone, home-based business owners increase their level of risk by financing the start-up themselves.
“Most businesses are started by people who dig into their own pockets for at least some of their start-up capital,” Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg said. “This is true for both firms with employees and those without them.”
With so much at stake home-based business owners need a set of must-haves, to increase their likelihood of success in those fragile first years.
There are the obvious must-haves for the home business office you can read anywhere. In fact you probably know them already. That list includes a stable Internet connection, comfortable furniture, a powerful computer with a reliable dedicated printer, ample toner, pens, paper, post-its, etc. These are the basics of just doing business.
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons antique Chippendale secretary desk at extreme top and above, Dino Londis for aNewDomain.net
The must-haves are those things that take the business to the next level of professionalism.
A business that maintains an uptime even during a power outage, Internet failures or a natural disaster is more likely to survive than those that have to make up lost time by responding to old requests as well as new ones. The longer the inbox unread list and the more your voice mail fills up, the less time you’ll have for current or new business. Even loyal customers have a threshold of tolerance and will go elsewhere. Don’t give them that opportunity.
Identify what you can’t afford to lose and find a way to back it up. In this age of consumerization, redundancy is not necessarily expensive. For example, if the computer hard drive fails, have a second laptop on hand and ready until the first is being repaired. Even an Internet connection can be duplicated by tethering a smart phone to the PC. Now it won’t give you broadband power, but you can research, invoice, respond to email, and keep the communication going. They key: Have this in place before disaster strikes.
2. The Fastest Internet Available
This is especially true for businesses that use cloud-based software to manage their business. Test your speed at dslreports. Are you getting what you’re paying for? Is there an upgrade? If there is, then get it right away. A fast connection gives you the ability to host remote sessions, remotely access an off-site PC and teleconference. And speaking of teleconferencing, you need:
3. A Wardrobe
The myth is that home-based business owners can work in their underwear, but teleconferencing is bringing clients and partners into their home offices. You need to look just like the professionals who drive to work.
4. A Dedicated Old-fashioned POTS Land Line.
Plain old Telephone Service (POTS) is a proven legacy technology and though it is being pushed aside for MagicJack, Vonage and cable providers VOIP service, a POTS phone works even when the power or the Internet fail. A bundled cable, Internet, and phone package is fine for the family, but a home business needs a land line.
5. An Understanding Spouse and Family
This is the toughest must-have to achieve, but it’s the most important. I was reminded of this when writing this story during the Thanksgiving break. As far as my three school-age children were concerned, daddy was home to play. I was interrupted more times than I can remember to make lunches, get water, resolve fights and play. The home-based business owner needs lots of time to get those details right. Getting that time puts the burden on your spouse to take the slack of family life sometimes so you can work.