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Start up Business - Home based Basics

By Ronda L. Claire

Kankakee, Ill. (Sunday, Mar. 14, 1999) -- The decision to go into business for oneself can be made in many ways. Careful thought, attention to details and much research is the best route. But job cuts, corporate downsizing or being just "fed up" with a current employment situation can hasten a decision to go out solo. Or in some cases, being unemployed with little or no income or working temporary positions with an amount of insecurity can be the deciding factor in starting a business. The rationale here could be since you're not making a lot of money anyway, why not get into something you like, want to do and eventually can be a success at - with much effort and dedication.

The common thread, no matter how the decision is made, is that everyone who is self-employed must WANT to become self-employed. The dedication, effort and "stick with it" attitude must be evident and constantly cultivated. A person doesn't have to be born with these qualities - they can be acquired. The best education for becoming self-employed is to be street smart along with being book smart. Watch what other business start ups, whether in your chosen field or not, have done right and what mistakes they have made. Silently evaluate how long you think a new business might live and why or why not.

Three times during the past year I have met people who had started a business or purchased an existing one and I knew from the first few times I did business with them whether or not they would last. One was a start up from a website. The lady had developed her business with a web page describing the products, listing order forms and setting up purchase packages and plans. When she and her husband, who was employed outside the home, joined in a local chamber business expo, many people who visited the booth expressed interest in a store. "Everybody told us they wanted a store," she said brightly, "so here we are!" I found myself thinking..., "I give you six months." Her husband had quit his job and joined in the business with her. Business can be slow at the start, but this store that "everybody wanted" didn't seem to pick up. They eventually sold out and hubby is back at his old job. I believe she is still running the website and I certainly hope she is successful at it. But rule number 1 is: just because it's what "everybody" wants doesn't mean that "everybody" will be beating down the door as soon as it is opened.

Another business venture was the purchase of an existing business from one friend to another. Friend A had to sell the business due to a family matter out of state. During an emergency Friend B had stepped in for Friend A for a couple of weeks and "just loved it."

When Friend A told Friend B she was going to have to sell the business, Friend B jumped at the chance. Until summer came along and Friend B wanted to be out at the beach, or inside an air-conditioned building, or shopping...Friend B is one of the most personable people I've met in a long time and had she had some business sense, she truly could have made a go of this business. But she gave up too quickly and put her personal choices ahead of self-employment. Rule number 2 is: being self-employed does NOT mean you can take off anytime any day and go off on your personal pursuits. Being committed (and sometimes we feel we maybe should have been for choosing this life :) to your business has to come first, sometimes before the family, and most usually before anything else.

Business number three is a cybercafe. One of the few within miles of Chicago and it is having its struggles. But the people who own it are true entrepreneurs. Customer oriented, concerned with finances but always looking ahead and planning forward, the family - parents and a son - will do well even though they have never been self-employed before. They have the vision to know that, even though cybercafes are "hot" elsewhere, the idea is very new to this area. This area is curious but wary of something so exceptionally new. People are coming in, regular relationships are being built and sales are increasing monthly. Two of the trio hold management positions at local factories and the third has been a teacher at the local community college. They have people skills, a valuable asset in self-employment, and the courage and financial history to back a business a stick with it. Sometimes business is slow, other times the five computers are not enough. But the owners are taking this business one step at a time, researching advertising and marketing strategies, cutting back on some expenses without cheapening the quality and holding out much faith that their hard work and novel idea will eventually succeed.

Rule number 3 then, is: commitment, people skills, perseverance and faith in yourself, your idea and your venture once the doors open. Being in business for three months and giving up doesn't give you a chance to see whether you would have succeeded or not. Mistakes will be made, but learn from them. Spending $1500 on airtime that goes nowhere is an expensive lesson, but teaming up with a variety of local businesses and hotels to place flyers and brochures is a smart move.

What should a business owner or prospect take into consideration before actually starting up?

There are a lot of details in developing a self-employment plan, and you may be overwhelmed by the many questions. Don't be. There is much help locally and on the internet.

About The Author

Ronda L. Claire, is owner of Starlight Creations, Kankakee, Illinois. Ronda has been a home-based business owner since 1994, and established and published a newsletter for home-based (and otherwise) self-employed people since 1998. She has loved to write since childhood and has worked as a print reporter and correspondent for weekly and daily newspapers. Ronda loves being home-based in business and sharing her experiences with others who are or wish to be for their education and encouragement.

Tags: Home Office



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