Determining the kind of business you want to have
After you decide you’re going to start your own home-based business, you have to answer two questions: Exactly what kind of home-based business do you want to start, and what’s the best way to market your products or services? You basically have two types of home-based businesses to choose from: businesses you start from scratch and businesses you buy. The latter category is further split into three types: franchises, direct-selling opportunities, and business opportunities. Whether you prefer to march to your own drummer and start your business from the ground up or get a business-in-a-box depends on your personal preferences.
The advantage of a business you start from scratch is that you can mold it to fit your preferences and the existing and emerging markets, which provides you with a boundless variety of possibilities. Businesses started from scratch account for the majority of viable, full-time businesses — in other words, they tend to be more successful over the long run than businesses you can buy. In their book Finding Your Perfect Work (Tarcher), Paul and Sarah provide characteristics of more than 1,500 self-employment careers, along with hundreds of examples of unique businesses that people have carved out for themselves.
If you have a business idea that doesn’t fit an existing category, you can get feedback on your business concept at www.conceptfeedback.com. Each type of home business that you can buy, on the other hand, has its own spin. The following illustrates how the three types are different from one another.
A franchise is an agreement in which one business grants another business the right to distribute its products or services. Some common home-based franchises include the following:
· Aussie Pet Mobile (mobile pet grooming)
· Jani-King (commercial cleaning service)
· Jazzercise (dance/exercise classes)
· ServiceMaster Clean (cleaning service)
· Snap-On Tools (professional tools and equipment)
Direct selling involves selling consumer products or services in a person-to-person manner, away from a fixed retail location. The two main types of direct-selling opportunities are:
1. Single-level marketing: Making money by buying products from a parent company and then selling those products directly to customers
2. Multi-level marketing: Making money through single-level marketing and by sponsoring new direct sellers
Some common home-based direct-selling opportunities include the following:
· Shaklee (household cleaning products)
· The Pampered Chef (kitchen tools)
· Green Irene (green products and consulting)
· Longaberger Company (baskets)
· Mary Kay, Inc. (cosmetics)
· Fuller Brush Company (household and personal-care products)
A business opportunity is an idea, product, system, or service that someone develops and offers to sell to others to help them start their own, similar businesses. With a business opportunity, your customers and clients pay you directly when you deliver a product or service to them. (Another way to think of a business opportunity is that it’s any business concept you can buy from someone else that isn’t direct selling or franchising.) Here are several examples of business opportunities that you can easily run out of your home:
· Astro Events of America (inflatable party rentals)
· Debt Zero LLC (debt settlement)
· ClosetMaid (storage and organizational products)
· Vendstar (bulk-candy vending machines)
Interested in how to find more companies and how to get in touch with them? Entrepreneur Media - www.entrepreneur.com and www.gosmallbiz.com have extensive information on business opportunities you can buy. You can also do a search on Google, using the keywords business opportunity.
After you decide on a business, you have to find the money to get it started. Then you have to market your products or services and persuade people to buy them. You can choose conventional methods of promotion, such as advertising and public relations, or you can leverage new selling opportunities, such as the Internet, to your advantage. Or you can (and probably should) do both.
It’s your choice — you’re the boss!