Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home-Business Survival Tips

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you launch your business and to ensure you stay in business:

*Learn all the pluses and minuses you can about the business you are starting.

*Be legal. Know the licensing and zoning requirements, certifications, inspections, and other regulations that apply to your specific business. Ignorance will not suffice for defense should you fail to comply with regulations.

*Monitor your business’ financial matters and use software to track your cash-flow, expenses and income, on a routine basis.

*Create a workspace that is functional and separate from your home life.

*Review your business plan periodically to analyze your venture’s progress, direction, and achievement of goals.

*Reward yourself (and your family) for both small and large accomplishments to stay motivated and demonstrate you appreciate your family’s support.

Suggested Additional Reading:
Article: "20 Start-Up Secrets for Your Home Business"

Next: 5 Home-Based Businesses with Low Start-up Costs

Monday, August 23, 2010

Common Entrepreneurial Traits

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I have interviewed former business owners who said it was too much work or that their business was not producing the profits they anticipated or for some other reason. From my book, “101 Best Home-Business Success Secrets for Women,” here are some common entrepreneurial traits successful entrepreneurs, men and women, possess:
*Creative problem-solvers
*Willing to ask questions.
*Successful networkers
*Good communicators
*Excellent at multi-tasking
*Willing to work long hours
*Not afraid to fail
*From an entrepreneurial family

Suggested Additional Reading & Resources
The Entrepreneurial: A Social Construction by Elizabet Chell

Next: Home-Business Survival Tactics

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Entrepreneurship = Time Flexibility

When the home-business trend took off in the eighties and nineties, one of the biggest reasons women were leading this movement is that being self-employed provided more flexibility in their work hours. Many women were fired because they had to care for ill family members, or could not work overtime due to personal responsibilities.
I personally knew a woman to whom this happened, though she was excellent at her (employed) job, when her daughter contracted pneumonia and had a lengthy recuperative period. When I was a part-time substitute teacher, many teachers told me they saved their sick days not for themselves; but rather for when their children were ill as day care centers seldom permit sick children to attend. How many companies today provide paid family leave time for employees?
In another instance, the manager at a large box store, informed employees they had to come in a half-hour earlier or half-hour later. This upset a number of employees whose spouses worked alternative shift hours at other companies so their children would have at least one parent to care for them.
Today, when people say parents do not spend enough time with their children, it makes me laugh, and not nicely. When I married in the late sixties, generally only one paycheck was needed to support a middle-class family. If one spouse were ill, the other spouse was a “back-up,” and could usually work instead.
But with the rise in the cost-of-living expenses, it takes almost 2 ½ jobs today to support a middle-class family. With this recession, many employees have also had to take on more responsibilities as other workers were let go. Fearing of losing their jobs or being demoted in pay, they do these extra tasks, often working later. Then they drive over the speed limit to be on time to pick up their children from their child care center for fear they will be late.
A young health professional told me their children will be kicked out of their day care center if she or her husband, a busy new doctor, are late three times in picking up their children.
And do not think that teens can take care of themselves and do not need supervision. I read that many girls get pregnant in the afternoon, after school. Another woman decided to work from home when her son’s principal called her and said her house was the meeting place for teens after school.
Being self-employed, does not mean working fewer hours. In fact as discussed previously, a new venture often demands twice as much time as working at a “regular” job requires, especially at its onset. But what these entrepreneurial parents did, and still often do, is work in blocks of time when their children are in school, in bed, or cared for by another friend or parent.
That is WHY I liked working from home and continue to do so. I was able to be home for my children; and later for elderly parents and in-laws who needed care and assistance. I also do not have to do those “cheers” before and after a workday or attend workshops that are inane and had nothing to do with improving my job skills. Besides, I love my business and unless I “fire” myself, I can do it as long as I choose…WHEN I choose.

Suggested Additional Reading & Resources
*Entrepreneurship / Edition 4 by Peggy A. Lambing
*Chaos or Community?: Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics by Holly Sklar, Matt Wuerker (Illustrator)
Web site:
*Entrepreneurship topics sponsored by theEwing Marion Kauffman Foundation


Monday, August 9, 2010

# 3: Know How to Overcome Common Obstacles to Entrepreneurship

Many people want to start a business, but for a number of reasons never see their ideas become realities. Here are three (of many) obstacles you may face and consequently must overcome if you wish your business to succeed:

1. Financing your start-up: You need money to establish your business; to operate it while it grows; and for any future expansion plans. The first step is to write a business plan. A business plan will help you determine how much money you will need for initial and operating costs. Very important, too, is that your business plan will reveal to you IF a potential customer market exists for your services or products.
Suggested resources:
Book: How to Get the Financing for Your New Small Business: Innovative Solutions from the Experts Who Do It Every Day by Sharon Fullen
Web sites:;;

2. Adequate time to devote to your start-up: Three-quarters of all home-based businesses are started on a part-time basis. You can work at one job to meet your living expenses, while building your business on the side. The challenge here is how to prioritize your time for your regular job, your new venture, and your personal activities. You can cut out or cut back some of your non-essential activities; and-or consult with a time management consultant. Remember, too, to “have a life,” and not neglect those closest to you.
Suggested resources:
*No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy
* Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy by Clate Mask, Scott Martineau, Michael E. Gerber (Foreword by)

3. Your qualifications: Before starting a business, consultancy, or professional practice, you should have the formal qualifications and-or experience in your industry. Some industries or professions may also require you to be licensed. Research what skills or education you need to operate your business or practice and then do a self-assessment to make sure you qualify. If not, decide if you will go ahead and enroll in courses; or you can get first-hand experience by working at a job in the industry that interests you.
Suggested resources:
Webinar: 2-Minute Small Biz Self-Assessment

Next: Common Entrepreneurial Traits

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Avoiding Common Home-Business Mistakes**

The common adage, “Fail forward to succeed,” certainly applies to entrepreneurs. Statistics demonstrate the average entrepreneur attempts three (or more) business ventures before one succeeds. However, you CAN learn from the mistakes of others. Here are several, common business mistakes you will want to avoid:

MISTAKE: Not following standard business procedures and ethics: All industries have dos and don’ts as to how to conduct oneself in business with others in your industry and with customers. No matter what your venture is, be sure to follow the recommendations and any rules and regulations that are followed and practiced. If not, your reputation in your field could be damaged and-or you could be fined.

MISTAKE: Not keeping your family and business matters separate. Have separate bank accounts, business records, and spaces for your personal matters and your business ones. Starting a venture is difficult but it will be even more so, if you do not keep your finances and business activities apart from your personal life.

MISTAKE: Not having a business plan: Starting and running a venture without a business plan is like building a house without blueprints. You may get it built, but the foundation may not support it for long. Writing a plan for your business enables you to figure how to finance your venture; set your goals; and determine if a potential market exists so you will be profitable.

**More common business mistakes to avoid are in my book, "Make Your Business Survive and Thrive! 100+ Marketing Methods to Help You Beat the Odds and Build a Successful Small or Home-Based Enterprise" (Wiley)

Next: Success Secret # 3: Know How to Overcome Common Obstacles to Entrepreneurship