Home based business? How mobile are you?
More and more people are becoming business owners these days and whether it’s a full time gig or just to make a little extra money on the side one thing’s for sure, the climate to operate a business has never been better.
According to the SBA there are already almost 28 million small businesses in the US with the vast majority (22 million) being self employed “micro” businesses – and 52% of them are home based business.
As a business owner you have to run TWO businesses, one business is the product or service market you’re in, and the other business is the business of being in business. Yes, almost half of your efforts will have nothing directly to do with clients, products, services, sales or MAKING MONEY… and these efforts will be completely UN-BILLABLE! Some of these necessities include accounting, organization and technology… all things necessary to be in business but they don’t actually make money.
So, the tough question is, how do you get all of these non-billable responsibilities done in the shortest, most efficient way so you can spend as much effort as possible making money?
We’ve compiled a short list of tips to give home-based business owners the ability to maximize their efforts in the back office and get to the sales floor
1. Where possible use professionals – Hire a trusted accountant/bookkeeper, office assistant and tech support. You may think you don’t have enough money to do this but it’s a must. Negotiate a reasonable fee for only the services you need each month. Think of the money you won’t be making if you spend your time trying to reconcile a bank statement or configure a router. This is opportunity cost, the cost associated with choosing to do something other than what you should be doing; selling. This can easily be underestimated. Bottom line is that professionals will do the job quicker, cheaper and better than you will.
2. Dedicate a space – Your business mindset is important to your effectiveness. Having a dedicated space in your home helps with professionalism, focus and efficiency. Train yourself that when you step into that space it’s all about business! BTW, your space can be tax deductible too.
3. Set hours – Again with the mindset. Having set business hours tells your clients you’re serious about your craft and it also let’s YOU breathe too. One of the benefits of being a business owner is that you set your own hours and live more freely. Ironically, if you don’t set your hours you’ll end up loosing your freedom. Sounds backward but trust me, you’ll just end up working all the time.
4. Limit distractions – Focus, focus, focus. The better you dial-in to your workday, the better your output will be. Studies show that work performance and proficiency decline after too many hours. And didn’t you become a hone based business owner (in part) to not work so many darn hours in the first place?! Turn off the TV, turn off the home phone and stay off of Facebook. Get in, do your job and get out!
5. Have a game plan – Don’t just sit down and start working on the first thing that you see. Have a plan of daily attack that fits your work style and industry and also jibes with your long term plans. Maybe start your day with industry reading, then respond to emails at 9:00 then start making your sales calls at 10:00… whatever works for you is generally ok. Just figure out what works for you and stick with it.
6. Use technology – With technology you can literally be in and out of the office at the same time, work on multiple items simultaneously and even conduct multiple conversations at once! Tech is the big equalizer that gives you the ability to compete with almost anybody large or small. Services that were once reserved for businesses with deep pockets are now available to everyone – even a small home based business. Surveys, ticket systems, CRMs, educational systems, cloud services… Pay close attention to the difficult moments of your business day and ask yourself, if I had tech support, would it fix this?. If so, make a point to soon PERMANENTLY solve your problem with technology. No more workarounds.
This is a good start but tell us, how do YOU manage your business? What “best practices” help you the most? We’d love to hear. Leave a comment.
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