Written by Suzanne Cody CPA, CGA
Are you thinking about starting or currently running a home based business? The success of your business rests with several important aspects. Some of the more important factors are defined and highlighted below.
- Target market – You need to know who your customers are. The three main ways to determine this are by location, demographically, or by consumer lifestyle. You should carefully select a market for your products or services. The more specific the audience the easier it will be to meet their needs. Marketing to a very wide customer base can be quite overwhelming not to mention ineffective.
- Website – A Website is an address for your business. You need to have an internet presence. It lets people find your business and is responsible for the very first impression you make. Did you know that 84% of Canadian shoppers say that their purchases have been influenced by what they have accessed online?
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – SEO helps your website’s search engine ranking (where it is positioned by Google or Bing) by associating it to keywords and links that will make the site easier to find online. Online shoppers searching for the products or services that you provide will see your website in the first pages of their website search. This has the potential to bring you more paying customers.
- Marketing – As part of your budgeting you should include an amount for marketing. No matter how small your business may be, every venture requires a marketing budget. Some areas to consider when deciding on the amount of money you are willing to spend are business cards, classified ads, and radio spots. As part of your marketing strategy you should track the results. You will want to repeat the ones that are most successful.
- Offline marketing – In addition to your website and online marketing campaigns, personal interaction is important to connect with potential clients. Attending workshops and other networking events in your neighbourhood armed with business cards will help to boost your sales.
- Goals – You need to set realistic goals for your home based business. When setting them, these goals should be based on what you can deliver or provide without outsourcing. You should be aware of what your actual production capacity is. You should not overextend. This leads to unsatisfied customers. You can improve on the numbers gradually.
A home based business can have many benefits. It can be quite profitable while at the same time giving you the freedom to be your own boss. A portion of your home’s expenses can qualify for a reduction to your taxable income. A home business requires you to be very disciplined in terms of time and financial management and this is where many people fail especially in their first home based business ventures. It is definitely not for the faint of heart!