Is a Home Business Right for You?

Many people, especially when frustrated by working for someone else, have considered starting a business of their own at home. Not only are you your own boss, but you can work whenever you want to. Creating your own home business can take some planning though.

Use Our Tips To Help You Get Started Your Own Home Business.

Sign up at forums, and also discussion groups, that cater to owners of home businesses. There are lots of easy to find, informative websites that can give you invaluable advice. In addition to forums, you may find great information in a number of blogs.

Always research anyone you hire to do work for you. Poor employees can turn a successful fledgling business into a flop, so be sure that you hire reliable people with the skills needed to help your company grow.

Your website should be updated when your stock of a particular product runs out. Let your customers know the status of their order. If you are out of stock, let them know. If an item has been back-ordered and is not going to be in stock for weeks or months, state this clearly on your product page, and give your buyers the opportunity to purchase an alternate item that is similar in quality and price.

You should not put in your notice at your primary job until after you have started operations at your home business. A new business might take a while before it can generate profit, therefore, it is wise to keep your job going. If you have money before you start you will always be ready for the next new thing.

An office is necessary when you are based at home for work purposes. It doesn’t have to be gigantic, but it does need to be cozy. Make sure that your office makes you feel comfortable and confident while doing business. Use the space that you have for your office as efficiently as possible.

Your business objective is a short description about your business, usually two to three sentences. You should state exactly what your goals are with your business and what it is about. Also describe what is unique about your business and its goals.

Develop a mailing list for your home business. Try to communicate only important issues as you do not want to spam your customers. Certain entities utilize mailing lists to advertize sales and new items. It can also be used to send handy tips to your customers. Add a signup box to your site so people can join.

Risks, as scary as they are, are necessary to achieve true success. When you experiment and try new things, you can get new customers to visit your site. This can help you to make a lot of money. If you always keep the same routine, you will never know if something else would have done better.

Designate a specific room in your home as your work space. It is imperative that you keep things organized, so make sure you have the proper amount of space for your things. Doing this will ensure that your business stays organized, and organization in a business that is based from home is extremely important.

It can be easy to get too involved in your work if you stay at home all the time. Creating a ‘work space’, in which you do work on your business and nothing else, will make it easier to stay focused; also ensure that you set aside some fun time every day to enjoy with friends or family.

When you borrow money, investors may feel entitled to ask more questions than you are willing to answer. Maximize your profits with the money you already have.

You should get a DBA or Doing Business As license. Your bank or chamber of commerce will be able to assist you with advice in this regard. You will most likely need to pay a modest fee. It’s important to do this so that your personal bank account and business accounts are kept separate from one another.

A good home business tip is to look as professional as you can. Nothing will drive customers away quicker than having a web site that looks unprofessional. Look at other professional web sites to get an idea of how to make one.

Home business owners tend to congregate online. Investigate forums and message boards, both those devoted to your business niche and those outside it. Solid advice where you can learn new lessons about operating your own business can come from many different areas, so you don’t want to limit yourself to only your niche.

When you are doing your taxes, make sure to take into account all write offs such as business trips. You can write off as much as half of all travel expenses related to business.

Choose a home business that you know something about. Many people make the mistake of thinking they can learn what to do as they’re working on their business. Yes, it’s possible, but chances are you’ll be more successful when you have some expertise in the industry you are choosing. You should know what your weaknesses and strengths are and start building your business around that.

Save budget money by not investing in high-priced web services. Look for options that will allow you to share server space. This kind of server is known as virtual hosting and can be useful if you’re only running a small website. You need your own business server when hosting a forum on your site.

When you can get by with a simple, modest website, do so; invest in thorough reliability testing instead of fancy bells and whistles. You should design your site to be browser-friendly on all available formats, such as mobile devices, and try to make your information follow similar formats on all devices. Verifying your website’s accessibility across multiple platforms will ensure that you don’t miss out on any potential customers just because they use a different browser than you do.

As you can see, it will require a little bit of work and dedication to make the jump. If you can manage to pull through and stick to the plan, you will be able to accurately represent your dream in the company’s image and create something that is long-lasting and profitable over the years.

How to Negotiate Business Debt

Debt accrual is not uncommon in business. When owners cannot keep up with their debt payments, more debt accumulates to the point where businesses are unable to get ahead. Often, this means the business has no other option but to close. Even after closure, the business will still have a pile of debt. Business debt negotiation is important for owners to understand after closure.

Debt can be owed to many different companies. It can come from utilities, service providers, landlords, suppliers, and banks or private lenders. First, it is important that business owners alert the creditors that the business is being closed. This could reduce the amount of liability owners carry.

After notifying creditors, owners should make plans to get rid of these debts. Options include paying the bills in full, settle the bills for less than the full payment, or file for bankruptcy. No matter what, owners should not ignore their debt and hope that creditors will ignore it as well. Collection agencies, repo men, lawyers, and lawsuits will haunt owners for several years.

Most likely, business owners will not be able to choose the first option to pay all the bills in full. This means owners need to negotiate their business debt to get a settlement. This depends on the type of creditor, the legal portion of the debts, and how severe the creditor acts.

If the business is an LLC or corporation without any debts personally guaranteed, then the creditor cannot collect from the business owner personally. This means creditors will be able to accept a small portion of what the business owes as the full payment. If the business owner owes debt personally, or if a friend cosigned for it, the creditors have more leverage.

When business owners can pay 30% to 70% in cash on the barrelhead, it is worthwhile to try to settle the debt. Creditors understand that they have a hard time collecting their money once the business has been closed. Therefore, they will agree to settle debt for 50, 60, or 70 cents on the dollar. Sometimes business owners can settle for less when hiring a consultation company.

It could make very little difference if business owners settle a couple of small debts while leaving the larger ones unsettled. Owners should make sure to tell all the creditors that the offers are contingent upon all creditors agreeing to settle debts.

Business owners need to prioritize their debts. If there are any loans that were personally guaranteed, these should be settled first. After paying loans that owners are personally liable for, any wages and benefits owed to employees should be paid. Any money left over should be paid to suppliers, credit companies, lease deficiencies, and bills from random expenses.

There are a few steps to take when settling debt. Owners should explain the business cannot pay the debts and they can offer partial payments. If creditors agree, then owners should get them to sign a release for the entire amount in exchange for the partial payment. Without a release, there is no proof that the debt has been settled. Creditors could sue for the remainder of the debt.

The last option for debt negotiation is filing for bankruptcy. This allows owners to wipe out debts there is no hope in paying. If a business owes a lot of debt that is unable to paid, bankruptcy is a fresh start. When owners feel like this is their only option, he or she should debate if bankruptcy or liquidating the business assets is a better decision.

Business debt can ruin an owner’s finances very easily. Understanding the ways to negotiate and resolve the debt will help owners save themselves from ruin. If debt is settled generously, business owners can actually have a second chance at success with a future business.

Selling a Business Through the Buyers’ Eyes

Take off your shoes. Go on! It’s time to step into someone else’s.

The buyer. Ruthless, clever, efficient, and thorough. At least, that’s how they may seem like when you first meet them. Let’s shatter that barrier of the unknown, and understand what areas you need to cover in order to put your business out to tender – it’s time to examine the behaviours and processes of ‘the buyer’.

1. Motivation

Picture this, Mr or Mrs Buyer: you’ve found yourself in a position where you have a good amount of capital behind you, and you want to start running your own business.

You have two options.

The first is to start your own business from scratch – a cheaper, but slower and much riskier endeavour.

The second is to purchase an existing business and capitalise on its already established profitability and structure.

You opt for the one that is more likely to bring you a quick, consistent income. You opt to buy-in.

2. Who are you?

And so, Mr or Mrs Buyer, what are you looking for? Chances are, you’re after a business that:

  • Is in an industry you’re very experienced with
  • Is in a situation/environment that you find quite favourable economically
  • Is the best performer around (i.e. the best deal you can find)

If you’re really clever, you will have also engaged an experienced broker to aid in the purchase of your business, because you know their commission will be well-offset by the difference in result.

3. Business, Business, Business

You’ve found a few businesses matching your very strict criteria. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. You start looking into the financials, talking to the staff, talking to the seller and talking to the people outside of the business.

You have five simple questions that will make or break this business in your eyes:

  1. Are the reasons for selling favourable? You don’t want to buy a business that the seller is leaving because they’ve run it into the ground. If they’re selling because they’ve ‘made it’ on the other hand, you’ll consider buying it at whatever price they ask.
  2. Does the business have a good general presence? Annoyed suppliers, unmotivated staff, unhappy customer base – any of these things could break the business, or be enormous issues that you will have to fix when you take over.
  3. Does the business have control over their market position? If the business is a big player in the market space, you will have a terrific opportunity to adapt and grow the business. The alternative is to live in fear.
  4. Do the numbers balance? If the cost of labour and materials are preventing the business from running at a good margin of profit, you may want to look elsewhere. Sometimes, smart cost cutting can improve the bottom line without reducing the quality of services or products, but if the numbers don’t work, the business won’t either.
  5. Is the business well respected? A reputation is not something we can easily put a dollar value to, but buying into a business with a solid reputation with customers and suppliers sets you up with a great chance of success.

4. The Finishing Line

The business you’ve got your eye on has passed all of your tests with flying colours, but it’s not out of the woods yet. It’s time to dive deep into the business.

Here’s your last piece of homework:

  1. Check the cash flow, profit and loss statements and balance sheets of the business for at least the past three years. If the business is financially healthy, we’ll give it a tick.
  2. Come up with ideas on how to grow the business. If you can come up with a lucrative new product or service, or if you can see a change in processes that will that will greatly improve the bottom line, the business will be worth even more to you.
  3. Evaluate the intangible assets. Does the business have Intellectual Property? Does it have any trademarks or patents? These are all things without a fixed value, but can contribute greatly to the viability of the business.

Great job! You can get out of those shoes now.

And get excited! Right now you have one thing that many sellers don’t: insight into how the buyers actually think.

So print out this page, make some scribbles, and put plans into place that will greatly improve the value of your business as seen by prospective buyers. As part of that plan, engage an experienced Business Broker to help you get the most for your business.

If you’ve employed strategies like these before, or if you’re looking to start making similar changes to your business, we’d love to hear about it!