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home based business start up

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									Home-based Business

         firstbusiness.ca SECTOR GUIDES
                            Home-Based Business

With the advent of affordable technologies and a surge in First Nations’ entrepreneurial
spirit, more and more small business people are launching businesses from their homes.


According to experts more businesses are now being started from home than commercial
sites.


Money is a primary reason for the decision, as many home-based entrepreneurs start with
less than $5,000 and no savings.


While not for everyone, a home office is a good starting point. And today, there are many
small-business Aboriginal people who wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are some things
to consider when thinking about working from home:


>   How much foot traffic will you have? Clients, salespeople, and mail carriers may all need
    to visit. Is your home zoned for business applications? Will your insurance company
    cover any accidents? Is your home set up to accommodate visitors? If your home is not
    a good place to meet with clients consider instead the client’s place of business, or a
    restaurant, or coffee shop.


>   How much space do you have? Will it allow for expansion as you add clients and
    equipment? You may think you have ample space, but after adding a second printer,
    scanner, fax machine, and more file drawers, it can be a tight fit. Plan carefully and
    consider buying integrated technology.


>   How will your family adjust to the office? Will you be able to have a dedicated space,
    with no intrusions? Will you be able to keep your business phone off limits to others? Will
    your equipment be used only for business, or will you have to vie for time on the




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    computer? Will there be resentment if you’re home and not spending time with your
    family?


>   Can you keep your business and personal life separate? Can you work if the dog is
    barking, the kids are screaming, or the laundry needs to be done? Will you be able to
    stop and start working at certain times? For many home means just too many
    distractions; people just can’t seem to get away from work. That may explain why, over
    time, many First Nations entrepreneurs eventually rent or share an office.


>   Think about the environment in which you’ll be working. For many people, the basement
    may be only space large enough for all your gadgets and files. And even with new
    lighting, working below ground can get people down, especially those short winter days
    when sun is scarce. Try to pick a space with good natural light and a door you can close
    to the outside world.


There are also some marketing concerns to being based at home. Although there are
thousands of home-based businesses across the province now, there may still be a bit of a
stigma associated with working from home. So If you decide to launch from home, keep in
mind the following:


>   Don’t use your home address for your business cards, stationery, collaterals, etc. Better
    to have a PO box where you can get all your mail. It looks better than 123 Evergreen
    Road, Apartment 201.


>   Without a storefront, your image is all you have. Spend time and money to make your
    business cards, Web site, and stationery reflect a truly professional operation. Don’t
    make your own business cards and stationery, unless you’re a graphic designer. Don’t
    use pre-perforated business cards you can buy at office stores. Tempting maybe, but
    business cards are relatively inexpensive to have designed and professionally printed.




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>   Don’t skimp on a dedicated phone line. A phone line for business use only is absolutely
    necessary. Get yourself set up for voice mail, rather than an answering machine (it
    sounds more professional.) Don’t skimp on Internet connections or fax lines, either.


>   Make sure that you can close out the noise of your household. This can be
    embarrassing if the baby is crying -- especially if you’re speaking to your best client.


>   Answer the phone professionally. Sounds like a no-brainer, a professional phone
    manner is critical. Cute or clever phone messages are out.


>   Get out of the house every day, even if it is just to get the mail or take a brisk walk.
    Creativity suffers the longer you spend in one place. Being at your computer screen in
    your electronic hutch all day can suck the mental sharpness right out of you.


>   Stay involved in outside meetings and activities. Plan lunch dates, go to seminars, check
    in with customers and prospects. Don’t stay trapped in your office.


Starting a business from home is a great way to ease into your new business. If you start on
a shoestring, it’s wonderful not to worry about coming up with a rent check every month. If
you are not well suited to home-based business, you will know very quickly; as you grow
and become successful, you can always move to a larger space outside your home.




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firstbusiness.ca provides interactive
business information and services to the
growing number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs
in British Columbia.
Certain sectors of the provincial economy
have increasing Aboriginal participation.This
guide is part of a series providing relevant
background information on those industries,
highlighting statistics or real-life anecdotes,
trends and emerging markets. Other guides
can be found at:


> firstbusiness.ca / guides

								
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