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A 20-Point Checklist for New Home Businesses

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You're eager to start your home business and bring in some
extra income. Although you're probably bursting with ideas
and enthusiasm and want to jump right in, take some time to
plan and prepare for your new venture.

Here's a simple checklist you can use in the startup phase
of your home based business. Feel free to add additional
checkpoints of your own!

1) Assess your personality. Are you the entrepreneurial
type that will do well with your own business? Are you
self-motivated, disciplined, and willing and able to
put forth the effort, time, and money? Are you the type
that can get up after a failure and try again? There
are many quizzes available to help you decide whether
or not you're ready for a home business. Try
http://quiz.ivillage.com/work ests/areyouready.htm

2) Appraise your skills, knowledge, and experience. Make
a list of businesses you think you would be capable of
building.

3) Know your interests. If you're doing something you love,
you are more likely to work harder and enjoy yourself.
A good place to find unique business ideas is here:
http://homebasedwork.com/cgi-bin/a .cgi?bizideas

4) Figure out what type of business you want to run. Out
of the huge number of possibilities, select one that
works well with your skills and your interests. An
excellent manual with 16 different Internet 'business
models' that you can copy is available at
http://buildyourhomebiz.com/rd/senze.html

5) Do some market research. Is there a demand for the
product you plan to sell, and at the price at which
you want to sell it? After your (projected) expenses,
will you be profitable?

6) Check out your competitors. How will you distinguish
yourself from them? Why should customers come to you
instead of to them? What are they doing right or
wrong, and how can you improve upon them?

7) Select a business name. Make sure you don't infringe
upon someone's trademark! You can research trademarks
at http://www.marksonline.com/ . Consult with a
qualified legal professional for more information.

8) Know the zoning regulations in your area. Make sure that
you are permitted to operate a business from your home.
Some areas may also place restrictions on the type of
business that can be operated from your home.

9) Find out what licenses, registration, or permits you
need to operate your home based business.

10) Research any additional regulations applicable to your
product. Find out if there are restrictions on producing
it from your home. For example, if you're a caterer, the
authorities may not allow you to prepare food in your
home if you have pets running around!

11) Select a business structure, such as sole proprietorship,
partnership, or corporation. Again, you may want to
consult with a qualified professional to determine
what's best for your specific situation.

12) Assess your financial situation. Do you have enough
to finance a business startup? How will you handle
emergencies? Don't forget about marketing expenses --
the success of your business will depend in large part
on how well you market it.

13) Secure additional funds, if necessary. Loans, lines of
credit, grants, savings, and employment income are some
ways that entrepreneurs can finance their businesses.
The US Small Business Administration has a useful list:
http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexspecial.html

14) Prepare a business plan to help you define your goals
and stay focused. Again, the US SBA offers help at
http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexbusplans.html

15) Investigate the costs associated with purchasing the
necessary equipment, materials, and supplies. Contact
several suppliers to compare quality, prices, and
service.

16) Talk to your local tax office. Ask for any relevant
information on how your home business will affect your
tax situation.

17) Consider purchasing additional insurance to cover your
business assets.

18) Set up your home office. Establish rules and 'office
hours', when customers can generally expect to reach
you. Consider setting aside a room specifically for
your office space.

19) Talk to your bank about a business account, to keep
your business and personal income and expenses separate.

20) Consult with professionals. Depending on your situation,
you may need to use the services of lawyers, accountants
or bookkeepers, insurance agents or brokers, and others.

For additional information, read the US Small Business
Administration's 'Small Business Startup Kit' available
at http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexstartup.html .

About the Author


_____

Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a practical
guide to building a business on a beginner's budget. It's
a proven hit with beginners, for the down-to-earth style
and loads of instantly useable tips! For details, visit
http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/article.html
OR request a series of 10 free reports to get you started:
http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/freereports.html

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