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Starting a Small or Home-Based Business

Many people dream about starting their own small business. The reasons are many and varied. Here are just some examples:

1) Frustration with employers who constantly ignore good suggestions.
2) Lots of people feel their contribution at work is not fully appreciated.
3) Those in dead-end jobs think they will do better running their own business.
4) Some spot a gap in the market and feel they could fill it.
5) People may not be in a position to take up regular employment because of family or health issues.
6) Others want to earn supplemental income while maintaining their regular employment.
7) Many find it a great strain to have to stick to the employer’s timetable (e.g. those on alternating day and night shifts).
8) Unemployed people may think of starting their own business.

Although there are many people who would love to start their own small or home business, for many the dream remains just that. This is unfortunate, because the availability of low-cost hardware and access to the whole world via the Internet makes starting a small business or running a home-based business much easier nowadays.

Fear is probably the biggest factor holding people back—fear of failure, fear of not having the necessary skills, fear of not having somebody to turn to for help, fear of not having enough capital to get the business up and running.

The reality is that there is a wealth of information, tools, and support, often completely free, available to everybody who has access to the Internet. Undoubtedly, some home-based or small businesses will fail, but it is better to have a go and fail than to end up regretting missed opportunities. The lessons learned from the failure of one business may prove invaluable when starting another. Many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs have gone from riches to rags and back again.

Being your own boss does mean you have to take a different approach to your work. Since you have nobody but yourself to answer to, self-discipline is vital if your business is to succeed.

If you want to start a small business or run a home-based business, the key word to bear in mind is the word “business.” This may sound obvious, but it demands that you adopt a business-like approach to what you do.

For example, setting a price for your service or your product is not as simple as calculating an hourly rate or a margin of profit. Your business will have overheads such as phone bills, broadband bills, and maybe professional subscription fees.

Since you will almost certainly be using tools, perhaps a computer or electrician’s tool kit or your own hairdressing equipment, the cost and depreciation of these have to be taken into account in your pricing structure. You will also need to remember that you will have to pay taxes and other charges like insurance and banking fees.

Just look around you at local retail outlets, restaurants, trade and professional services, and so on. The vast majority of these businesses were started by people who had no formal training in running a business. They all had to learn on the job, just like you will with your new venture.

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