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Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Home Business

Apr 11, 2008
So you have a great idea that's been playing around in your head for some time. You're pretty sure it will work as a home business and you do want to take the chance at starting a venture earning money from your own efforts. But is this the right time? Are you on the right track? Do you have what it takes? Most of all, are you primed for success? Here are six questions you should ask yourself before you ever start a home business:

Do I have a product to sell?

Dreaming of having a home business is fine but do you have something that people will spend money to buy? One look at aspiring businessmen joining the reality TV show 'American Inventor' will tell you that good intentions aren't always enough to build a business. In fact, there are plenty of ideas out there that might never fly or are just downright ridiculous.

To keep things real, ask yourself if the product you have in mind truly has a market. Look for general needs you can meet or a niche market you can service.

Am I trained for this business and do I have the knowhow?

A good understanding of your business is essential to surviving and ultimately succeeding in your industry. Training and/or experience will go a long way in a home business. The family of Ed and Elisa Lupin, for example, owns a coffee plantation based in Panama. Since the product was something they were very familiar with, they started Cafe Elisa, which offers specialty coffee.

Do I have the right network?

A network of contacts is important because this is your source of information, updates, referrals and sales. A strong contact base can help you build a potentially lucrative home business. If you start a home business as a wedding planner, for example, mainly because you love weddings and have a creative eye, you can't very well hope to succeed if you don't have the right contacts.

Do I have the capital?

It's nearly impossible to go into a home business without spending for something, whether to add to your capital or to use for promotional materials. Do you have enough to cover for these expenses? Are you ready for other expenses that might emerge? Would you have enough to sustain your business until the profits start pouring in?

Are there requirements or laws that I should comply with?

There are home businesses that will require you to apply for certain permits and licenses. In some jobs, you'll also need to complete certain certifications. Check with local agencies and associations if there are laws and standards you need to conform with. If you want to offer quality products and services or at least operate a home business that will not violate any laws, you need to know what these requirements are.

Am I equipped to start a home business?

Think of all your interests and preferences. If you want to start a home business, it has to be something you like, something you truly understand. It could be a hobby you've had for years or related to the job you used to do. Do you have the personality that the job requires? If the business requires selling, do you have the ability to make a convincing pitch? If the home business requires you to do mass production, do you have the means with which to obtain equipment and materials?

As you can see, starting a home business is not as easy as it seems. However, if you have the persistence, the drive and the necessary qualifications, it could be one of the best things you'd have done in your life.
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