When all the fanfare fizzles out and your friends and family have all tried and bought whatever it is you’re selling, there can be a frightening stillness. Your sales can be so stagnant that you can almost hear the crickets chirping as if in mockery of your very serious plight.
Even if you have witnessed the hype surrounding your home business fade away into the wilderness you can still revive interest and improve your sales. You may need to turn on your powers of perception and bring out your inner hunter to find where your customers have gone.
Take a look at the following considerations.
Are You Hunting in the Right Places?
Just like a deer hunter probably won’t have any luck finding his prey in treacherous mountains, a home business owner needs to understand the habitat of his customer. It is important to have an ideal customer profile. This will tell you what your customers like, what they dislike and where they go for fun. These things will help you to figure out where to place your ads so they have a better chance of being seen.
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Are You Using the Right Strategy?
In the same way that you won’t expect to catch a deer with a mouse trap, home business owners should not expect to lure their customers using the wrong strategy. You need to find out what appeals to them and then use that as your marketing method of choice. If your customers are likely to surf the web, have a strong web presence, if they are the type to listen to talk radio, scoop up some spots during a talk program.
Are You Consistent and Patient?
Finally, sit back and wait. This can be the hardest part. There may be times when you question your approach and you feel like the money spent on marketing is not worth it, but holding the course (as long as you were right about your assumptions above) will produce great results.
Do you have any advice on how to find customers? I’d love to have people share their experiences by leaving a tip or two on how to find new customers in the comment section below!
No one can say that the characters of the Sopranos are a moral authority, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great resource for some very insightful principles.
When in Doubt… Ask for Advice
Tony Soprano, despite rising to the position of boss, was not averse to getting the opinions of others before making an important decision. Of course, his approach was always to disguise his indecision, but he still valued the opinion of others and appreciated that he may not always have the answer. This is priceless in a successful leader and business owner.
Respect is All Important
Tony Soprano demanded respect. Home business owners must seek to have the respect of its clients and employees (if any are hired) for the operation to reach its full potential. See The Dangers of Not Taking Your Home Business Seriously.
Think Before You Act
Despite being quick to anger Tony Soprano was a strategic thinker. He carefully thought about the consequences and counteractions of his decisions before he made a move. Home business owners would do well to mimic this trait and get in the habit of thinking things through before rushing to a decision.
Don’t Expect Things to Come Easy
Running a business is hard work. Tony often alluded to the fact that people didn’t understand the pressures of being boss not to mention his strained relationship with his mother and even father. In short, you may not have it easy, but home business owners should not be afraid of obstacles or hard work for that matter.
Family is What It’s All About
Finally, the overriding message throughout The Sopranos is that family is what it’s all about. Nothing is more important that your loved ones and this can be adapted directly into the life of the home business owner. Work can get out of hand, but always remember to rein it back into control so that you have time for your friends and family.
The tax season isn’t necessarily a joyous time of year, but home business owners who are familiar with some handy tax filling tips can usually survive tail in tact.
Of course, there are some general issues that every home business owner should be aware of. First of all, it is important to make sure your home business qualifies for some of the deductions you may already be counting on. To do this you must ensure that your ‘office’ is a dedicated space and has been used continuously for this purpose.
Secondly, it is necessary to have proper records. Hopefully, last year’s spring cleaning didn’t get to the receipts and expense accounts that will be needed as proof of your claims. Many home business owners get caught unawares because they have either misplaced or discarded important documents. Don’t be one of them!
Finally, if you haven’t been introduced as yet, it’s time to get to know your common tax deductibles. This will help you to average your tax situation way ahead of time.
A business plan is a formal document. It lays out the business idea using a series of structured sections in an attempt to allay any fears that all aspects were not covered. Typically a business plan will include the following;
- a statement of how the business will be structured or the ownership
- business financing
- marketing methods
- projected income and expense statements
- projected cash flow statements
- growth predictions
Inc.com has a great series of guides on how to write a business plan. Check them out here.
Now, if your business idea is to become a cake decorator or to run a daycare from your home, this might be a bit more than you need.
Traditional thinkers argue that going through the motions of preparing a business plan is beneficial because it ensures that the home business owner hits all the right areas. This kind of logic is hard to dispute but the time and effort of completing a formal business plan may not be warranted in certain situations.
However there are some instances when a business plan is not optional;
- when you are looking for a business partner
- when you need outside financing
- when you are going to be incorporated
Of course, this is not to say that home businesses do not require planning. You must have a strategy for how you will start up and operate your business to be successful, but you may not need to put this plan down in a formal document if your situation falls outside of the above mentioned conditions.
What has been your experience? I’d love to hear from home business owners who fall on both sides of the fence here, so please leave me a comment!