According to SBA.gov, home-based businesses account for over 50% of small businesses. So if you’re running your entrepreneurial endeavor from a home office, you’re in good company. But home-based businesses have a unique set of needs and issues as compared to other types of small businesses, and those issues can make it difficult for your business to grow. So here are a few tips that will help home-based business owners overcome common obstacles to help encourage business growth.
Larger, office-based businesses frequently gather input from employees and customers to learn ways that they can improve products and workflows. This input often leads to innovations that help the company to increase profit and promote business growth. But when you’re a home-based business, this can be difficult.
For one thing, you don’t often speak to your customers face to face. For another, most home-based businesses don’t have employees—in fact, as of 2013, there were 23 million businesses without employees, a steady increase from previous years. Or, if you do have a few employees, they work remotely, and you don’t often meet for face-to-face discussions. So, with these obstacles in place, gathering input from these individuals can be difficult, but it’s not impossible with the right tools.
When entrepreneur and business consultant Sam Ovens first started out, he had no idea how to build his business—so he turned to his target customers. Sam reached out via email to project managers to see what pain points they had that he could address. They responded, and through their input, he was able to create a highly successful app that helped project managers take photos and manage documents for various properties and customers. This app was the springboard that launched him into a multi-million dollar career. And it all started by asking his customers what they wanted.
Another struggle for home-based business owners is effectively marketing their businesses. Larger companies have marketing funds, whereas you are most likely the company’s CEO, CFO, IT department, customer service, and marketing department, all rolled into one. This can make it difficult to dedicate much time to marketing. But if you use the time that you do have wisely, you can still create an effective marketing strategy.
Once again, this largely comes down to leveraging social media in conjunction with other tools to create the perfect plan for your business. The best way to use your time effectively is to schedule social media posts with a scheduling tool. This allows you to do a large portion of your social media marketing at once, rather than having to remember to do it every day.
While paid tools will offer more options, if you don’t have the budget for it, Hootsuite offers a free plan that can be quite effective for small businesses like yours. You can schedule up to 30 posts on up to 3 different social media sites, all from one place. And as any good marketer will tell you, regular posts are the first step to a truly effective marketing plan.
Leverage Your Existing Network
If you’re looking for new clients for your at-home business, the best place to start is with the people you already know. Of course, you can look to your current clients for testimonials and referrals; they’ll be the best source, because they’re likely to know others in need of your services, and they can give a glowing review of your work. But your friends and family can be a valuable resource as well.
So don’t be afraid to put out a call on your personal social media profile to ask for leads on new clients. A friend’s dad might be looking for a product or service just like yours. Or your cousin’s employer might need to contract with a business like yours. You never know where your personal connections can lead you, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Running a business from home is no cakewalk, but it can be immensely rewarding. With these 3 tips, you can begin to grow and scale your entrepreneurial endeavor into a booming and successful business.