Home Sweet Business. Empire Building From Your Basement!

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George Knauf - Franchoice

As I advise corporate professionals every day, spending more doesn’t necessarily mean making more. There are good businesses that you can start from a home based office that will get you positioned to move down the path to independence, freedom and control over your earnings.

For some the home base is a first step in the growth of their business empire that may eventually require an office, for others it will be the way they operate going forward and for others it is where they do most of the work for their semi-absentee retail business.

Home based operations can save money in some key areas: Staffing, infrastructure and sometimes inventory. Many of our candidates look at home based options to fit within a particular start-up budget, others want to operate this way to achieve a lifestyle goal. If you are looking for a cost effective way to get into business then home based businesses are the starting point for an investigation.

When looking for businesses, as always, the match between the model of candidate (skills, strengths, working habits, goals, etc.) and the model of the typical owner in that business must match. There is no long term benefit to you in getting excited over a product or service if you will not want to do the work.

With traditional home based businesses you may have a small staff, if any at all, and the owner will wear most of the hats. Most companies with staffing requirements would set their base of operations out of an office or retail location so that the employees have someplace to come to check in, get their tasks and meet with their managers.

How you will want to spend your day will also be a factor. Your day as a home based business owner may have a broad range of activities from administrative tasks to networking, sales, marketing and delivering your product or service directly to the client.

Do you prefer to spend your time in the office most of the day, and what tasks do you enjoy doing there? Or, do you prefer to just stop in the office to gather your materials and get out in your community to meet with clients?

For our candidates that are used to spending hours per day commuting to a job working from home or in their community is a luxury they learn to love fast. They get to do work they are good at, build their future and spend more time with their family.

If I broke down fully home based businesses into what seem to be the most obvious skill sets, to me they would be:

• Sales

- Brokering goods or services

- Acting as a matchmaker between service providers, sellers, buyers and clients

• Professional services

- Business consulting/coaching

- High tech services – in an executive role

- Educational services

• Technical or repair services

- Upholstery repair

- High tech services- in a technician role

- Auto

- Vending

- Home inspection

Through these categories we see a broad range of skill sets and working preferences. Some are aimed at a more professional role while others are more hands on technician roles.

If you enjoy getting your hands on your work, being involved in fixing or repairing things, then there are a variety of options where you can load up a specialized and branded vehicle to go out and service client’s needs.

This could be a simple process of restocking a vending machine and collecting change, doing very detailed repairs on leather upholstery for retailers and car dealerships or even installing very high tech equipment. These hands on roles will require physical capability to do the work and sometimes unique requirements like being able to match a broad spectrum of colors well.

These hands on roles are great for candidates that like to focus on a single task, complete it to a very high degree of quality and see a finished result in a short period of time. Often these candidates do not want to manage a larger team of employees.

If you are in a more professional mindset, you might check into your home office to organize your day then go to the local chamber of commerce breakfast before going to scheduled appointments with clients. After your appointments you might have time set aside for more networking or putting together an advertising campaign.

Either of these roles could theoretically offer room to grow a team, and your business empire, beyond the work that you can do all by yourself.

There are some unique challenges in home based businesses:

• Managing your time

- Nobody will be checking in to see how hard you are working, there will be no boss standing over you, no risk of being downsized to scare you into working hard.

- You will have to be self-motivated, though you will have a support team of cheerleaders in the franchisor.

- At first, every one you know or are related to will think that you can come out and play any time! Just one round of golf per week please!

- Times that you can be seeing clients are your “money hours”, do paperwork and administrative

functions outside of those hours.

• Running a home office as opposed to a social hangout for family or friends

- Set office hours, tape them to the door, lock the door if you have to

- Schedule any to-do’s or family activities and plan on making up lost time for the benefit of your business.

- To some extent your hours will be flexible, within the acceptable hours of your clients. You can’t service clients when they are not there!

• Company vehicles

- Your company vehicle has to look in perfect condition, clean, organized and well maintained at all times. It is your billboard!

- Don’t skimp on any auto wrap recommended by the franchisor.

As the most cost effect franchises, home based businesses offer really interesting avenues to begin building your business empire. Select well and you could have many years of doing something you love.

Mr. Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both startup and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.

For more information: Website: www.georgeknauf.com