Home-Based & Home Services Franchising Feature
The alarm clock goes off, signalling the start of your day. You jump in the shower, get dressed and help the kids get ready for school. Brewing up a fresh pot of coffee, you forgo the travel cup for your favorite ceramic mug and make the trek over to the office – which happens to be less than a minute away and conveniently located in the next room.
Running your own business from home might sound like a dream that’s too good to be true, but it's becoming a tangible reality for a growing number of home-based business owners. Home-based businesses have been very successful in franchising and have opened up the opportunity for business ownership to a wider variety of investors because without the need for outside real estate, home-based franchises tend to have low start up costs – few cost more than $50,000 to start and many cost as little as $20,000.
In addition to low start-up and overhead costs, as a home-based business owner you also have more control over your schedule which can help maintain a better work/life balance. And aside from times you might need to travel to meetings or events, the only commute you’ll be doing is through the house to your home office.
The Small Business Administration reports that around 50 percent of small businesses in the U.S. are currently home-based firms and that number is expected to keep growing. So if a home-based business is part of your vision, you're not alone and there are many positive statistics and trends showing home-based business as a category set up for big successes.
The evolving concept of “workplace”
The concept of “workplace” has evolved and continues to open up new opportunities for home-based businesses. In fact, workplace surveys have shown that we're at a point where only 32 percent of employees spend all of their time at work in a traditional office, and 43 per cent of workers say the option to work remotely is a “must-have” for today’s workers.
This growing trend means that having a traditional “office” or storefront is less important than ever before, and you can now successfully run a business right out of your own home as long as you have a strong website, a solid social media presence and other key online assets in place.
The rise of AI technologies and e-commerce
With the help of technology, there are more ways than ever to get the word out about your business and stay in touch with customers. Home-based businesses can also be more productive than ever before thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI)-based marketing tools and many experts predict that AI-driven CRM (customer relationship management) platforms, social media tools and other software operations will become available to more and more small business owners. These new technologies will make it possible for home-based businesses to offer the same kinds of efficient, personalized customer service experiences that until now only larger companies have been able to deliver.
The rise in e-commerce platforms and decline of brick-and-mortar retail stores has also created more opportunities that ever for home-based business owners to create an online marketplace and sell products from home. The rise of e-commerce means you no longer need to invest in renting commercial real estate, and you don’t have to rely on your own local community to find a market for your products — you can now sell to customers all over the world.
According to the U.S. Census, home-based work is most likely to be management, business or financial. However, the home-based home services industry is rapidly growing and with the explosion in online and mobile booking services, it's now an estimated $400 billion market.
While no business is free of risks, having an understanding of current and forecasted trends can help you gain a big step in the direction of long-term franchise success.
The home services industry has been steadily growing and this growth is expected to continue beyond 2018. The home services industry is generally made up of businesses whose main purpose is working on residential homes although some of them will also provide services to commercial businesses. Examples include plumbing, flooring, landscaping, HVAC, moving and storage services, and more.
Some of the fastest growing segments of home services include mosquito spraying, home inspection, home restoration, painting services and deck building. There is a huge amount of variety in the types of services that can be provided and businesses that provide cleaning services, senior care, tutoring, and computer repair are also showing very promising growth trends in franchising.
Minimizing home-based challenges
While most business owner struggle with time management and work-life balance regardless of whether they work from their kitchen table or a corner office, this can be a key challenge for home-based business owners. Being closer to children and family is one of the most common reasons that small business owners choose to start a home-based business, but it also happens to be one of the biggest distractions.
If you're looking to run a successful home-based business, you'll need to get serious and set yourself up with a professional, functional office space and establish set office hours that are dedicated to running your business. You can then educate your family or anyone who you might live with to avoid disturbing you during your office hours and whenever you're in your office space.
As mentioned earlier, emerging AI technologies carry a lot of potential for helping home-based business owners minimize the challenges of working from home. Once AI robots become commercially available on a wider scale, it's expected that business owners will be able to delegate certain business functions to robotic “assistants”, including managing business social media accounts, updating websites, marketing and advertising, screening calls and emails, data entry and even generating invoices.
But until “employing” robots becomes the norm for the average business owner, you can still look for ways to accomplish the above tasks more efficiently through automation, delegation or outsourcing.
Living the laptop lifestyle
More and more people are transitioning out of the office to a home-based business that can be run from a laptop. The world is connected globally through technology and it's now possible to run a successful business while snuggled warmly on the couch. But the rise in popularity of home-based businesses also means the level of competition is high, and getting a new business off and running can be a challenging task when faced with it alone.
With a home-based franchise, you benefit from an already proven concept and a clear system that you can follow. You also gain the benefit of an established brand name and reputation, and most well established franchises will provide you with full training and support.
But regardless of the level of support you might receive, to succeed as a home-based business owner, you'll need to be self-motivated, passionate, and become familiar with the many digital tools that are now available to make life a bit easier for the home-based business owner.
Diana Cikes is the Managing Editor at CGB Publishing. She is also a professional writer, brand storyteller, and a film, TV and voice actor. She is happily living the laptop lifestyle as the owner of a home-based business, DC Creative.