According to recent data, more than 30% of commercial activity occurs online, but that still leaves a lot of room for an offline business. If you are a stay-at-home parent considering starting a home-based business but don’t want to open an online enterprise, many potential opportunities exist.
Choose an Idea
The starting point for any company is an idea. Choose an idea that suits your interests and skills and a market for. One popular option is pet care. 70% of families in the United States have at least one pet. Pet owners often need services for their pets, such as taking care of their pets when they are out of town or walking their dog while at work. You could start a dog walking or pet sitting business if you enjoy working with animals.
More than 64 million people in the United States have gym memberships, but many don’t get much use out of those memberships because they don’t know what to do in the gym. If you are a fitness-minded person, you could help people reach their fitness goals by becoming a personal trainer. Other good home-based business ideas include selling homemade products, flipping houses, photography, childcare, and bookkeeping.
Select a Business Structure
Now that you have your idea, you need to handle starting your enterprise’s legal and administrative parts. One task you need to tackle is selecting a business structure. Forming a limited liability company protects your assets from your business’s liabilities. For example, if you started a personal training business and one of your clients got hurt, the client could sue your company, but your house and personal bank account would probably be protected.
The regulations for forming an LLC vary by state, so either research them yourself or work with an attorney or formation service. Using a formation service costs less than an attorney and can save you time and effort.
Traditional loans can be a challenge for an entrepreneur to obtain. A microloan through the Small Business Administration may be a good option. If you have equity in your home, consider a home equity business loan. However, since you are putting your home at risk with this option, make sure you don’t borrow more than you can repay. Other options include commercial credit cards, crowdfunding, grants, and bootstrapping.
Create a Dedicated Home Workspace
You can work from your kitchen table, but it is better to create a dedicated workspace. You will be more productive and better able to protect sensitive client information from unauthorized access. You may also be able to take a tax deduction for the space.
Market Your Business
The biggest challenge for a new business is attracting customers. Marketing helps you conquer this challenge. Even if you aren’t planning to conduct business online, setting up a website and social media presence is critical for your marketing effort. You can also advertise in the local paper, flyers, and run ads on local television or radio stations.
E-commerce companies may be all the rage, but if that isn’t the route you want to take, there is no reason you can’t succeed with an offline home-based business. The best time to start is now.