The 5 Disciplines That You Must Learn To Run A Home Based Business
Starting a small business has more then enough innate challenges. There are over 28 million small businesses in the U.S economy and over three-quarters of small business are non-employers and over half are home-based businesses.
I have owned brick and mortar business and when we divested ourselves of those businesses and looked at our next opportunity, the thought of working from home with no employees had a strong allure. Couple that with the reduced overhead and the upside of protecting cash during the early growth stage, it was easy to see the benefits of giving the home based business a try. Lean was good.
If you zero in on why so many small businesses fail you will find that most have significant operational inefficiencies’ that are accelerated by a lack of capital. By running our small business from our home, we would eliminate rent, utilities, employees and all other expenses tied to having a brick and mortar location. Yes, it would mean that my wife and I would be handling the marketing, sales and accounting for the company and would operate in a house fraught with constant distractions. We would also need to trust that our contract employees could perform with no direct oversight.
Once we committed to the lifestyle changes we were off to the races. Today, we have had three successful years of operating out of a home-based environment and we have learned quite a few things. The most obvious of which is the need for an organized and disciplined daily plan. From a strictly business perspective we have confirmed the benefits of working from home:
- Free Rent
- No Utilities
- No W-2 Employees
- No Gas
- No Commuting Time/Traffic
- No Office Drama/Associated Time Wasters
It wasn’t long into our first year that we had also identified a number of challenges:
- Keeping Your Workday Hours In Check
- Motivating Yourself
- Staying Out of The Fridge
Here are some things we learned along the way and a few tips that may help you be more productive:
Keeping Your Workday Hours In-Check. This single item will be the key to the success of you running a small business from your home. I would routinely find myself sitting at my desk at 6:00 AM responding to emails and still at my desk at 6:30 PM returning calls to franchise prospects on the west coast. I could not walk past my desk without checking email or my to-do list. The home-based business had swallowed me whole and was effecting the time that I spent with my family. A change was necessary. The first thing I did was to take 15 minutes on Sunday morning to schedule the upcoming week. I Schedule everything. Every meeting, phone calls, lunch time, car maintenance, children’s carpool, walking the dog, etc. I scheduled my daily workout and to-do list. I even scheduled my coffee breaks. Schedule a reasonable starting and finishing time. Working at home will afford you flexibility in your daily schedule, however you should be as disciplined at scheduling your time as your are checking off items on your to-do-list.
Distractions. Working at home affords you enormous flexibility. It also provides for distractions that can pull you away from the task at hand. Focus is a skill set that you can improve over time. Be disciplined. Stay the course. Set deadlines and goals. Meet the goals and then reward yourself. The reward is one distraction that you deserve.
Motivating Yourself. Though you wont have someone else evaluating your performance on a quarterly basis—you should set goals for yourself and monitor your progress. Your goals should be tied to your overall business objectives. You can’t grow your business if you don’t a roadmap for your future success. How you reward yourself for reaching a goal is up to you, but you need to constantly review and evaluate the plan.
Stay Out of The Fridge. As I noted, scheduling a daily workout is extremely valuable and will help you stay focused the balance of the day. Working in such close proximity to the kitchen and your fridge is a sure fired way to put on a bunch of extra pounds if you are not extremely disciplined. Schedule time for lunch and otherwise stay out of the kitchen.
Networking. Schedule time on your calendar for networking. This may be with a local BNI Chapter or through LinkedIn. If you are blogging regularly, post your blog to various industry LinkedIn Groups. Connect to other professionals in your industry and schedule introductory calls. Besides the benefits of potential business that this may yield, you will develop a group of friends that you can bounce ideas off. But most importantly, it will keep you connected.
About the Franchise Sales Solution
The Franchise Sales Solution, is a Tampa-based franchise sales and development company. John Armatas has owned and operated both small business and franchise operations and has a unique understanding of the challenges that entrepreneurs face in growing their companies. For additional information on the franchise systems they represent or to discuss their services contact, John Armatas at 855.844.8377.