Saturday, September 11, 2010

Part-time home business: 3 keys to high performance

You may be the classic 'serial entrepreneur' with several irons in the fire, hard-wired to look for new opportunities that leverage your creativity, work ethic, and people skills.

Or, you may be a cautious career professional looking for additional income streams to improve your bottom line or provide a hedge for the future.

In any case, the attractive qualities of any successful home-based business:
  • low entry costs
  • low overhead
  • time flexibility
are also what make these opportunities a good fit when they are only one of several priorities to be managed. Choosing a home business that truly performs well with a part-time focus is the challenge.

Here are 3 keys for choosing a home-based business that will realistically and consistently deliver the results that meet your goals for a part-time endeavor.
  1. Does the business generate passive residual income? Passive income is not directly dependent on your efforts, in contrast to most hourly and professional jobs where, if you don't work, you don't get paid. Residual income continues to pay you over time in connection with an initial, up-front effort. In reputable network marketing businesses, for example, your income is derived from both yours and your team's efforts. Stock market and real estate investments are other examples of passive residual income. Choosing a home-based business that generates reliable passive residual income, especially one that offers increased leverage as you grow it, will help ensure the 'part-time-ness' of your commitment.
  2. What is the minimum weekly time commitment, what activities are involved, is the time scheduled or flexible? Based on credible examples, or your own analysis of what is required, determine if the business performs well at 5, 10, 20 hours per week. If the successful examples are all working the business 30 to 50 hours per week, you should adjust your expectations if you can only commit to 10 hours per week. Also, are the activities ones with which you are effective? What is the mix of marketing, order and inventory management, customer education and support, and recruiting? Is there a long or short up-to-speed process? Are you in control of when you commit your time each week? Are you expected to attend meetings or trainings at particular times, or is the business largely a matter of completing tasks on your own schedule?
  3. What is the amount and quality of the help available to build the business? If an opportunity is presented as a do-it-yourself business-in-a-box, evaluate closely whether that has worked for others, and if the up-to-speed time investment is what you can live with. Will that type of business scale up to the size you envision through just your efforts, and those you recruit, or will you also benefit from the activities of the larger team?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wellness home business: 5 ways to keep it personal

Your wellness-based home business is in the double sweet-spot of small business:

1. Huge market: wellness goods and services are on a strong rise to be the next trillion-dollar industry.

2. Strong up-trend: home-based businesses are also on the rise, already contributing tens of billions to the U.S. economy, and accounting for more than half of small businesses. According to a U.S. Small Business Administration research report: “… the home has become a hub of business activity, entrepreneurship, and business creation.”

Great to be in good company, isn’t it?

With more than 60% of small businesses selling directly to individuals, the personal factors of your business are critical keys to your success as a home business owner. Here are five ways you can maximize the personal dimension of your wellness home business, and thus enhance your long-term success.

  1. Be your own billboard. As an owner of a wellness business, you are obviously a champion of wellness choices. Are you a picture of wellness yourself? Do you use the products or services that you market? Do you have a strong personal story about their value? Do you make your general appearance a priority (e.g. with diet and exercise)? Are you a demonstration of the financial success of your home business opportunity?
  2. Know what each customer values. Not all prospects - even those from your ideal demographic - have identical priorities. Do you know how each prospect assigns value to the investment that you are proposing? Do you have a strategy for demonstrating added value to each transaction? The first of Bob Burg’s 5 Laws of a Go-Giver is helpful here: “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
  3. Put a ‘face’ on every transaction. This is especially challenging with internet-based home businesses, where distance is the norm and you may never have a face-to-face meeting with many of your customers or partners. What is your strategy to know more about your customer than the specifics you need to complete a transaction? How many unique ways of communicating with your customer do you offer? Can customers communicate with you as readily as you distribute information to them? Do you know which is your customer’s preferred medium for communication?
  4. Let your customer drive. Customer-initiated business is the most effective, and most profitable, for any size business. And it is the lifeblood of home-based businesses. In the arena of internet marketing, for example, one of the most powerful personalizing strategies is attraction-based marketing, where customers pre-sell themselves (e.g. with an internet search) on your products or opportunity prior to contacting you.
  5. Join a successful team. Your business benefits from the personal dimension on the production side of your enterprise as well. Working closely with like-minded business owners toward a shared or parallel goal magnifies the impact of your individual efforts, improves your business knowledge, and offers more satisfaction in what you do day-to-day. If your supplier does not offer the team opportunities that fit you, explore concepts such as a home business owners community or mastermind group that is designed around specific success strategies or personal growth that will benefit you.