Starting a business from home is often a more sensible option because you don’t need to invest anywhere near as much money. There are so many risks involved with starting a business and if you have to put a lot of money into renting out an office and hiring employees, you stand to lose a lot more if the business doesn’t work out. Running a business from home is also a lot more flexible and it works well for people that have family responsibilities.
However, there are a lot of limitations to running a business from home and a lot of people struggle after the first year or so because they don’t really know how to move forward. Expanding a home based business and taking it to the next level can be very difficult, but it isn’t impossible. If you’re running a business from home and it’s a success but you don’t know how to push it forward, these are some of the best ways to do it.
Find Some Funding
One of the first things that you need to consider is how you’re going to pay for your expansion. When you’re operating out of your home, the overheads are very limited so you don’t need that much money to run the business. However, if you’re looking at expansion and you need to rent an office and pay for employees etc. you’ll need money to fund it. If the business is doing well, you can save a lot of that money for yourself but there is still the chance that you’re going to need funding.
There are a few different places that you can look. The most common way to fund your business is through a business loan, but a lot of people struggle to get a loan because they have a poor financial history. Your credit rating has a big impact on your ability to get a loan so if you’ve got a lot of credit card debts, you might struggle. There are business loans for bad credit available so your financial history won’t necessarily stop you from getting the funding that you need. It is still a good idea to try to improve your credit rating before you expand your business though, because it will make things easier for you.
Seek Financial Advice
Managing your finances properly is important in any business, but when you’re running a small business from home and you’re not dealing in particularly large amounts of money, you can probably handle it for yourself. However, if your business is going to expand and you’re going to increase your sales, it is going to be more difficult to manage your finances successfully. If you do have funding for growth, it’s also important that you make sensible decisions about how you’re going to spend that money. At this stage, it’s a good idea to seek financial advice so you can start drawing up a business plan for the expansion. If you don’t have a clear plan for your growth efforts in place before you start, you are unlikely to be successful.
Focus On One Product
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they should start launching lots of new products if they want to expand, but that isn’t always the best way. Slow and steady wins the race and new product lines mean increased overheads. It’s best to focus on your existing products and try to expand your customer base to grow the business instead. If you’re struggling to find new customers, you need to think about different market areas that you haven’t really connected with yet.
Increase your efforts on social media and try to move into these new market areas. The extra money that you earn from increased sales can be used to fund further business expansion. You could also consider a marketing collaboration with another similar business. This is often a good way to connect with customers that you couldn’t otherwise reach.
Increase Sales To Existing Customers
As well as finding new customers, you should also try to increase sales to your existing customers as well. This depends on what your product is, of course, and if it’s the kind of thing that people only buy once, you might struggle here. But if you’re selling anything that people tend to replace like clothes etc. you can easily boost sales to your existing customers. There are a couple of different ways that you can do this; firstly, you should make good use of your email list because it’s the easiest way to reach those customers. If you combine an email marketing push with some deals and offers, you should see a big increase in sales.
In some cases, you might be able to get more sales if you offer people volume discounts. If you sell products that people use a lot of like t-shirts, for example, offer them a discount if they buy 3 instead of 1. They’re going to use them at some point anyway so people are likely to go for the deal.
Hire Your First Employees
All of your increased marketing efforts require manpower and if they are successful, the increase in sales volume will be too much for you to handle as well. That means you’re going to need some new employees to help you out. It’s important that you start small and don’t just hire a big team of people because you won’t be able to afford it. The first thing you should do is think about where your skills gaps are. If there are certain areas of the business that you struggle with like social media marketing or accounting, for example, you should hire in those areas. It’s important that the people that you hire actually help to improve the business and push it forward.
You don’t necessarily need to hire staff and operate out of an office either. A lot of people that run their business from home use freelancers and remote workers instead. The main benefit of using freelancers is that you don’t always need to pay full time staff, you can just pay for extra help when you need it and if things are a little slow, you won’t have to cover the cost of a salary. You can use remote workers to handle things like basic admin (answering emails and phone calls etc.) and you can also hire remote social media managers to run your online marketing campaigns.
It’s best to start out with freelancers and remote workers during the early stages of your expansion and then consider hiring more full time staff when your revenue increases and you can realistically afford it.
Find An Office Space
If you do eventually decide that the business is doing well enough to support full time employees, you’ll need an office space to work in. However, renting or buying an office can be incredibly expensive and at this point, you might not be able to afford it. You can still find reasonably priced office space but it’s not likely to be in a very good area, so it’s often best to look at other alternatives.
Coworking spaces have become incredibly popular over the last few years because they’re more cost effective for businesses. Instead of having an entire office for yourself, you’ll share the office space with a few other businesses. If you’re using a lot of freelance workers and remote workers, you don’t always have a need for lots of office space. Sharing a coworking space with a few other companies means that you’ll save a lot of money and you won’t have to deal with a lot of the extra costs like utility bills, for example. Most coworking spaces only have short term contracts so if the expansion doesn’t work out and you need to scale back and move the business back into the home, you’re not tied into a long office contract.
If you’re using a lot of remote workers, you might not need a physical office space at all. However, one of the major downsides of running a business from home is that you don’t always appear professional. If you’re trying to grow, making yourself appear larger and more professional is very important, which is why virtual offices can be so useful. You can still run the business from home using remote workers but for a small fee, you’ll have an official business address in an office block where you can send your post. You can also get a business phone number that redirects to your home phone number and if you have need of conference rooms and meeting spaces, you can find them there as well. If you use these virtual office services to make yourself appear more professional, you’ll find it a lot easier to expand your business.
Finding expansion opportunities and pushing a home based business forward can be very difficult, but if you make sure to secure the funding that you need, plan properly, and grow the business slowly, it will be a continued success.
This is a commissioned post.