In my last article, I gave you my perspective and philosophy on what goes into planning a successful business. In this Part II, I want to get practical and talk about what you need, in equipment, attitude and good habits, so you can set yourself up for success.
The First Trap – Overspending
First of all, please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to have a fancy home office, expensive furniture, the latest computer, software and office equipment to be successful. Remember, it’s your business idea coupled with the ability to locate and sell to those who want and need your product or service that determines the viability of your business…not how much you spent on that impressive modern glass and steel desk. Some of the most successful businesses in the world, including Microsoft and Apple, were started simply. Many entrepreneurs have started businesses in a corner of their kitchen or living room.
Having said that, I do want to emphasize that your working environment is extremely important. Having a comfortable, well lighted and organized space that is solely dedicated to your business will go a long way in setting you up for success. If you will have clients coming in person to your home office, you do want to make it an attractive and professional space.
Business equipment will vary, depending on the nature of your business. Most home-based consulting, coaching or service professionals need a spacious desk, shelves to store books, a filing system of some kind, and a computer and software, depending on the type of service you provide. In our connected age, reliable and fast internet access is a must, as is an up to date smartphone.
It can be tempting to overspend on equipment and furniture, but not overspending in the beginning means more money you have to put into marketing, and getting new customers and clients. This alone can mean the difference between failure and success.
The Second Trap – Boundary Creep
The second trap into which the home based business owner can easily fall I call boundary creep! Unless you set clear time boundaries around your work it’s easy to get off track and lose focus before you know it. Clear work rules are essential. Successful entrepreneurs who work from home will tell you they have had to set up a clear and regular structure for their day. Yes, you will have flexibility working for yourself but you also need discipline. Decide on a work schedule that makes sense for your life and stick to it.
Set daily office hours for yourself, with a definite start and stop time and then politely but firmly enforce them. Unless you have a deadline driven project to complete, try not to work on the weekends. Like many of my clients, you may find that you have to not only be firm with friends and family during your work time, but also with yourself. If you do this from the outset, though, you will reap the rewards in terms of increased productivity, satisfaction, and business growth.
Most of us have had the experience of falling prey to the Law of Task Expansion, which goes something like this: a task will expand in proportion to the time available to complete it. This goes double for those of us who work at home!
If you have worked for someone else and have been accustomed to having a ‘boss’ to answer to, you may be in for a rude awakening when you begin to work for yourself. Keeping an organized daily calendar with a schedule and defined work periods will keep you away from the time drift that engulfs so many home business owners.
The Third Trap – It’s A Pajama Party!
Personal preference varies, but I like to dress for work instead of staying in my proverbial pj’s and I advise coaching clients to do the same. A benefit of working from home is not having to dress up in business attire every day but wearing comfortable, casual clothes instead of slouching around in your robe gives your mind the powerful signal that you are in charge here and that you mean business!
As a new business owner, designing your business so that you maintain balance and boundaries can be a real challenge. I’d love to help support you in designing and developing an efficient and workable structure for your business. As I’ve said before, I believe in designing a business that works for you….one that fits into your lifestyle and enables you to develop and maintain a healthy balance between your business and personal life. Simply contact me by clicking here to set up a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. I know the challenges of starting a new business – I’ve been there. I’m here to help!