Top 10 Mistakes of Home Based Businesses

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From My Bloglines

If you hadn’t noticed, I use and prefer to use Bloglines as my online RSS feed reader. I haven’t been at the site since at least before July 28th, so I’m slowly catching up what’s out there since I got back. There’s a lot! Here’s something else that caught my eye.

The AllBusiness.com – Home-Based Business Articles site writes about the Top 10 Mistakes Home-Based Business Owners Make. Seems like sound advice, even if you don’t think it’s a mistake! I thought I would jot down a few thoughts how each relates to my own business, as I also work out of my house. The bold is from their list, the rest is how I relate to this ‘mistake’ for my own situation.

1. Trying to fit a round business into a square house.

As much as I wish I could be cloned, I cannot clone myself and feel that I have to do all of the work myself. Yet, during this past tax season I did hire my cousin’s daughter to assist me in pounding in some information onto my 2nd computer. It definately seemed weird and crowded having a 2nd person (besides me) actually doing work in this small 3rd bedroom-converted-to-my-home-office.

2. Lack of motivation.

Yes, I put a lot of time here working and at the computer, but I do get easily distracted. There are the dogs, incoming emails, blogging, … and probably the worse distraction of them all .. the want to be with my wife whose schedule is quite finite. While I work whenever I can, I know within 6 minutes when my wife will be home from work – and 7 minutes after that we have to eat! 🙂 She also starts her day earlier than mine, so she will not stay up late during the evenings. I will always prefer to spend time with her over working, despite the possibility of getting addicted to reality Primetime T.V. shows.

3. No room to grow.

As a consultant, I don’t think this really affects me. If anything, I need more time – not more space.

4. Over spending what you are saving on overhead.

I’d be overspending even if I wasn’t saving on my overhead! Although, I must say that there generally are true savings on working out of the home. There is no additional office space rent (although there may be higher heat and electricity bills from staying and working at home) .. my automobile gas and expenses are down … and I don’t go out to eat as often as I used to. When I go out shopping for supplies, I tend to make an afternoon of it and shop both for business and personal means and pleasures.

5. Forgetting to promote your company.

True and Not-True. Back in 2003 when I first transitioned and went “on my own” working out of my home – I did advertise in trying to pick up new income tax clients. I found that in general, people who call classified ads for income tax returns are probably not long-term clients and are looking for the cheapest quotation possible. I lost a lot of time on the telephone during my busiest season that year. On the other hand, in 2005 I started to promote myself and my internet (toll-free fax) aspect of my business and I have never been busier .. in fact, I am guilty because of the that. I have been so busy this past year – that when my wife’s mother passed away May 26, 2006 .. and I pretty much lost about a month’s time .. I have never been so behind in my life in catching up. I don’t have to remember to promote my company – I need to remember to better service my clients in the future .. and get the jobs done faster.

6. Not having a client-friendly environment.

Two Papillon dogs .. barking .. plus a cat who tries to escape if you open the door … that’s only half of it! I work upstairs and my office is messy. So, if it’s not too messy and I can bring clients to the computer for calculations .. then it’s too hard on them to climb the stairs. I currently meet all clients on the main floor at our dining room table, but that’s where we eat. So, it does get irritable having later afternoon and evening meetings when my spouse is home. This is ALWAYS a constant thought in my head.

7. Technical insufficiencies.

I believe I am technically sufficient.

8. Zoning nightmares.

I live in a condominium. With my insurance, technically – I think I am not supposed to bring clients into my home. I prefer that and always offer to pick up and deliver the information and meet with the client on his own turf. During “tax time” however, a lot of client’s are coming and going dropping off their stuff or picking up their finished tax return from my door. This past year, we had an early thaw after a lot of snow. My sidewalk was constantly filled with water that I had to shovel clean minutes every time a client was due to show up.

9. Overlapping home and office.

I am weak on this point, because as much as I try to separate my home and business .. or, my wife leaves me to work .. there is always something that can pop up anytime. Family life – I will give no examples.

10. Lack of a business plan.

It may be suprising to some … but I did draft up a simple business plan on a napkin one day at Tim Horton’s and I have it pegged on a pegboard on my wall behind me in my office. I do not read it every day, although I am thinking about it constantly. And – yes – included in my accounting and consulting business is my online blogging activities, HART-Empire.com and some other things I am trying to accomplish online. My plan hopes to result in some monetary benefits by XMAS 2006 .. take off by Summer 2007 … and, was ready for a new implementation of everything by summer 2006 – but, I’m also a bit behind on that too.

A good business plan is always changing and should constantly be updated and adapting to the current situation … and, in my opinion .. when I look at stuff like these “Top 10 Mistakes” and compare them to my own business – helps me focus, adapt and modify my own dynamic business plan constantly in the works. I am not immune – I need work on myself and my business.

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