by Lesley Spencer, MSc; Founder & President HBWM.com Inc.
One of most common obstacles many home-based working moms face is trying to start or run a new business on a limited budget. The first few years of a business are usually hardest financially. Some moms leave full-time careers and substantial salaries to start a new business. Others start a home business as stay-at-home moms wanting additional income to support their family as well as a professional outlet to balance their diaper-changing days.
In either case, starting and running a home-based business takes money. How much money, will depend partly on you and type of business you choose to run.
Below are our top 10 tips to save you and your home business money:
1. Do your own market research by talking to potential clients or customers. Many new home business owners skip this step only to come back to it later (or wish they had). Those who start businesses without doing any type of research risk possibility that their target market doesn't need or want their particular product or service. The competition may be too fierce. There may not be enough potential customers to support business. Or product isn't priced correctly. It is just as important not to price your product too low as it is not to price it too high. Talk to others in similar businesses as yours to see how much they charge and what they offer for that price. 2. Team up with other non-competitive businesses that target same market to do some co-marketing. For example, desktop publishers and print shops can do a direct mail campaign together advertising both of their services or buy an ad in a local publication and split costs. Neither is in competition with other. They also can hand out business cards or flyers for one another as well as give word-of-mouth referrals. It's a great way to double one's marketing efforts while splitting any advertising costs.
3. When you have a satisfied customer, don't be afraid to ask for referrals. People like to help others especially new businesses trying to succeed. Show pride in your work and people are sure to notice. And when they do, ask if they know any others you can send a brochure or sample to. Another great way to encourage referrals is to offer a discount or special offer for any customers who are referred to you.
4. Barter or trade your services for other products or services you need. Associations and organizations are not only great places to network; they are also great for finding businesses that offer services and products you need. Look for businesses you could help with your product or service and offer to barter or trade for theirs. (Be sure to check with your tax professional for tax issues involving bartering and trading.). Diana Ennen of Virtual Word Publishing(http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com) has found bartering her virtual assisting coaching has allowed her to get web design work done, PR work out, proofing of assignments and much more. It's a win/win for all.