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Develop a well-thought-out contingency plan to keep your business running with a minimum of lost time, effort, or profits.
=== 6. Learn From Your Mistakes, and Build On Your Successes.
Just as you will experience success in some of things you do, you will also make some mistakes. In both cases you'll have an opportunity to improve your business. Ask yourself what you did right (or wrong), why it worked (or didn't work), and what you could do differently.
Ask yourself questions. What kind of startup capital do you need? What are your estimated monthly expenses? Is your business making profits you expected? If so, what are you doing right and how can you improve upon it? If not, what can you do differently? What are your competitors doing and how can you convince customers to switch (or stay) with you?
These types of questions will help you to make smart, educated business decisions -- decisions that will help your business to grow and flourish.
=== 7. Be Customer-Focused.
It's much easier to sell to a happy customer, than to try convince a new prospect to buy from you. Be professional, courteous, and always deliver a quality product or service. Your customers will be thrilled and much more inclined to come back.
=== 8. Target Your Marketing.
This goes back to research you did before you started your business. Know who to target in your marketing efforts. You want to attract people who are interested in what you have to offer -- not just curious 'passers-by'.
You can see great examples of targeted marketing by looking in your mailbox. If you've ever ordered from a mail-order gardening club, you've probably received additional catalogs from them *and* from other gardening clubs who purchase customer lists. They know that you have an interest in their products, so chances of you ordering something are much higher than if they were to send a mailing out to a random bunch of addresses.
=== 9. Take Your Business Seriously.
There are lots of images floating around that show relaxed 'home business owners' reading a book, playing with their kids, lounging in a comfortable chair, etc. There's a tendency to think of a 'home business' as 'not real work', or not as serious as a 'real' (corporate) job.
To start and build a successful business, it needs to be treated like a business - not a hobby. Take it seriously and work hard to achieve your goals.
=== 10. Do Something You Love!
This is what it all boils down to. Find something that you're passionate about, and will enjoy doing. Business doesn't have to a daily grind; it can be a true pleasure!
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, an exclusive newsletter for eBusiness beginners. She offers a 'no hype, no bull' approach to building a profitable Internet business. Every issue is packed with helpful tips and useful tools, specially selected to fit a beginner's shoestring budget. Visit her online today at http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/article.html