So you’ve wanted to work from home for ages now, and you’ve taken the plunge. Maybe you have even given up your old job to take your home bueinsee to the next step and focus on your business 100%.
First of all good for you! I won’t patronise you by giving you a high five pep talk about doing the right thing, because you have done the right thing and you know you have. So let me see if I can hep you think ahead a little, about how to grow a home business. You have to start thinking about your business in terms of success and where you WILL be.
So, I’m going to help you think about how to get there, with my top 10 tips, well 11, but that doesn’t sound so good.
Tip 1: Make a plan
Think about your 3 year growth, where do you want to be, what will you have achieved, how much money will you be bringing in? Reach for the stars, but be realistic. Then separate out this 3 year plan into smaller milestones and goals within each of these smaller time frames.
Believe me, if you just start your business and hope for the best and go on everyday doing the best you can, then you have no way of measuring your success, and nothing particular to strive for. Once you reach real milestones and goals, aside from a massive sense of achievement you know you are on track for your next 3 years, and that ultimate goal.
Tip 2: Focus on one thing
Many people try to do too many things at once.
It’s that shiny object syndrome, where you see something and try that, then something else catches your eye and you delve into that. Then you shift your focus from the previous task, and nothing really get done properly or is given enough time to be a success.
I have been guilty of doing that myself, flipping from one thing to the other, to try and make sure you cover everything off. Make sure that your niche, or product area is fully researched before you start. Make sure you are 100% happy with your choice, so that if you see that shiny object you know your ‘object’ is still really worth pursuing. Make sure it’s marketable, purchasable, and not SO niche that no one will want it, like cat headbands, although I did find some!
Then stick with it. Make a note of other interesting propositions, but don’t get distracted, you can always come back to them. It will take work to get one thing to be successful, so let’s grow that first and see where you end up, against your plan of course.
Tip 3: Work on your online marketing
Take that one product or service that you are focussing on to the next level, market it, sell it, promote it. Get it out there, on Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Pinterest, Linked in.. Keep expanding your online spread. Don’t expect to directly generate a huge amount of leads this way initially, but these days its essential to have a strong online presence.
As you grow your followers and friends, your brand awarenesses will get out there, and you will drive more interested customers to your site.
Talk to your customers online, update them with any product updates, news from your business, any lighthearted information to keep them interested and get them learning a bit about you.. It takes work but it’s worth it.
Tip 4: Focus on actually selling online, if you aren’t already
Even if your product is an offline product, in this day and age you MUST have a website.
I believe there isn’t’ anything that can’t be sold on the internet, so use it. But what else can you get from your website? You can use it to collect email addresses from your customers and talk to them regularly with your upsells and new products as well. If your product is an online product, then I don’t need to persuade you on this one, you know the benefits.
Setting up websites is no longer a complicated, highly technical speciality anymore. Anyone can do it and you MUST have one if you want to have a credible business. Even E-commerce websites are easy to set up these with programs such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal around. You can set up a wordpress website in 30 seconds for free here. I always recommend WordPress as it really is the simplest to use.
Have a look at my article about building a website if you want to know more..
Tip 5: Go out and seek your audience
‘Build it and they will come’. The ‘field of dreams’ film with Kevin Costner has a lot to answer for! That is not the case anymore.
In fact, I don’t think it has ever been the case. Don’t just expect people to find you, whether this is online or anywhere. Go out there and get them. Be really active in your marketing. Although with a strong website and Search Engine optimisation and using your keywords the right way, you CAN get people to come to you.
Put some time aside everyday to focus just on your marketing.
Tip 6: Expand your product line
I’m not talking about creating more products for the sake of it, when you find a product that’s really working, think how you can extend this one, to offer something complementary to that product, an extension of that product.
This will give your customer base the chance to buy something additional from you, but something that is relevant to the product you are already selling. You have them, encourage them they need to buy more from you
Tip 7: Use existing customers
Focus on your existing customers. It’s a lot cheaper than trying to find new ones. A good way to do this is through discounts when your customers buy in volume. If this is relevant to your product.
Reward them for their loyalty If they buy say 5 products from you they get a discount. This obviously depends on your product and if it is something that would be purchased over and over. If you are selling a service for example, you could contact your database who have already purchased offering them a service addition for a discount rate within a certain time period.
Tip 8: Outsource
Rather than employing anyone additional to help with workflow, think about outsourcing your work. For example you can outsource someone to write content for your website, and there are places you can go to do that, such as Fiverr.com. You can outsource to people to create video for you, to do your direct mailings, envelope filling, design posters. anything. I have written a whole article on my favourite freelance companies with recommendations. Take a look
This provides fresh thought from a larger pool of people, without having to think about employee based requirements such as payroll, national insurance, income tax, benefits, pensions, employer liability insurance and all the other costs of hiring full-time staffers. Not to mention the HR concerns.
As I’m sure most people who have worked in a business know, when you manage people your time can be swallowed up with HR issues, which is frustrating and gets in the way of productivity. Damn those people and their need for attention.
Tip 9: Collaboration
Find someone in a related but non competitive industry where you can help each other out. Think about other businesses of a similar size to you, maybe bigger, and think about how you can help them and they can help you. Can you offer a discount to customers who come to you from them. Call these businesses and see if they would be interested, you might be surprised. This can be a massive source of business. You can also cross promote on your website, facebook page and all your social media accounts. It gives you somethign to talk about to your customers.
If you have a purely online home business like this one then you can join the community where there are thousands of people to help you build your business and find leads and get ideas.
Once you have found a recipe that works expand your thinking to other businesses where you have a connection.
Tip 10: Expand your target market
Make sure you know your current target market really well, and that you have that honed down. Aside from their profiles, such as age and demographics, do you know what they like to do in their spare time, family dynamics, how they use social media? Find out as much as you can.
And then, expand on this. For example if you currrenly sell to mums, would your product work selling to prospective mums? If you sell to middle aged men, could you modify your offering to target me in their 20s?
Could you sell your product to the wholesale as well as directly to customers. What do you think? Are the any wholesalers out there that are relevant? Perhaps look them up online? You could sell in much larger volumes this way even though your unit price would have to be lower. But your product would be getting out there!
Tip 11: Remember the passion
Even if you have been working for yourself for a little while, it always helps to remind yourself why you did this. Write it down, pin it to the wall, whatever if takes. Why did you set up your business? Passion is contagious and will come across when you talk to your customers and market your product /s
I would love to hear any thoughts you have about growing your business. Is there anything you have done that has really worked?