Top 10 Things You Need To Know When Starting A Business..

Comments (20)


Top 10 Things You Need To Know When Starting A Business..

By: Rachael Bermingham

In my career, I have had a total of 3 businesses myself and a few others where I am in partnerships. Each time you start a business the basics are pretty well the same. Here are 10 things I believe are really important for anyone starting up a business....

1.) Don't waste your dollars on things you don't need. This alone is one of the biggest reasons people go under. You simply won't need expensive office equipment, computers, phone systems etc when starting out. You'll be surprised at how well a computer of 2 years will perform in caparison to one that's brand new for triple the price! Be real with your $$$$. The basic here is that if it's not going to make money for you, build or protect your business then simply AND quickly look/walk away so you're not tempted to buy it - extravagance has no place when your starting a business on a budget. If you've got hundreds of thousands to splurge though, forget all of the above and go to point 2!

2.) Develop a plan of where you wish for you AND your business to be this time next year. You will need to think about such things as a basic marketing plan to so you know what marketing you need to do to achieve that outcome. Starting and building a business is like building a house without the framework it's bound to crumble. Think of your business plan as your roadmap - without it you don't know where you're headed or how to get there. So take a couple of hours and give it some consideration, if you're serious about developing a successful business then I'm sure you can get serious enough to schedule some time in to do it.

3.) Ask for and get advise - this is huge! This one factor if not done or acted upon can send you under in a quick way! Ask professionals for help and guidance, they will steer you clear of known traps that you just won't know about starting out (I've learnt this one the hard way!). You don't need to be a hero and do everything, and think of everything, yourself. Hate to tell you this but, when you start out you DON'T know everything ok - so don't embarrass yourself by thinking you do, as the only one you'll fool will be yourself(indeed years down the track I'm still learning something everyday)

4.) Make sure your business look is congruent. Have a business name that explains what you do so you're customers are buying or dealing from you rather than trying to figure out what you do. BEFORE you register the name, check that you can also get the website domain for it too. It's a real inconvenience and creates dramas for your customer AND you having to explain it to everyone! Colours, style etc need to be the same throughout your website, stationary, business cards etc

5.) Hire right - if you are in the retail sector than hire a people person with personality plus over someone with the skills - you can teach practical skills such as taking money etc - but you can't teach people skills. If you need someone for accounts or admin where they aren't dealing with your customers then obviously the skills are more important.

6.) Base your business on how you can add value to your customers. You'd be surprised how your business it will grow by suiting the needs of your 'ideal' client AND looking after them each and every time.

7.) Know, understand and keep in contact with clients you WANT to deal with - it will not only make business more pleasurable for you and the clients will love dealing with you as you're always happy etc too - happy clients, more business, more referrals, less money spent on advertising and marketing!

8.) Get organised - for goodness sake, NO ONE enjoys being stuffed around by someone always giving excuses for their mess, un-organisation, forgetting to follow through, not implementing, lack of communication, being late etc etc etc - get yourself some solid an effective systems to back you up in business so you can do it right EVERY time.

9.) Work WITHIN your budget - never above it. It is disastrous to think "Oh we'll get more money in, it'll be right, or oh such as such is expected to pay this month" etc - it won't be - be conservative in your spend otherwise you will go under before you can blink! Don't sign leases or contracts on anything based on a projected income - you're playing with fire and you'll be busy enough without the stress and pressure of this to add to your lot.

10.) Outsource what you're not good at or don't like. I'll admit it I do not enjoy any form of admin - yet I'm a perfectionist and need everything to be systemised so it frees me up to be creative. So instead of learning how to do accounts in MYOB and instead of procrastinating for days on filing etc (after I gave both a go time and again) it was easier, quicker and more productive for me and my business to outsource it to someone who WAS passionate about doing it. Not only do they do it in a fraction of the time - but they do it well because they love doing it!

Of course I could easily keep going on - there's always something you learn in business - however I'm sure these 10 will give you a great place to start...

And one more thing ENJOY what you're doing - if you're not, you're definitely in the wrong game and now is a good time to change careers!

Abundant Success To You!

Rachael Bermingham


Entrepreneurial Woman


http://www.marketingtosuccess.com


http://www.globalsuccesscommunity.com

About The Author

This article was written by Rachael Bermingham, Australian business woman, entrepreneur and International business and marketing strategist and speaker. This article may be printed or used in its entirety with full author contacts and details. Please forward an email to us if you wish to use it for our records info@marketingtosuccess.com.

Comments

Diamond King 20.07.2011. 12:56

who are top 10 closed diamond jewelery company closed during crisis? as we know that there are some jewelry companies closed because of the bad economy. which are the top 10? are they re-start their business now or , are they looking for transfer shares to other company?

Diamond King

Admin 20.07.2011. 12:56

When a company goes bankrupt, that's usually it. Over. Done. Finished. Never reopen doors again. Once in awhile, a brand survives because the name is worth something. I expect that all the shuttered jewelry companies are finished for good.

I'm not sure how to rate the "top 10" dead things. Death, even corporate death, is a great equalizer. I'd say all dead jewelry companies are about equal.

Admin

no 13.03.2013. 15:52

How to get into investment banking with an engineering degree? I'm currently a junior at a top 5 engineering school studying chemical engineeirng and have a relatively high GPA (3.74). I want to enter the finance industry preferably investment banking. I really started to like investing because now I'm starting to invest my own money in the stock market and I'm learning a lot of new things everyday. I'm already trying to pursue a minor in business from a top 10 business school. I was wondering how I could get into the investment banking industry. Should I try to target a tier two investment bank for this summer as an internship and then eventually try to an offer from top banks for next summer?

no

Admin 13.03.2013. 15:52

You are mixing a hobby with a career.
Look around, just about all chemical engineers trade in the stock market.
You will earn less if you go into banking.

Admin

DD 31.07.2006. 18:16

Should I go out on a limb and start my own business? I'm tired of the same old thing day in and day out. I'd love to live life to the fullest by launching out and starting my own business. I'm a very creative person when it comes to planning and decorating. I'd like to open an all occassion planning/consulting business along with a creative gift shop. Can anyone give me some pointers? For example, what should I do first, etc. I already know that I will have to work extra hard, as I am now a single mother of 3 young children (divorce almost final), but I am determined to make it. I've recently cut back on my hours at work due to wanting time to plan for my own business. I've been reading up on grants but I'm just not sure if I'd be able to get one if I'm not a non-profit organization. Anyone know anything about grants? That would be helpful. I have a business degree with a concentration in marketing and I'm artistic and crafty with lots of ideas. Any suggestions, ideas, answers or words of encouragement are very appreciated.

DD

Admin 31.07.2006. 18:16

Starting a small business takes a lot of courage. But, as they say, courage does not pay the bills. To be successful ? to stay in business ? you need more than courage. You need a combination of hard work, skill, perseverance, and lots of luck.

Some things you need to consider:
- "How can I support my family while I build up by business?"
- "What are my abilities?"
- "Is there a market for the product or service I have chosen?"
- "How long will it take this business to reach the financial goal I have?"

Here are some basic steps to launch a new business successfully:

1. Provide a benefit.
2. Determine the fit with your market.
3. Right timing is everything
4. Be ready to support your business
5. Develop a blueprint for success
6. Market, market, market

To give you ideas on what exactly do you need to start your own business, here are ten things you need to know before launching your own business ?10 Things You Need to Know When Starting Your Own Home Business? http://www.powerhomebiz.com/052006/startingbiz.htm .

I recommend that you read the following books:

- What No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business : Real Life Start-Up Advice from 101 Successful Entrepreneurs
- Starting From Scratch: How To Start A Business When You Don't Have Money
- If You're Clueless About Starting Your Own Business and Want to Know More
- On the Move : How to Succeed and Survive As an Entrepreneur
- How to Make 1000 Mistakes in Business and Still Succeed

As for grants, you are correct. It is hard to find grants to start a business. Unlike the myths that some perpetuate, federal government and even private foundations hardly give grant money for a for-profit business.

Nonetheless, you can go to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) http://www.cfda.gov and Grants.gov http://www.grants.gov - these are two sites created by the federal government to provide transparency and information on grants. Browse through the listings and see if you can find any grant that would support a for-profit venture. There's none if you are starting a for-profit business.

The first step is to determine what business you can start - depending on your family circumstances, resources available, opportunities available and your interests. Dan Ramsey in his book "101 Best Home Businesses" has a chapter on how to find YOUR best home business. He suggests these 10 steps:

1. List 5 things you do best
2. List how others would benefit from what you do best
3. Find out how to give people what they want
4. Learn the value of your services to others
5. Find out who else offers similar services
6. Learn from the successes of others
7. Learn from the failures of others
8. Plan your own success
9. Make low cost mistakes
10. Enjoy what you do and how you do it

He then made suggestions on the best home businesses according to type. Here are a few of them:

Best Businesses Using Craft or Physical Skills
- antique restoration
- auto detail service
- carpet cleaning business
- errand/delivery service
- housecleaning business

Best Service Businesses
- bed and breakfast operator
- caregiver
- catering service
- senior day care center
- tutoring service

Best Professional Businesses
- desktop publisher
- magazine writer
- import/export service
- income tax preparation service
- event planner

Some other home business ideas:

Top 10 Home Businesses with Rapid Break-Even Time http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol33/breakeven.htm
10 Profitable ?Go-Out" Home Businesses http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol31/goout.htm
Low Cost Startup Businesses http://www.entrepreneur.com/lowcostbusinesses/0,6617,,00.html
6 Hottest Businesses on the Web http://www.powerhomebiz.com/052006/web.htm

Admin

moonbunny2724 18.11.2008. 20:08

How can you start a business from your home? I'm pregnant and will be giving birth in a couple of weeks and I'm not working but my husband is. Me and my husband want to start a business working from the comforts of our home. So we can relocate anywhere but having trouble on how can you make money from your home just by using a computer and internet you know. I want to know if anyone knows how you can do that??

moonbunny2724

Admin 18.11.2008. 20:08

Hi Serena,

One of the things that you will need to be aware is that the internet business is a real business which will requires you to put in the time, effort and money to grow the business. If you are looking for a model that will enables you to get rich quickly, I will have to tell you that this model is not for you.

Before I explain to you the simple system which you can use, you must always be aware of the Time vs Money rule. If you are not going to have a lot of money to invest into your business, you will have to invest your time into the business. It will still be possible to start a profitable online business but it will takes more time if you are on budget.

Here is the simple system which will only requires you to invest US$50 monthly to build your own business. You will have to do some steps first before you even start to build your website. Please do follow the system below:

1) Find a profitable market that you want to base your business in

This is important as you will want to decide on the market that you want to base your business in. You will want to be in a market where people are willing to spend money.


2) Find a profitable affiliate product

If you are just starting out and you do not have your own product, you can start to promote other people's product first. You will earn a certain percentage of the sales whenever a customer purchased through your affiliate link.


3) Build your own website which will be a squeeze page.

This is the step where you will be spending the US$50. Below are average cost and the tools that you need.

-> Domain name: This will cost you around US$10 yearly

-> Hosting account: This will cost you around US$10 monthly

-> Autoresponder Account: This will cost you around US$20 monthly

This will enable you to build your own website and you can also start to build your own list of subscribers. Building your own list is very important as it will ensure that you will be able to follow up with your customers if they do not purchase the product when they see it for the first time.


4) Start writing and submitting articles daily

Once you have your website, the next thing that you will have to do is to let people know your website so that you can promote the product to them. You will want to write articles that are related to the market that you have chosen. You will submit the articles to the top article directories which will drive you traffic. This method is call article marketing.

One of the thing that you need to know is that the traffic from article marketing will be gradual in nature. You will have to write and submit articles consistently so that you will get a constant flow of traffic coming to your website. As you are on a budget, you will have to invest your time to get the traffic to your website.


5) Add more email message to your autoresponder to promote 2nd or more product.

You will want to promote the 2nd or more products to your subscribers who have already join your list. This will ensure that you will be able to leverage on your list and earn more from them. This will be the main reason why you put putting in effort to build a list and build a good relationship with them.


This is the simple method which you can use. But you must know that as this is a real business, you will have to be patience and give it some time to grow.

Admin

Ihateusernames 09.05.2011. 20:37

What Do I Need To Start An online Business? I live in Arizona and I know some things depend on the state your in.
I want to know what licence and things do I need to start up a business online.
I would be selling consumer goods like bedding, electronics, and office supplies.
I would also be buying things wholesale.

Ihateusernames

Admin 09.05.2011. 20:37

If you plan to incorporate then you need to register with the federal,state and city government. If you plan to run the business as a sole proprietor then all you need is a business license from your local city government. Some cities do not require you to get a business license until the business makes $3,000 to $4,000 so see what your local government requires for an e-commerce business.

Steps for getting started:
First and foremost write up a business plan.
1. Forming the business either through incorporating or as a sole proprietor. If you plan to incorporate then you need to get with your states Secretary of State to do this.
2. Find your SIC and NAICS code you will need either one or both for your business formation with the government entities.
3. Getting an EIN if required
4. Setting up a Franchise and Excise Tax and Sales and Use Tax account with the Dept of Revenue in the state you are in. You need to determine if you need one or both of these accounts. Just call the Dept of Revenue in your state and they are usually pretty helpful in answering all your questions.
5. Set up a business bank account or bank account with a DBA attached to it if you plan to do the business as a sole proprietor if you incorporate then a business bank account is what you need.
6. Set up a merchant and or paypal account. The merchant account you can set up through your bank and this allows you to take all major credit cards.
7. Build a website and get a domain name and hosting. You can either build your own website or have one built for you, some start out with a blog because it's free and you can make it look like a standard website so take a look at this option and see if it will work for you. Just keep in mind if you use a blog you need relevant content in the body of the blog if it's just full of product links then you will eventually get shut down. As far as building your own you can either buy software or use the online website builders. Using the software allows you to create your site how you want it just make sure the hosting provider you use will support the software, with the online website builders you will be limited to their templates and I believe you have to use their hosting but you can buy your domain name from anywhere and just direct to their server.
Research SEO for your website, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and you can read about this at any article directory. Once in the directory put in a search for what you are wanting to read about and you should get some articles to read up on. If your search comes up empty or not what you are looking for just reword the search until you do. The info is there you just need to use the right phrasing. If you are on a tight budget you may also look into free ways to market your site.
8. Get inventory.
9. Figure out how you plan to ship product. This all comes down to how you plan to handle inventory. Some people have their own and some get involved with companies that have the product and you sell it and they drop ship the product for you. This saves on you having to carry the product yourself and having unsold inventory in your possession. If you plan to do affiliate marketing then you need to sign up to the affiliate programs and get your code specific links to post on your site.
10. Marketing your website. Just because you publish a website doesn't mean it's visible to the search engines and the public at large so you need to submit the site to the 3 top search engines at the least and start marketing the site.

This is a basic order and some of these may overlap each other during the process but I hope this helps out. I've been through the routine and had to figure it all out myself. Just ask a lot of questions with the people you are dealing with to get things in order.

Admin

Luke 29.01.2013. 00:31

How to get noticed and become a NASCAR driver? I am 17 and I have completed one season of stock car racing at my local track, I race a beater fwd car in our roadrunner class. I have 3 wins and a bunch of top 5's (dont know exact number) and pretty much all top 10's because there isnt much more than 10 cars on the track at once. I have a few local sponsors but all are very small sponsors that couldnt really get me into a faster car (sportsman, late model etc). Now I know that I will need more expirience but I feel that I just race so much harder than other drivers and I have been battling with another driver almost every race, and we basically leave the entire pack of other cars behind, like almost lapping everyone within a few laps. He just has a barely faster car than mine. I really want to move on to something like K&N racing series or ARCA or the truck series, but my question is, how can I get noticed doing what I am doing now, to get to where a team will want to let me drive their car? I may possibly be able to buy a car myself, but my family and I are not exactly rich, we are lower middle class but our sponsors and my job help a ton with the racing. Should I maybe travel around and give out a business card with my info on it to potential teams? What can I do here? I am not going to take you seriously if you just say "shoot for different things you wont make it" I want to do this, I want to go fast and win. Its been my dream since I was little, I know I started late, but I feel that I am proving myself in this series, but how can I get noticed? Any HELP or ADVICE is much appreciated, thank you (:

Luke

Admin 29.01.2013. 00:31

Find a real good job then Keep racing and winning. Move up through the ranks and if your lucky you get noticed. There are top ranked drivers with years of experience without rides these days. There is no guarantees or fast track to "The Show", just race, have fun and enjoy what you do. The key to life isn't how far you make it along your chosen path it is being happy with the choices you make. success without happiness is an empty vessel.

Admin

shreeawoods 30.03.2006. 23:29

How would i find out how to start an at home business? I would like to start a homebase business. I have no idea how to start looking for the information. I would like to start with an investment of around 5,000 dollars. Where would I get details or ideas for a plan?

shreeawoods

Admin 30.03.2006. 23:29

The best home business will depend on what you want, how you define to be interesting. A person may consider a pet sitting business to be the most exciting work in the world, while another person would rather watch TV than take care of dogs.

The key is to determine what your interests are, what you want to do, what is suitable for your lifestyle and your overall goals, and what can fit with your resources.

Dan Ramsey in his book "101 Best Home Businesses" has a chapter on how to find YOUR best home business. He suggests these 10 steps:

1. List 5 things you do best
2. List how others would benefit from what you do best
3. Find out how to give people what they want
4. Learn the value of your services to others
5. Find out who else offers similar services
6. Learn from the successes of others
7. Learn from the failures of others
8. Plan your own success
9. Make low cost mistakes
10. Enjoy what you do and how you do it

He then made suggestions on the best home businesses according to type. Here are a few of them:

Best Businesses Using Craft or Physical Skills
- antique restoration
- auto detail service
- carpet cleaning business
- errand/delivery service
- housecleaning business

Best Service Businesses
- bed and breakfast operator
- caregiver
- catering service
- senior day care center
- tutoring service

Best Professional Businesses
- desktop publisher
- magazine writer
- import/export service
- income tax preparation service
- event planner

Some other home business ideas:

Top 10 Home Businesses with Rapid Break-Even Time http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol33/breakeven.htm
10 Profitable ?Go-Out" Home Businesses http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol31/goout.htm
Low Cost Startup Businesses http://www.entrepreneur.com/lowcostbusinesses/0,6617,,00.html

You can also check out the following books:

Turn Your Talents into Profits: 100+ Terrific Ideas for Starting Your Own Home-Based Microbusiness
The Best Home Businesses for the 21st Century
121 Internet Businesses You Can Start from Home
The Best Internet Businesses You Can Start
101 Ways to Make Money at Home

Admin

Marie T 24.02.2010. 20:31

How do I start my own internet business? I am completely new at starting my own business. I want to start selling items off the internet. What is some good information that can help me start my own business? Do I need the go to business course in college or get a license?

Marie T

Admin 24.02.2010. 20:31

You don't NEED to take business classes, but if you want to begin a business, I really recommend taking at least one business class at the local community college. That way, you can know the negatives and positives of business and get some background on the process of owning a business.

To have a legitimate business, you need AT LEAST these 4 things.
1. DBA (doing business as) or FBN (fictitious business name)- so that you don't need to do business under your name. Then you will need to get it printed in the local newspaper for 4 consecutive weeks.
2. EIN (employee id number)- so that you do not need to use your own social security number.
3. Seller's Permit/ Tax ID- so that you can purchase wholesale and your state can collect their tax.
4. Business license
(all in that order).

Get your domain (www.yourname.com). You can get this from godaddy.com for $10 a year.

Getting the actual website will be the hardest part. You have three options.
1. Make it yourself.
2. Use a premade template.
3. Hire a designer.

I highly suggest hiring a designer. This is why:
1. Unless you know html coding, it will be nearly impossible to create your own website.
2. Templates are not very customizable.
3. Templates may end up looking unprofessional.
Those are the reasons I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many other reasons.
Hiring a designer has its positives.
For one, you will be working with a professional! This person will hopefully work with you until the site is up to your standards. A designer will give the site a more professional and unique feel, etc.
Finding a designer is a very difficult process.
If you aren't any good with codes, make sure that the designer offers an admin spot where you can easily update the site with out coding knowledge.
Its always great when the shopping cart is included in the one time fee. Most shopping carts are about $30 a month and increase as you add more products to your site.
It ends up getting ridiculous!! Some designers offer you a one time fee for the use of their shopping cart.
Then, you will need a web host. Some designers will recommend a site for you to use. In any case, you should always check with the designer before choosing a host, because some hosting services do not work well with the shopping cart your designer provides.

You will also need a merchant account to accept payment from customers.
You can use a place such as authorize.net or Paypal (which no longers requires that customers make an account and accepts credit cards).


Of course, you will need to think of what products you will be selling.
Where will you get them?
Who is your target market?
What is your price range?
etc.


Good Luck!!!

Admin

Babytots 27.03.2011. 15:10

How can I start an online business? I wanna start an online business, but how. I wanna sell things girls (like myself) would like, kinda like makeup bags, cell phone cases ect. but how please give me some steps to start.

Babytots

Admin 27.03.2011. 15:10

If you plan to incorporate then you need to register with the federal,state and city government. If you plan to run the business as a sole proprietor then all you need is a business license from your local city government. Some cities do not require you to get a business license until the business makes $3,000 to $4,000 so see what your local government requires for an e-commerce business.

Steps for getting started:
First and foremost write up a business plan.
1. Forming the business either through incorporating or as a sole proprietor. If you plan to incorporate then you need to get with your states Secretary of State to do this.
2. Find your SIC and NAICS code you will need either one or both for your business formation with the government entities.
3. Getting an EIN if required
4. Setting up a Franchise and Excise Tax and Sales and Use Tax account with the Dept of Revenue in the state you are in. You need to determine if you need one or both of these accounts. Just call the Dept of Revenue in your state and they are usually pretty helpful in answering all your questions.
5. Set up a business bank account or bank account with a DBA attached to it if you plan to do the business as a sole proprietor if you incorporate then a business bank account is what you need.
6. Set up a merchant and or paypal account. The merchant account you can set up through your bank and this allows you to take all major credit cards.
7. Build a website and get a domain name and hosting. You can either build your own website or have one built for you, some start out with a blog because it's free and you can make it look like a standard website so take a look at this option and see if it will work for you. Just keep in mind if you use a blog you need relevant content in the body of the blog if it's just full of product links then you will eventually get shut down. As far as building your own you can either buy software or use the online website builders. Using the software allows you to create your site how you want it just make sure the hosting provider you use will support the software, with the online website builders you will be limited to their templates and I believe you have to use their hosting but you can buy your domain name from anywhere and just direct to their server.
Research SEO for your website, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and you can read about this at any article directory. Once in the directory put in a search for what you are wanting to read about and you should get some articles to read up on. If your search comes up empty or not what you are looking for just reword the search until you do. The info is there you just need to use the right phrasing. If you are on a tight budget you may also look into free ways to market your site.
8. Get inventory.
9. Figure out how you plan to ship product. This all comes down to how you plan to handle inventory. Some people have their own and some get involved with companies that have the product and you sell it and they drop ship the product for you. This saves on you having to carry the product yourself and having unsold inventory in your possession. If you plan to do affiliate marketing then you need to sign up to the affiliate programs and get your code specific links to post on your site.
10. Marketing your website. Just because you publish a website doesn't mean it's visible to the search engines and the public at large so you need to submit the site to the 3 top search engines at the least and start marketing the site.

This is a basic order and some of these may overlap each other during the process but I hope this helps out. I've been through the routine and had to figure it all out myself. Just ask a lot of questions with the people you are dealing with to get things in order.

Admin

work 4 self 21.04.2006. 16:18

What type of business can be started with little or no start-up money? I consider "low" start-up cost to be under $5000.00. Also, if there are any businesses that could probably get a grant to get started. I contacted the SBA (Small Business Admin.) and was told that the government is not giving out any grants to start a business. I am fiddling around with vending machinces, snack and soda. Should I just stick with that field? Can vending bring in enough extra $$$ to live comfortably off?

work 4 self

Admin 21.04.2006. 16:18

Entrepreneur Magazine has made a list of Low Cost Startup Businesses that you may want to consider:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/lowcostbusinesses/0,6617,,00.html

Some other home business ideas:

Top 10 Home Businesses with Rapid Break-Even Time http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol33/breakeven.htm
10 Profitable ?Go-Out" Home Businesses http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol31/goout.htm

The best home business that you can be sure is not a scam is one that you start yourself. It will depend on what you want, how you define to be interesting. A person may consider a pet sitting business to be the most exciting work in the world, while another person would rather watch TV than take care of dogs.

The key is to determine what your interests are, what you want to do, what is suitable for your lifestyle and your overall goals, and what can fit with your resources.

Dan Ramsey in his book "101 Best Home Businesses" has a chapter on how to find YOUR best home business. He suggests these 10 steps:

1. List 5 things you do best
2. List how others would benefit from what you do best
3. Find out how to give people what they want
4. Learn the value of your services to others
5. Find out who else offers similar services
6. Learn from the successes of others
7. Learn from the failures of others
8. Plan your own success
9. Make low cost mistakes
10. Enjoy what you do and how you do it

He then made suggestions on the best home businesses according to type. Here are a few of them:

Best Businesses Using Craft or Physical Skills
- antique restoration
- auto detail service
- carpet cleaning business
- errand/delivery service
- housecleaning business

Best Service Businesses
- bed and breakfast operator
- caregiver
- catering service
- senior day care center
- tutoring service

Best Professional Businesses
- desktop publisher
- magazine writer
- import/export service
- income tax preparation service
- event planner

You can also check out the following books:

Turn Your Talents into Profits: 100+ Terrific Ideas for Starting Your Own Home-Based Microbusiness
The Best Home Businesses for the 21st Century
121 Internet Businesses You Can Start from Home
The Best Internet Businesses You Can Start
101 Ways to Make Money at Home

And SBA is right - there are no grants for starting a business. From the SBA website http://www.sba.gov/expanding/grants.html

"The U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. (See http://www.sba.gov/financing for more information) While SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments."

Most of the federal grants are given to specific target groups with specific requirements (e.g. minority business owners involved in transportation related contracts emanating from DOT - Grant#20.905 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Short Term Lending Program

Grants are also often given to non profit groups or organizations involved in training or other similar activities (grant 59.043 Women's Business Ownership Assistance that are given to those who will create women's business center that will train women entrepreneurs

http://www.cfda.gov
http://www.grants.gov
http://gtionline.fdncenter.org
http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol66/grants.htm
http://www.sba.gov/expanding/grants.html

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