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The Top 5 Setting-Up Mistakes.
by: Eric White
When you're starting a home business, it's all too easy to make mistakes -- after all, you've never done this before. Fortunately for you, though, you can learn from others' errors, by making sure you don't do any of these things.

Thinking Skills You Don't Have Aren't Important.

So you have no idea how to keep records and accounts, or you don't know how to maintain a mailing list. You need to learn these things! Too many home business owners just do the things that they know how to do, and assume that they can probably get by without everything else.

You need to realise that when you're running a home business, you're going to need to do as much as you can for yourself, especially when you're starting out. This means that you can't get by if your business skills are lacking. I always say that everyon'e who is thinking of starting a business should take an inexpensive and quick local business course, and I stand by it -- even if you think you'll be fine, it can't hurt, can it?

Not Managing Your Time.

When you're used to working nine to five, an easy trap to fall into is not managing your time effectively. Your home is full of distractions, and there won't be anyone there to tell you to get on with it. If you're prone to daydreaming or procrastinating then this can be disastrous -- whole days can go by with only tiny amounts of work getting done.

You need to be sure that you have a schedule, and you stick to it. Draw a clear line between work and non-work time, and don't cross the line in either direction. Apart from that, the word to remember is 'prioritise': appreciate that you won't always be able to do everything, but make sure you get at least the important things done.

Making Clients Think You're a Joke.

There are many home businesses where clients might need to visit your home -- but make sure it's fit for visiting! You can't lead them into a messy office, or be holding your dog back from barking at them when you first meet. Remember that professionalism is important, and it's too easy to end up looking silly if you don't plan how you're going to make a good impression when you invite people to your home.

If you can't afford a 'business annex' to your house, then consider hiring someone to look after your dog or children for a few hours while you have a business meeting there. It might also be worth paying a cleaner to give the place a quick once-over, if you haven't had time to clean up for a while.

Not Specialising.

Too many home businesses, when asked who their target market is, say 'well everyon'e, silly'. Your target market is never everyon'e -- if it is, you will fail. You can't just choose an industry and advertise your new-found profession to everyon'e, in the hope that someone will work out that the fact you're an electrician means maybe they should ask you about re-wiring their house.

The key to success is this: think about what you can do, and then market that to people who will want it. Advertise in places where these people are. If your business has no target market, then you have no business, period.

Making Start-Up Costs Too High.

Finally, too many people overestimate how much money it's going to take to start a home business. Do you really all brand-new equipment? If you're spending thousands of dollars before you've made any sales at all, you're setting yourself up for a disappointment.

Start your business on a shoestring, work hard, and expand gradually -- otherwise you're setting yourself up for a big fall. However much you might think you ought to do things 'properly', you need to make sure that you're minimising costs and maximising profit every step of the way, otherwise you're failing yourself as a home business owner. It's when you start to get some bigger clients and better cashflow that you can start paying a little extra to make your business life more comfortable.

About the author:
Eric White - has developed a number of successful
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