Jane Shelton

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Home-based business trends for 2008

Jane Shelton

Every day I open the business pages to find yet another worrying commentary on the collapse of the US economy.

But I really believe that it’s going to be a great year for home-based business because we are local, directly in touch with the needs of our customers and sufficiently cost conscious to be in a position to adapt to the changing market conditions.

Here are nine trends for 2008 that may point the way this year:

  1. New fresh ideas and industry growth will continue to draw people to home business opportunities. Eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable projects will become even hotter for home-based business. Other business extensions will occur in tourism and community services in the areas of elderly care, home improvements and services for other people in their homes. Watch out for home-based-business to home-based-business services growth as larger corporates just don’t get it and home-based businesses step into the vacuum created by the corporates’ lack of action and respect for this growing market segment.
  1. Home-based business is stepping out of the shadow of small business to become a bigger priority for big business, policy developers and marketers. The days of being treated like a poor cousin are fading away. Savvy marketers realise that home business people are not all entrepreneurs by necessity, but are choosing their home-based lifestyle.
  1. Home-based business operators will continue to live and die according to their ability to manage cashflow, generate new business and sales. Many will feel the thrill, stress and sheer joy of getting it all working successfully, although time management will continue to be a major stumbling block for many home business operators.
  1. The magic of the internet and the world of 24/7 will continue to be understood by the business savvy in-touch home-based business operator. Knowing how to build the best online profile, web-based shopping portal, lock in intellectual property value through domain names, business names and trademarks, and have your own eBay shop, have all come up in the top 20 on Google though associated words and traffic building. Thsi will also mean having secure online systems and encryption to beat fraud attempts.
  1. The independence and financial security that comes from setting up good management structures and systems will draw more people into home-based business operations. The numbers of home-based business operators will continue to grow as people step off the treadmill, commute to work and shrug off the big end of town corporate structures.
  1. The only business of business is creating customers, and home-based business operators will get better at finding niche markets and customers that are totally fed up and dissatisfied with the lack of human interaction and care for their business. Home-based business operators can step into the void and fulfil customer relationships with a personal touch. Watch for a focus on customer relationships that generate increased sales and decent customer relationships management systems with complaints handling.
  1. Home-based operators will develop better strategies to beat loneliness and to get through the tough, lean times. Home-based business operators are gaining confidence in their own abilities to network, and build relationships with others in the field of home-based business. Many will find an increased self-esteem, happiness with their lives and belief in themselves, their business abilities and acumen.
  1. Work-life balance is increasing in awareness as a major health and wealth issue for all workers, and home-based business operators will continue to take a leadership role in achieving home-work-life balance. Compared to many 9-to-5ers, home-based business operators will be able to look after kids, older relatives and their own health through flexible working conditions and prioritising their business and lives. This doesn’t mean that there’s less pressure for the home-based business operator, because many do feel the pinch of operating in isolation, but make choices that help with the stressful business situations.
  1. Home-based business owners will begin to provide training and development opportunities for entrepreneurial apprentices learning the ropes as spin-off enterprises rather than go through the Centrelink queues, work for the dole and other forms of the revolving door.

Think about business plans for 2008 as an opportunity to reach out for new ways and means of expanding rather than giving in to the doom and gloom of the moment, and integrate elements of these trends into your strategies and direction setting. Enjoy the freedom to make the most of your home and business life.


Dr Jane Shelton not only runs a business from home but is doing business research into people working from home. She is managing director of Marshall Place Associates, Melbourne’s independent think tank, and CEO (honourary) for ‘Life. Be in it.’ International. Shelton has a Doctorate in Business Administration at the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) at Swinburne University of Technology after a Master of Arts in Public Policy at Melbourne University and a Bachelor of Business in banking and finance at Monash University.

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