Friday, February 8, 2008/
If you don’t want your home business to take over your life, you need to remember the factors that let you enjoy the journey in the first place.
This week I met with a home business owner who has grown her operations from her own home to having offices in two states. She has moved in and out of beautiful houses and is still expanding, but she always moves – along with the family cat – as a key part of the team. Should she?
After the initial start-up phase of your home based business, you will have built up a lot of experience of what works, what doesn’t, and what really matters to your home business. Good advice, business planning and a strong network of friends and small business associates will have contributed to the emergence of your home business.
Now is the time to look at the key success factors (KSFs). The KSFs have taken you from doing some work at home and building your home-based business. This is the point where you should extend or exit from home before business life takes over the rest of your life.
Family businesses that grow faster than the average usually have a number of key success factors, including a combination of:
- Passion for business.
- Well worked business and marketing plans.
- Customer service and ability to turn ideas into action.
- Sound management and leadership that can plan for good and bad times.
Get together with two or three key family members and friends to make a list of the elements that have helped and hindered your business performance. Think back to the early days of your business when you were looking for opportunities, seeking new customers, getting the right materials and resources, joining business networks and taking in family members and new workers to grow the business. What were the keys to success in these efforts?
The six essential factors to document are:
- Finding a product or service that customers wanted to buy that captures a market niche or business opportunity beating competitors to deliver superior value to your customers.
- Setting up the business at home with the right equipment, structure and systems. Getting the management of the business up and running and ironing out kinks in workflow through your home business organisation.
- A willingness to hunt for new ways of getting to the market, finding new ideas and developing these to commercialisation and return on investment for your efforts.
- Constant search for increased quality and decreased costs to either make more money or save money. Squeezing out the cost of doing business to streamline business activities and improve the experience for customers in being part of your long-term business growth.
- Building strong management and company leadership to strengthen ability of the business to weather downturns and cyclical fluctuations impacting from the external environment.
- Reviewing the many ways you overcame barriers to getting to where you are today to build an even better, brighter future for your business.
Every time that your business moves along to a new stage of development it is important to review the key success factors that have taken you on the journey to freedom and enjoyment. Then you’re on your way through each of these key success factors to see what may need to change and what you must keep.
Producing a business development plan will help you to set out the way each of these elements have been done, how they could be improved on the basis of your experience, and how these skills can be transferred to new staff or new owners of the business.
Never forget the reasons that you started out in the first place, and keep having fun.
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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