The development challenge

At some stage, every home-based business needs to confront the challange of getting bigger. Here’s a few tips on meeting that challenge…

The development challenge

Jane Shelton

 In the early stages of the growing business, the home business operator has the advantage of flexibility, adaptiveness and responsibility for making all the key decisions. This brings an understanding of customer expectations, closeness to the production process and heavy demands on your time.

In my own case, I found that it was vital to challenge myself to do the house calls, return messages on the machine and continue an active search for new business opportunities and low demands for finance and credit support.


Sound management and marketing practice is required to maintain the balance between internal pressures created by the transition from home-based business to a larger family business. The external pressures produced by a growing customer base and distribution system can at times be overwhelming but having a good opportunity capture system will assist business growth (more on growing and harvesting good ideas next week).


The best plan for the future of your business will be based on a close examination of the marketing mix that is working for you. Nothing beats the good ol’ four Ps – product, price, place and promotion; although some marketing gurus add people to the mix.


Identifying the needs, wants and expectations of the market has led you to deliver a range of viable products and services that are the foundations of your emerging family business.


Think about each product or service that is contributing to growth for your business and try to identify the key selling and marketing actions that have lead to them being the foundations of your cash flow and financial success.


Try this development exercise:


  1. Write down the top five products and services that deliver more than half of your revenue or represent the major success factors for your business.
  2. For each of these items make a list of the key success factors (see last week’s blog on what makes a key success factor) that have made this a profitable contributor to the growth of your business.
  3. Stretch your current goals even further to deliver better value to your customers through upgrading product and service delivery and write out how you can improve your offer to the market. Try to establish the degrees of freedom you have to continue to manage and grow the business with each of these products and services.
  4. Think about which ones are core to your own preferences and experiences (and you still enjoy doing) and which ones have grown in response to the demands of the market and could external advertising, marketing and distribution channels be delivered by professional managers and skilled staff.

As the business begins to give you a reasonable return on your investment of time and effort and family members are brought into the business, it is essential to confront the management and marketing realities associated with delegation of duties.


Think of this as sharing the load or a down payment on succession planning, including decisions about alternative investment strategies, risk management and protection against fraud and misallocation of resources for future growth and development.



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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