It's quite a staggering fact that in the last few years home-based businesses have grown to represent 52% of all small businesses and 10 percent of the total receipts of the economy (approximately $314 billion), according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). At the root of this trending is the fact that of all the forms of business ownership, starting a home-based business is low cost, low risk and for the long-haul (less than five percent actually ever move out of the home). This isn't to say that it's easy. You'll need a significant amount of personal, financial, and family commitment. You'll also need to remove any rose-tinted spectacles and confront the realities of business ownership - from tax considerations to the laws and regulations that govern exactly what business you can do from within your home, and so on.
The good news is that the amount of resources available to help home-based business owners get started and scale their operations and profits is growing at almost the same pace as the at-home businesses themselves.
The U.S. government is at the forefront of much of this growth and below are some of the best resources, offered by the government, that help home-based business owners learn more about working out of their homes and managing their business within the law.
Home-Based Business Guide from Business.gov
The Business.gov Web site (managed by the government's Business Gateway initiative) features a whole host of resources and tools to advise and guide small business owners through the process of starting and operating their business. Its Home-Based Business Guide includes tips on the following:
Before You Begin- Assess whether you are ready to operate your business out of your home.
Starting a Home-Based Business - Includes a legal (think permits, zoning, and otherstate regulatory requirements) and operational checklist to help you getstarted, as well as guidance on business planning.
Financing a Home-Based Business - The costs of startinga home-based business are low, but if your venture requires some form of financing, programs such as the SBA Microloan Program can help. Find the right loan for your business using this loans and grants search tool
Tax information - Home-based businesses can benefit from certain tax deductions, but you'll also need to understand how being self-employed changes your tax reporting obligations.
And while you are on the site, check out this very useful checklist - 10 Steps to Starting a Business. Business.gov also has its own social media arm - the Business.gov Community ; if you can't find the answer to your home-based business question on the main site, there's a good chance that someone on here (peers and industry experts) can help you. Free Small Business Online Training & Podcasts (from the Small Business Administration)
These self-paced 30 minute SBA online courses are really great value and cover all aspects of doing business, including operating a home-based business, starting and marketing your business, finance and accounting (such as How to Prepare a Loan Package), and so on.
The SBA also produces podcasts that are available for download on subjects that range from "Getting your Small Business Ready for Tax Season" to "Marketing to the Federal Government".
Peer and Expert Advice in Your Community
Small businesses and home-based business are also very well served in terms of business advice in the community. From the great resources offered by support groups and peer networks, to local government resources such as your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and local SBA offices - there are oftentimes a host of resources in your own community,if you know where to look. Find assistance, free training and advice in your community here.
Message Edited by CaronBeesley on 09-17-2009 08:33 AM