What do Apple Computer, Hershey's, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home-based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner's home.
Starting a home-based business has many rewards as well as challenges. This guide provides resources that will help you learn more about working out of your house, starting a home-based business and managing your business within the law.
Before You Begin
- Are you ready to start a business? In less than five minutes, the Small Business Start Up Assessment Tool will help you understand your readiness for starting a small business. Your responses will be scored automatically and an assessment profile will be provided after you click the Submit button. This is an automated self-assessment tool. SBA is not collecting information, tabulating or utilizing individual visitors’ results.
- Can you live and work in the same area? Find the answer by asking yourself the following questions: Where in the home will the business be located? What adjustments to living arrangements will be required? What will be the cost of changes? How will your family react? What will the neighbors think?
- Home-Based Business....Is it For Me? Is working from home right for you? Learn about several factors you should consider when starting a home-based business.
- Starting a Business in Your Home: Weighing the Pros and Cons. Have you thought about the characteristics and challenges that are most commonly involved in launching home-based businesses? View the pros and cons before you begin a home-based business.
Start a Home-Based Business
If you have decided you are ready to start a home-based business, then you might already have an idea and/or the products you want to market. If not, think about your background, what you are good at, and what experience you have. This exploration can get you on your way to coming up with a sound idea. For additional guidance on how to start your business, use the resources listed below.
Check out the first steps for starting any small business
Obtain a checklist of things to do at How to Set Up a Home-Based Business
Get planning ideas by reading an article that provides a comprehensive approach to developing a business plan for a home-based business
Learn how your local government's zoning ordinances may affect your business. Not knowing the potential legal and community problems associated with having a business at home, and the rules, can have devastating consequences.
Buying a Work-at-Home Franchise
Home based franchises are becoming more common, but buyer beware! Some "work at home" franchise opportunities are schemes to get your money.
Visit the Consumer Guide to Buying a Franchise for more information about evaluating and buying into franchises and related work-at-home business opportunities.
Financing a Home-Based Business
Federal agencies do not provide grants for starting a home-based business. However, there are a number of low-interest loan programs that help individuals obtain startup financing. Visit the Loans and Grants Search Tool to get a full list of grant, loan and venture capital programs for which you might qualify.
Marketing a Home-Based Business
There are several ways to market your business and get in touch with your customers. Customers are a key component to businesses success. Learn how to successfully market your home-based business: Home-Based Business - Market Your Product.
Filing Taxes for a Home-Based Business
Doing your personal taxes can be a pain, but now you have to do the taxes for your home-based business as well. Use the resources below to learn how to correctly file your small business taxes and get the proper deductions.
- Provides access to the official IRS gateway for tax information for small business owners.
- Explains how to deduct business expenses on your income taxes.
- Covers how to report your earnings since you are self-employed.