NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Home and Business

Home and Business


          For more and more people, home is not only where the family is — it is where the business is. During the last 20 years, large numbers of people have chosen to market their skills and talents from home. Recent studies estimate that as many as 20 percent of new small business enterprises are operated out of the home, and this trend is growing.

          Many home-based businesses are started on a part-time basis and then expand into full-time businesses as the market for the business develops and grows. The majority of home-based businesses are started by women and typically employ other family members.

          Operating a home business can give you a sense of independence and personal satisfaction. However, to be successful, you will need to make a total commitment to the business and its needs. Being your own boss does not give you total independence. Meeting the various business needs (e.g., customers, suppliers, employees, etc.) will limit your independence. Operating a home-based business usually requires a greater commitment of time, energy and money than most jobs.       

          There are many factors to consider before starting a business in your home. Do you have the personality and business skills to run a business? Does it make sense to operate the business out of your home? How will this business affect the family environment? Is there sufficient demand for your product or service? What price should be charged for your product or service? These and other important questions can be answered by writing a sound business plan. A business plan is a basic description of the goals and objectives of your business and how you plan to achieve them. Developing a business plan will help you answer important questions about your business idea before you actually start your business.

Advantages:

          Can start as a part-time business.

  • More flexible lifestyle and more integrated with the family.
  • Lower start-up and operating costs.
  • Cost-savings on child/adult care.
  • No commuting.
  • Flexible work hours.
  • Satisfaction of being own boss.
  • Increased tax benefits and write-offs.
  • Outlet for creative/unique talents.
  • Employment of family members by the business.

Disadvantages:

  • Space may be cramped, limiting growth potential and family use.
  • Personal and family lifestyle patterns may be disturbed.
  • Lack of fringe benefits.
  • Lack of informal social contacts or opportunities to network.
  • Stress due to inability to balance family and business needs.
  • Family members and friends may demand more of you when you’re home all day.
  • Business activities may cause problems with neighbors.
  • Discipline is required to establish steady, homework patterns.
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