You think you have a great idea for a home based business and that it will attract customers. You start telling your friends and family members that you are in the process of starting your own business. Obviously you have heard about the home based business tax benefits so that makes it an icing on the cake. Along with several sleepless nights just to come up with a business name, you decide that you want your business to be a Corporation, a serious gig. Your energy is picking up and you consider yourself as a go-getter. After conducting your business research you file the business name, obtain licenses, and share the news with your family and friends that you have started a business. You get the “Wow”’s.
Your website is up. You start advertising on the internet and sign up with vendors who guarantee that your business will be exposed to thousands of internet users. You start a Facebook and Twitter page, and anxiously wait for the outcome. You get some inquiries and that gets you even more energized and you start predicting success.
A few months down the road you see that you have had several inquiries but inconsistent sales. You tell yourself, “I know I can do it. I just need more time and money. May be I should apply for a business credit card or a loan.” You are eager to keep moving forward to make things happen. Sometimes you are a little worried and you think, “what if one of my competitors with an evil mind finds out about my niche business and steal some of my ideas, and go in a maze war against me. Nah, not good, things are already getting harder than initially imagined.”
You feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You continue to look for better ways to attract customers, join business networking organizations, and continue to risk spending more money to make things happen with the hopes that you will manage to write off your expenses.
By now about 4 to 6 months in the business you have spent anywhere from several hundreds to a few thousands of dollars, plus there are recurring monthly business expenses which may include service contracts or committed expenses. Gradually you realize that things are not as easy as you thought it would be and you start going through off and on modes of discouragement. You want return on your investment but now that you have tried several marketing options, you are just not sure what else you can do within your budget to make the sales. Now you are starting to feel like you are chasing success in the maze.
Many home based business owners trap themselves in a similar maze with the assumption that they will see success at the destination. They run out of energy then gradually give up. They realize that being an entrepreneur is not as easy as they thought it would be. Time is the best teacher but it hurts when the losses are high.
The fact is that the chances of retaining a long term profitable business are very minimal without a formal business plan. It’s true that there are some owners that are doing well without a business plan but by writing a business plan they will be able to identify the growth and income potential that they would not know otherwise.
A business plan is the roadmap that most successful entrepreneurs prepare to guide themselves to a proper path of success and sustainability regardless of whether it’s a home based or commercial business. The only way to avoid getting trapped in the maze is by creating a roadmap, a business plan.