Q: We think that we would like to start a home business. Do you have any guidelines that would be useful in putting our plans together?
A: You can’t go wrong going to www.sba.gov and searching for “starting and managing.”
Starting a home-based business has many rewards, as well as challenges. The SBA 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.
Also, you don’t want to miss the January SCORE Hagerstown roundtable. You are cordially invited to attend SCORE’s upcoming free roundtable on starting and managing a home-based business. Beginning at noon Thursday, Jan. 24, at Always Ron’s restaurant on Burhans Boulevard in Hagerstown, the agenda will include a panel of experienced home-based business presenters, with ample time for questions and answers. Lunch will be available for purchase. Call 301-766-2043 to reserve a space.
Before you begin
• Spend some time on the SBA website mentioned above. You can make use of a small business start-up assessment tool that 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.
• 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 business arrangements will be required? What will be the cost of those changes? How will your family react? What will the neighbors think?
• Is working from home right for you? In a section on the SBA website called “Home-based business ... Is it for me?” you will learn about several factors you should consider when starting a home-based business.
• Have you thought about the characteristics and challenges that are most common in launching a home-based business? View the pros and cons in the site’s section titled “Starting a Business in Your Home, Weighing the Pros and Cons” before you begin your home-based business.
Additional topics on the SBA website include financing, marketing and filing taxes for home-based businesses.
Be encouraged! More than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.
SCORE Hagerstown can provide free mentors to help you with your business start-up, as well as mentoring your established business. Call 301-766-2045 for additional information and for mentor and event registration.
Robert A. “Bob” Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business mentor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at email@example.com or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.