Planning Your Sell-from-Home Business

“Don’t find customers for your products, Find products for your customers” Seth Godin, a famous blogger

The process of selling products face-to-face away from a retail store location, a market or, currently, from the coziness of your home, is called direct sales. When you decide to start selling something for the first time, more often than not, you do direct sales, and your first buyers are your friends, family, and co-workers. Later, you will develop your customer base by getting referrals and marketing your business.

At this moment, when you are only beginning your sell-from-home journey, you must be sitting in front of your computer screen for hours, surfing through the Internet in search of information how to set everything up.

In a perfect world, every business process begins with writing a detailed, formal business plan.

In the real world, most of us are tempted to jump right in and start building business right away, because — well, it is quite clear why. Because we need to start making money. Now.

Still, some planning has to be done if you want to succeed. Here are a few ideas how to simplify the process of planning and how to turn the boring process into fun.

(1) Think over your business opportunities. Write down answers to these questions:

  • Why do my future customers need the product that I am going to sell? (In other words, what creates the demand for your product?) Eg.: In summer, people tend to buy more water, ice-cream, umbrellas, sun glasses, hats etc. because it is hot. In the coming summer, many people may have to work from their homes, so they will be needing things like fans, air conditioners, water filters, home ice-cream machines, etc. The reason of growing demand for these products is the fact that a big [part of population will have to adapt to living and working from homes.
  • What can you offer to your customers as a solution of their problem? (What can you offer your customers to satisfy their demand?

(2) Think about your target market. Who are your potential buyers? What do these people have in common? Write down your thoughts about it. Eg.: Women ____ (ages –, interests — , preferences — etc.); Men ____ (ages –, interests — , preferences — etc.)

(3) Who are your competitors? Who is also going to sell the same products to the people in your sector of interest? Eg. Retail stores? Online stores? Other home business owners? Your next-door neighbor?

(4) Funding needed. Again, it makes sense to write this down and have a good look at your figures. Eg. $3,5k to purchase a webpage with a shopping basket, set up payment options to receive payments, to buy some supplies and do a bit of marketing

(5) Sales and marketing. How will you let people know that you are starting sales of your product or service? If your sales channel is an online store, you’ll need to consider doing specific marketing activities — they are different from the marketing that real store owners do. Write down a few things like these, to keep them at hand for the future: Eg. Set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, learn about GoogleAds, guest blogging, newsletters, Twitter campaigns etc.

(6) Financial Projections. This is the part of planning that everyone likes doing. Try putting this on paper:

  • Plan your sales for the nearest month; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years
  • Plan your expenses for the nearest month; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years
  • Plan your profit for the nearest month; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years

(7) Think about your milestones. Do not forget to write down the dates — then your dream will start looking like a plan — and see how realistic they are. Eg.: June, 1: set up payment module on my webpage; June, 15: prepare first 100 items of the product for sale; June 16: start marketing the product via social networks and among friends, colleagues, etc.; July 1: sell the first 20 items

(8) Your team and key roles. Are you planning to do everything by yourself? Will it become a family business some day? Who is going to help you and how much? What will everyone be responsible for in your business?

Young entrepreneur, teenager business owner work at home, alpha generation life style. checking parcel for deliver

(9) Partnerships and resources. Who can you attract to assisting you in developing your business? Will you need someone to deliver your goods to customers? Are you thinking about using a photographer to take beautiful pictures of your product items for your website? Will you need a packing service or any wrapping materials to buy for your sales process? Write down every item that you can think of and see which of these services/items you can get for free and what will require expenses. Decide who you can partner with in these areas and start negotiating with those people beforehand.

Well, your business plan is not something stable and done once and for all. You will need to work on this document all the time. Set a rule for yourself to look through your plan every morning, especially now, when you are setting everything up and learning a lot. The first week it may be a bit stressful, but as soon as you get into a habit of working with your biz plan daily, you will see that it helps you. It helps you to remain on track. It shows you the direction to go. Finally, it makes you feel more confident, which is so important for your future success.

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