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Scentsy
Work at Home Mom 
Monday, July 28 2008


aka: How to Survive Your First Year in Business

Take a look inward and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses before going into business.

Self-Assessment: A Checklist of Personal Pre-Business Questions

What's the best way to create a profitable business? A business you really love that makes the kind of money you really want?

Planning, planning, and more planning.

Before jumping head-long into a new business, you must lay the foundation for long-term success. A good foundation is rooted in a solid plan.

Many new businesses skip what is perhaps the most important part of a solid business plan... assessing individual strengths and weaknesses.

But does a self-assured, go-getter such as yourself really need to do a self-analysis?

Research has shown that many businesses collapse in their first year because of inadequate planning. A thorough self-assessment is the first step in planning a business which lasts well beyond the first year.

 What happens if you skip this first step?

Picture yourself standing on a grassy knoll looking out upon a desert - a sea of sand. You must cross this desert to reach the cool, refreshing waters on the other side.

You begin your journey in the brisk, night air. The warm sand feels good between your toes. But then, you feel a nip at your feet. It is a creepy creature of the night which has mistaken your curly little toe for a frisky, hopping snack.

A thought... should have planned for boots.

It then occurs to you that your little toe will become quite curly tomorrow when the sand heats up from the blazing sun.

Not a pretty picture, is it? Ya gotta plan. Bare feet at first... great for comfort. Boots for later on... that's thinking ahead.

The questions below will help you to prepare yourself...
for business.


Why do you want to start your own business?

Understanding your motivation helps you to see past the romantic notions of being self-employed. The questions below have no correct answer. They are different for everyone. Just look at your answers critically. Evaluate how important your answers are in choosing to start a business.

1. Do you want better work hours? If so, what hours do you want
to work? 

2. Do you want to be your own boss? If so, why do you want to be your own boss? e.g. creative freedom, current boss is a Neanderthal, better use of your skills...

3. Do you want to improve your financial condition? If so, by how much? How much income do you want every week? Every month? Every year?

4. Does your current job leave you unfulfilled? Why? Can your desire to be self-employed fill this need? How? In what ways?

5. Do you have a business idea in mind? If so, why did you choose this business?


Are you prepared for the physical and emotional demands?

A new business can be very demanding. A business owner must wear several hats, be able to switch hats in the blink of an eye, and wear them till the job is done. This can be stressful to your physical and emotional health. The following questions will help you gauge your stamina.

1. Are you prepared to put in long hours to succeed? It's not uncommon for the entrepreneur to work 12 or more hours a day, including weekends.

2. Do you have the support of your family? Without that support you are far less likely to succeed. Understand that they must also shoulder additional hardships and responsibilities.

3. Are you pursuing a business venture which fills you with excitement? If not, the highs and lows of doing business can effect your well-being. A strong passion for your work is a powerful shield against burn-out, physical illness, or emotional distress.


What skills are you bringing into the business?

Every business requires the application of certain skills to be successful. Without these key skills you run the risk of failure. The important thing is to recognize the areas of your business requiring additional support. These questions will help you identify the skills you possess and those you need to acquire.

1. Do you have previous experience in a business similar to the one you're starting? If not, you should research your chosen industry. It's necessary to understand your market, your customers, and your competitors. Here are some hints to help you research your field.

2. Are you good at planning and organizing? You must stay on top of things such as: your schedule, your promotions, your accounting and financial records, your inventory, etc. For help in this area check out Organized-Living.com.

3. Are you a good decision-maker? Do you work well under pressure? Can you take projects through to their completion? These are essential skills for the small business owner. If you've never worked in a supervisory capacity, you may want to take some specialized training to develop and maintain these skills.

Follow through on your answers to all of the above questions. Take action to strengthen your weaknesses. Doing so prepares you to move forward into market analysis and the start-up planning phases of your business.

All this preparation will increase your likelihood of surviving the first year in business. It's like buying a great pair of boots for your business.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Brett Krkosska provides how-to advice on family and home-based work issues. Get start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.homebiztools.com/. Become a subscriber for a fresh and original perspective on today's business issues:
mailto:enews@homebiztools.com

Posted by: Elena AT 02:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 16 2008
Hey guys!  I visited Simply Tempted Bath & Body Co. and thought I would post a website review...

At first glance, this darling site has some GREAT copy on the front page.  Makes me want to dive in and see what they have to offer.  All of their products sound HEAVENLY!   They have wonderful bath and body, and home products.  They even have products for pets and children.

Their prices are very reasonable and their store so easy to navigate.  I couldn't resist ordering The Whipped Shea Body Butter Parfait, an All Natural Dog Shampoo Bar (for my furbabies!), and Jumbo Soy Melt for my home.  I can't wait to see how wonderful these smell!

This company also has an affiliate program - a GREAT low cost way to start your own bath and body business.

So if you LOVE pampering yourself and your loved ones with rich, wonderful bath and body products, check out Simply Tempted Bath & Body Co. - I will be bookmarking it for my Christmas shopping!
Posted by: Elena AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 02 2008
Here is another article we are moving from the archive to the blog...  A great read for anyone wanting to start a home-based business...

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Making Your Business Legal


It's important that your business be on the "up-and-up" right from the start. Taking care of the legal issues associated with starting a new business will keep you out of hot water in the future. Here are the first steps you need to take:

1. Register Your Business Name

Your business name must be registered if it is something other than your full legal name. This is a way of informing the public that you will be doing business as (DBA) an assumed, or "fictitious" name. Generally, a search is done to ensure your name is not already in use, and an application is submitted to make it official. Some states require a notice be published in the local newspaper. The details of registering varies from state to state, so check with your state office or county clerk for specifics.

2. License Your Business

Licensing of your business depends on the type of business you plan to start. Licensing occurs on the state and/or local level. Federal licensing is only necessary for businesses who engage in specific, controlled activities (things such as making firearms, alcohol, tobacco, etc.). Many cities, but not all, require a general business license, plus there may be a license required for your particular business type. You should contact your state and city clerk offices to find out what licenses you need.

3. Report Income Tax

You are responsible for filing and paying income taxes on your business. Assuming your business is a sole proprietorship, you will pay income tax on your net profits. You report your income tax using Form 1040 at tax time, with the additional requirement of filing Schedule C or C-EZ: Profit or Loss From Business. You can get IRS Publication 334 (Tax Guide for Small Business) for more information. Visit the IRS online for publications and detailed filing requirements.

4. Pay Estimated Taxes

If you expect to owe more than $1,000 in federal taxes, you need to make estimated payments quarterly. This may seem like a burden at first, but it actually protects you from having a big payment due at tax time. You can learn more about this from IRS Publication 505: Estimated Tax Payments.

5. Pay Self-Employment Tax

You must pay self-employment tax on income over $400 using Schedule SE. Why? Because you are required to pay your fair share into Social Security and Medicare. Oh joy!

6. Get a  State Sales Tax Certificate 

Contact your state treasury office for information on obtaining a sales tax certificate. This certificate obligates you to pay applicable sales tax on goods you sell. If your product is to be sold wholesale, or if you are buying materials wholesale, inquire about a resale certificate to avoid paying taxes twice.

7. Obey Zoning Regulations

Be sure to check with your city and county offices about zoning regulations for your business location. You don't want to be in the position of having to shut down later because of zoning violations.

8. Get Free Advice

The SBA (Small Business Administration) is a good place to learn more about the nuts and bolts of legally operating a small business in your area. This office can answer many, if not all of your questions about doing business locally. Use their online locator to find your regional office. Another important resource is the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). This organization provides personalized and free counseling to assist you in making the right decisions for your business.

Attending to the above steps will put your business on a firm footing. For the average home business, doing these things is enough to let you charge full speed ahead. However, no two businesses are alike, and it's not a bad idea to consult with a lawyer and accountant for additional information pertaining to your type of business. Doing so may prove valuable for you, both before startup and later on as your business becomes more complex.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Brett Krkosska provides how-to advice on family and home-based work issues. Get start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.homebiztools.com/. Become a subscriber for a fresh and original perspective on today's business issues:
mailto:enews@homebiztools.com

Posted by: Elena AT 02:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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