Who says it’s all bad news regarding the economy? It may be the perfect time to start a new business or boost your career. It seems that current market conditions have created all kinds of unique opportunities for new businesses, existing businesses and service professionals.
Here’s why. As people change their work, spending, travel and leisure habits – the demand is growing for new services and products that cater to a leaner, greener and more efficient lifestyle.
- Local entertainment venues are enjoying increased bookings since fewer people are traveling long distances for vacation.
- Delivery services, errand services, online catalogs and other convenient offerings are booming since high gas prices are prompting people to “nest” and live more efficiently by cutting out needless trips to the store.
- Financial counseling services (and even foreclosure services) are growing as many people face the realities of the tighter economy.
In addition, certain career paths are always strong no matter what. These include teaching, law, pharmacy, information technology and accounting. “Accounting is the ultimate in career portability,” says Joyce Barden, senior professor at the Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University. “Every business needs accounting or financial guidance services, regardless of the industry. The reality is that numbers are what keep businesses alive.”
If you’ve ever wanted to start a new business or launch a new career, you’ll find an interesting and promising range of opportunities available right now.
Financial Support for Starting a Business
According to www.BUZGate.org, a leading small-businesses resource and referral network based in New Hampshire, “There couldn’t be a better time to launch a new business, as thousands of business assistance programs across the country beef up support. Check out the SBA (Small Business Administration) Web site www.sba.gov for tips on finding grants or loans that can help fund your business startup.
10 Great Home-Based Businesses
Are you ready to say goodbye to the corporate life and enjoy working from home instead? We tapped into a variety of small business resources to compile our Top 10 list of the best home-based businesses for today. These businesses allow you to provide professional services and generate a respectable income while enjoying a flexible schedule and cubicle-free lifestyle. Plus, there’s no commute!
- Accounting (of course!)
- Medical transcription and medical claims billing services
- Virtual administrative assistant services
- Child care or pet care (pet sitting, dog walking)
- Home decorating services
- Craft-based services, such as assembling and selling custom gift baskets, or making and selling candles, jewelry, and soaps
- Online affiliate programs (selling products on the Internet through affiliates who promote those products for you on commission – or you act as an affiliate for another company and share in their sales)
- Design or publishing (Web site design, graphic design, publishing e-books)
- Freelance typing, proofreading and editing
There are a wide variety of home-base business opportunities. In fact, there are hundreds of services that can be provided from a home office. You can find franchises for home-based entrepreneurs or you can start your own business. Just be careful of the “Work from home” scams. Before investing in a home-based business that you don’t start yourself, be sure to check the company with the Better Business Bureau and other reliable sources.
Boost Your Current Business or Career
If you already own a business or you want to bring your career to the next level, you can take charge of your own destiny by learning how to not just survive – but thrive – in light of the changing economy. Three ways you can do that are by taking courses to enhance your skills, finding new ways to delight your customers and offering niche services that no one else in your market is offering.
For example, if you own a small business and you’re trying to be all things to all clients, try narrowing your particular focus so you become the go-to expert in one particular area while you let the rest of your staff pick up the more “general” work. This could make you even more valuable to your clients and will help you build a sought-out business rather than a general practice.
Build a Business, Not a Practice
A business in which you’re offering highly specialized advisory services is apt to be more successful and growth-oriented when you have a team model where common tasks and services are delegated to your staff. This frees up your time to devote to your most valued, specialized knowledge. To clarify this point, consider the following comparison between a practice and a business (provided by PFP Planner newsletter).
|A Practice||A Business|
|You take anyone who fogs a mirror.||You take only profitable clients.|
|You give indiscriminate service.||You give prioritized/specialized service.|
|Your profit is what’s left after overhead.||Your profit is what’s left after you pay YOU.|
|You do everything.||You are operating at your highest and best use.|
|You design around personalities.||You hire the best person for the job.|
|Will you do it? YES.||You’ll do it only if it fits your business plan or ideal client.|
|You work hard but you don’t know if you’re profitable.||You’re profitable or you’re out of business.|
|You die; your business dies.||Your business is your biggest asset and has a separate value/unique identity from you.|
Brian Rothschild, assistant dean of the school of business at Adelphi University, said that securing a recession-resistant occupation can be a “security blanket” (as reported on www.magnacarta.com). He was quoted as saying, “People need to think of ‘recession-proofing’ their careers by getting degrees in subjects that allow them to be flexible in their career choices. Jobs that require lifelong learning also assist in that you will be constantly keeping up with changes in the field you are in, helping you to move within the profession or have a career in a related profession.”
We’re Here to Help
If you have questions about financing a business startup, managing your income during a career transition, going back to school or making wise financial choices during these changing economic times, call us! We’ll make an appointment to go over your specific situation.
Our financial articles are presented by Honeck O’Toole, Maine-based certified public accountants. If you ever have questions about your finances, please email us or call 207-774-0882.