Collaborative post. When starting a home-based business, your main focus will be on what you need to get your business off the ground. You’ll focus on turning your idea into reality and putting in place the supporting structure that your business needs during its early days.
As time progresses, and your venture proves to be a success, many home-based business owners find that they need to make improvements to those supporting structures. There is, after all, a big difference between what you theoretically require when running a business, and what you find you actually need when your business is in operation.
It is therefore fairly common for businesses to need to make post-launch improvements to a number of areas in order to keep the momentum going and help them enjoy further success. Below, we have detailed four areas of your business that are most likely to benefit from extra attention, as well as the improvement measures you may want to consider…
#1 – Customer service
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There are a huge number of ideas about what constitutes good customer service, but businesses have to be in operation before they can begin to fine-tune their approach to their specific customers. After a few months of running your business, you should have a better idea of what your customers expect from you.
For example, you may have initially tailored much of your customer service work towards email or phone-based customer service – but you’ve since realised that your customers prefer to ask questions or make complaints via social media.
If this is the case, then you’ll need to change your approach and allocate more time in your day to social media management. Alternatively, the reverse could be true; you may find that customers prefer to phone your business with their queries, so you may want to consider installing a second line or even hiring a virtual assistant to help field these calls.
By identifying the factors that unite your existing customer interactions, and then tweaking the service you provide to meet these preferences, you can be confident that you are providing the exact customer service that your customers seem to want.
#2 – IT and technology
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Many entrepreneurs start a home-based business primarily with IT and tech that they already own; their personal laptop, for example, connected to their home broadband connection.
However, as your business grows, investing in this area is strongly advised. First and foremost, focus on your security provisions; as your business becomes more prolific, it is important to protect against threats that could compromise the customer data you will begin to accrue.
One of the best ways of managing this need is to outsource to cyber security professionals, who can make recommendations that help to ensure your business will be fully protected at all times.
Secondly, think about tech capabilities, particularly in terms of performance. If your laptop is beginning to slow down, or is clogged with non-business-related files, then upgrading to a business-only machine is likely to be a sensible step.
Finally, it’s also worth thinking about how you are storing files and documents relevant to your business. If, for example, your usual laptop crashed or your original files were somehow destroyed, would you be able to continue your business? If not, then you need to explore options for reliable backups that will ensure your business’ continuity.
#3 – Financial management
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Many home-based businesses start life with relatively simple finances; you invest the startup funds from your personal account, and then run your business account alongside your everyday domestic account.
However, once your business starts to grow, it may be time to consider changing your financial structure. For example, if you have previously just been using the profits from your business for personal purposes, switching to taking a salary from your business, and turning it into a limited company could help to separate your business and personal finances a little more.
It’s also worth thinking about the amount of time you spend managing your financial accounts. Many home-based business owners find that monitoring all transactions and trying to set enough aside to cover your tax requirements is incredibly time-consuming, which takes them away from their main work on the business.
If you find yourself in a similar position, then hiring a freelance bookkeeper could help to free time in your day and ensure that your business finances are always in tip-top condition.
Before launching a business, you can work on ideas and theories about everything you need to have in place to run that business but ultimately, you have to actually operate the business to understand exactly what you need.
By making post-launch improvements in the areas above, you can make evidence-based decisions that will help to prime your business for future success.