In honor of National Small Business Week, here are 3 ways to boost your home business.
May 20-26 is National Small Business Week. While most of the excitement centers around Washington, D.C., where there are a number of great speakers lined up (there is a webcast option), you can still use this week as a great way to boost your business — no matter where you are.
If you are looking to boost your home business, here are 3 things to do this week as you celebrate National Small Business Week:
1. Create a Business Plan
You need a business plan. This is actually one of the activities that I am going to do this week. It's sad, but I don't actually have a business plan for my freelancing business. It's probably why I experience burnout regularly, and have no idea what to do next, whether I need to say no to client, or whether I am trying to go a different direction.
Part of the problem is that I have?no actual direction. I have a vague idea of what I want the next stage of my freelance career to look like, but I have no cohesive plan for getting there. This is one of my biggest weaknesses with my home business: I have no idea what the hell I'm doing next. It's time to write a business plan that helps me create a cohesive picture of what to do next, and how to get there, along with incremental steps that will help me succeed.
Whether you are trying to figure out what you want your workday to look like as a home business owner, or whether you are trying to get a round of funding, a business plan can boost your chances of home business success.
2. Start Networking
Now is a great time to start networking. You might be surprised to realize how important networking is to your small business success. Even as a home business owner, it's important to network. While you don't have to attend in-person networking events, you do need to start networking online. Connect with people in your business area through social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Find out where the people in your niche “hang out” online. Your home business can definitely benefit from some solid networking.
In-person events can also help. Take some time this week to look for conferences that apply to you. I like to attend BlogWorld and the Financial Blogger Conference. I'm also looking into attending Finovate. On top of that, I know I need to look more into writer conferences and connect more with straight up writers. However, attending all these conferences starts to get expensive. Even though there are tax deductions for such travel, it's still expensive to go on all these trips. Choose at least one conference, and figure out how you can save up the money you need to attend. The experience and the in-person contacts are well worth it.
Networking can provide you with connections for jobs and partnerships. But, in my opinion, the best part of networking is making new friends and learning new things. Grow your network, and you can establish relationships that can provide you with support for the long term, as well as career opportunities.
3. Polish Your Image
Next, polish your image. This includes your offline and online images. First of all, you want to make sure that your online and offline images are consistent. You need to be the same person online as you are offline. You want people you network with to be able to recognize you when they see you online and offline. When I went to FINCON last year, I met up with Len Penzo at the airport and we shared a cab. He spotted me immediately because my online profile matches with the way I actually look and act.
You also want to make sure that you don't have unprofessional photos and updates floating around. Get rid of photos that show you in compromising situations, and try to avoid making status updates and leaving comments that are considered inappropriate. Racist and sexist comments on blogs, and status updates and tweets that constitute personal attacks on others can lead to an unsavory image. Unless the brand you are trying to develop specifically calls for that sort of behavior, be careful about what you post online. You want a polished, professional image, and a social media presence that is compatible with your home business aspirations.
Also, check over your home on the web. Update your web site if you need to. Make sure that your web site reflects what you want it to, and that your image is consistent throughout. Polish your image, and you will be more attractive to investors, potential partners, and clients.
There are plenty of things you can do to improve your home business. However, a good start is to get organized, polish your image, and meet new people through networking. As you consider what National Small Business Week means to you, don't forget to take action to improve your own home business. A few simple adjustments can make a big difference over time.