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Home Biz Notes

July 24th, 2009

60 Time Management Tips for Home Businesses

Having trouble with time management and being productive in your business…and your life?  You may want to read my post at My Organized Biz, “Time Management in an Instant” Book Tour. 

Here I check out the book, Time Management in an Instant, 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day, by Karen Leland and Keith Bailey.  They have explored 60 common sense tips for managing your time, organizing your business, office and life, and hopefully becoming more productive and profitable.

Do you have time management tips that you’ve found helpful in your home business?

(Sterling Consulting Group Image)

Tags: book tour, , , managing time, time management book, time management tips, time managment

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 23rd, 2009

Unique Business - Personal Dresser/Wardrobe Consultant

This weekend I learned about an interesting business…Personal Dresser or Wardrobe Assistant/Consultant. 

If you like clothing, coordinating colors and styles, selecting make-up and determining closet arrangement, perhaps this is a business you could consider.  You might only want to do one phase of it, but becoming someone’s personal dresser, shopper, or wardrobe coordinator may be just what you’d like to do for a home business.

If you don’t have expertise in all these areas, do the one(s) you know and find resources for the others.

The woman who mentioned having a personal wardrobe assistant said she helped with wardrobe selection.  “Every article of clothing I buy goes with 10 other pieces,” she explained.  So the assistand didn’t help her with frivilous purchases, but coordinated her wardrobe and saved her time and money.

I’ve also known a woman who helped others organized their closets, coordinated the clothing they owned, and advised them on new purchases as an extension of her “gently used” clothing shop.  In addition to helping her customers with their personal wardrobe, this helped her by adding another dimension to her shop.

With creativity, you can expand and extend an existing business with unique services or establish a completely new business.

Tags: clothing, clothing business, home business suggestions, , , , wardrobe, wardrobe coordinator

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 22nd, 2009

Should You Hire an Organizer for Your Business?

There are people out there who will help organize you.  These consist of people, whose business it is (Hey!  a home business idea!) to come into your home, business or office and set up an organizational plan for you.  Some even will do the organizing.

You’ll also find online programs, where you answer a questionnaire, and from it someone sets up a plan for you.  This might be a one time plan or it’s one with new goals each week until you’re on the road to organization and productivity.

The areas where you might get help in organizing are your home, office, business space, time, family, and finances.  Make sure you check out the service before investing any money or signing an agreement.  Get references from satisfied customers, particularly if it allows letting people into your home or receiving personal and financial information.

Have you ever used an organizer or organizational service?  Do you operate one?

Let’s hear from you!

Tags: , , , online organizing programs, organizational plan, organizing

By Mary Emma Allen -- 1 comment

July 21st, 2009

Providing a Personal Touch

This era of e-mails, online ordering, and contact with people around the globe has provided  a boost for many businesses and has enabled new businesses to crop up.  However, we can’t get so caught up in the enthusiasm of online business and that we forget the importance of the “personal touch.”

In one of my home businesses, customers have commented that they don’t want to order online themselves, even though I can set them up to do so. 

 ” I like the personal touch of calling my order to you, Mary, and getting a chance to chat.”

Another customer, an elderly couple, enjoy having my husband and me stop by with their order and chat for awhile.  They, also, don’t have a computer and have no plans to get one.

One more, who lives across the country, e-mails me and then I have her items sent.  She wants contact with me rather than the impersonal touch of ordering herself. 

Then, of course, there are those who like to do their own ordering online.  However, I do keep in touch with by e-mail, phone, and/or newsletter.

So remember, when working with your customers and clients, take into consideration their needs and preferences…and remember the “personal touch,” whether it’s face-to-face, by phone, text message, or e-mail.  This lets them know you care.  Even those who order online, without help from you, once you’ve established contact, e-mail them occasionally to let them know about new products, to determine what their needs are, and to see if they’re a satisfied customer.

What do you do to provide a personal touch?

(Image: sxc.hu)

Tags: , , , , , online ordering, personal touch

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 20th, 2009

Home Businesses Utilizing Etsy.com

Many home businesses consisting of some type of handcraft often utilize Etsy.com for promoting and selling their wares. Here’s a place for the home business owner, as well as the hobbyist.  Some even expand beyond Etsy and start up small businesses outside the home, like Keara Sexton and her business, OAK,  on Newbury Street in Boston. 

To learn more about Keara’s business and Etsy.com, read Shawn Cyr’s article, Those arts and crafts projects could add up to dollars online.  This might spark your creativity and give you ideas for expanding your craft business.

There also are workshops and tutorials at Etsy.com.

What have been your experiences with Etsy.com?

(Image: sxc.hu)

Tags: craft business, Etsy.com, , , ,

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 19th, 2009

Cap & Trade & Home Business

What shall businesses do if the “cap and trade” tax goes into effect?

 According to estimates, this tax on energy and energy use will cause an average increase per family of more than $3,000 per year?  Can families endure it in this recession prone era?  Can businesses survive?

 The bill is hotly debated, but those who promote the global warming agenda (which more and more scientists say is over emphasized) are using scare tactics to push it through Congress and impose this tax on businesses, which ultimately greatly affects the consumer.

 Will your home business survive with added taxes?  In other words, you’ll have to pass the added costs to the consumer.  Will they purchase your products or services if you have to raise prices?

 It behooves everyone, whether they have a home business or not, to research this adverse effect on you and not take the complete global warming scare agenda face value.  Check out what scientists are now discovering about natural causes over which we have no control. 

 Home business owners may have some advantage over traditional business owners because they don’t have the added cost of a separate location of operations.  So their cap and trade tax effects may not be so high as other business owners.

 I’d like to hear how you think this legislation will affect you.

(Image: sxc.hu)

Tags: , cap and tax, environmental taxes, , , legislation, ,

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 18th, 2009

Remembering the Needs of Your Customers

In a previous post, Concentrate on Customers, Not Yourself, I mentioned service that might discourage or lose you a customer.  Today, I’ll relate customer service that made a very positive impression.  Although this occurred at a fast food restaurant, the principle applies in any business, including your home business.

A friend returns to the drive through window of this particular fast food restaurant to grab a sandwich after church each Sunday before her long drive home.  (She lives about an hour away.)  One of the window clerks, who also is a shift manager, has learned about this and always includes extra napkins because Deb appreciates this.

The other day, when someone else waited on Deb, the other gal noticed who it was and called out, “Give her extra napkins.”

Deb was impressed that her preferences were remembered and mentioned it to us.  We know the shift manager and imagine she treats all her customers that way.  Even though this was a small item, Deb will go there rather than someone else to grab her sandwich and shake. 

Take notice of your customers’ needs and preferences, no matter what your business.  Jot them down if you have to so they’ll be impressed upon your mind.

Do you recall instances of service that keeps you going back to a certain establishment?  Then translate that into service for your customers.

(Image: sxc.hu)

Tags: , customer preferences, , , , ,

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 16th, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - 13 Internet Based Home Businesses

Since so many home businesses are Internet based these days, let’s see what we can consider.  Sometimes these are interrelated with a walk-in home business.

  1. Blogging for affiliate income
  2. Blogging for a business
  3. Blogging for a blogging network
  4. Setting up a shop at e-Bay, Etsy or similar site
  5. Selling items from your own web site
  6. Publishing and selling e-books
  7. Designing web sites
  8. Combining web sales with a walk-in shop
  9. Designing and maintaining blogs for businesses
  10. Conducting online workshops/classes
  11. Editing for individuals and businesses
  12. Consulting business
  13. Medical transcription

What other types of Internet based home businesses are there?  Are you involved in any of the above or another type?  Share with us.

Tags: , , , Internet based businesses, , Thursday-13

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments

July 15th, 2009

Concentrate on Customers, Not Yourself

“If you don’t have anything else to discuss, do you mind if I get some paper work done?” the owner of a recently established small kitchen and bath design business asked my husband and me as he ushered us to the door.  This was after he had spent most of the time we were there telling us about himself.

Apparently when he found we weren’t there to purchase any services or appliances that day, he considered us not worth bothering with.  Justifiably, he probably had estimates and paperwork to do, but he really hadn’t talked with us enough to find out what our present and future needs were.  He also didn’t know I’m a business writer and do freelancing for local publications, as well as online.

We didn’t mind learning about him.  In fact, we’d want to know about the business owners if we did decide to purchase there or have him coordinate design work for us.  However, was there a more diplomatic way to “get rid of us” without our thinking we insignificant because  we weren’t going to commit that day?

Will I refer people to him in our town or elsewhere?  Will I go there for service?  To give him the benefit of the doubt, I’ll surmise that his wife is the person who usually greets customers and he’s the behind-the-scenes co-owner.  However, she wasn’t there that day.  So what impression was made?

Think about how your words sound to your customers. 

(Image: sxc.hu)

Tags: , , , , , , words

By Mary Emma Allen -- 2 comments

July 14th, 2009

One Home Business or Many?

As you’ve read in Home Businesses I’ve Pursued, I’ve been involved in a number of ventures over the years.  Would I have been better to have stayed with one or was I right in becoming involved in a number of them, some of which I operated simultaneously? 

Some people might say I’ve jumped around a lot and didn’t stick with one thing.  Others would realize that times change, the economy changes, our lives change, regulations change and markets change.

Changes in Technology

I can’t think of any that I could pursue just as I did when I started, especially any home business I was involved in years ago, before the age of high technology and the Internet.  Writing, which I’ve pursued for the longest, has changed with the times and the markets.  Whereas my markets were all in the print media when I started, most of those I write for now are on the Internet, generally blogging.

Should I have stayed with one phase of writing?  When I had to pay the bills, I found that writing for children (my first writing goal) didn’t suffice.  So I ventured into column writing and newspaper reporting, then travel writing and editing and eventually book writing.  All of these have been enjoyable, great learning experiences, and opened more doors.

The same with the sewing field.  There was a need for my services in dressmaking and alterations when I began sewing for income.  However, during this country’s Bicentennial years of 1975-76, the interest in quilts surfaced and I found a demand for these.  Gradually my interests, both in writing, sewing, and teaching turned to this new field.

I’ve found one must stay atuned to the times in a home business, whether you’re venturing into one field or many.  Often they’re interrelated.

What about you?

Tags: home business ventures, , , , quilt business, quilting, ,

By Mary Emma Allen -- 0 comments