Friday, August 04, 2006
The First Rule of Home Business
The federal court of appeals judge I clerked for had a phrase he would often quote to his clerks.
¨The first rule of warfare,¨ he would say, ¨is ´Define the Objective´.¨
What´s your objective? What goal are you trying to reach?
There´s no one answer. You might want to take your home based business, and grow it into a major public company - as Michael Dell did with his dorm-room based Dell Computer and the folks at Hewlett Packard did with their garage-based technical instruments company.
You might want to enjoy being at home, with your family, as much as possible - while generating some revenue and building value in the business.
You might want to create something substantial enough, working part-time at home, to enable you one day soon to leave the corporate world and answer to no one but yourself.
All worthy aims - and all requiring different plans and approaches.
If you don´t yet have a defined goal, set one. It may help if you set one for one year out, or three years out, so that the goal is more nearly immediate and real.
Once you have this goal, write it down. Reflect on it, and begin thinking about how you can achieve it. It can become the starting point for a more detailed business plan, but it certainly should become a touchstone against which you test every major decision in your business.
If your goal is to be with your family, there are customers and accounts that will be well worth turning down - the money they generate won´t outweigh the downside if they take you away from your family more than you want.
If your goal is to be a public company, you should start networking right away with experienced people who can give you seasoned guidance. Michael Dell lined up a blue chip advisory board when his company was still in its infancy, and those links helped him build toward being a far larger company.
If your goal is to build a business that replaces your current day job, you should test constantly whether what you are building can grow large enough to support your financial needs.
By defining your goal, and testing decisions against it, you can keep focus both in your business and your life.
So here´s the takeaway point. Define your objective. It´s not only the first rule of warfare, it´s the first rule of home business.